It was round about now, early evening as I write, twenty years ago that Romilly died. She was 14 years old. Romilly was very clever, as sharp as a tack, very funny but not remotely academic. She found school work dull. The bit she liked about school was being naughty with her friends. She was great fun, and had a wonderful sense of humour. She loved children though, and would have had a natural sympathy with the homeless children surviving in appalling conditions in Kitwe, Zambia.
The generosity of friends, family and strangers, touched by her death and the plight of these children, has achieved a great deal. Through the support that you have given to the Naivasha Children’s Shelter in Kenya, which you helped to create, and Friends of Street Children in Zambia, which owes its continued existence to you, lives have been transformed. Relations have been traced, children given a chance, school fees paid, salaries for teachers and carers paid, classrooms, shelters built, children rescued from the terrible life of the street. Lives have been saved. It really is something. If Romilly were alive to thank you she would, but since she is not I do.
‘Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart’.
Help Romilly help homeless, vulnerable children: please donate at
Benson’s parents died when he was five. His older sisters were left to care for him, but they didn’t….
They mistreated him, badly enough for him to take his chances on the street when he was seven years old. He was homeless in Mufulira for three months and then came to Kitwe, where he was also homeless. For a while he stayed with Friends of Street Children, leaving them for an orphanage run by the Catholic Church, from which he ran away. FSC street workers picked him up and lodged him at the FSC Kawama centre.
From the FSC Kawama centre he went daily to primary school, passed the national examinations with flying colours and was accepted by his secondary school, which he completed. This is a considerable achievement for someone who started life as a street child. Benson has always wanted to be a lawyer, so that he could defend street children, but until now he has not had the sponsorship to go to university. Since leaving school he has worked at the FSC Kawama centre, helping out with street children. He understands them and speaks their language. Throughout his life he has shown, resilience, intelligence, determination and courage. For his fellow street children he is a remarkable example.
Thanks to the generosity of Romilly’s supporters, her charity has been able to transfer £300 for Benson’s first term at teacher training college.
If you would like to donate in order to help fund the next term of Benson’s teacher training course you can do so here.
My thanks to Christopher Mulenga for sending me the photograph of Benson.
In the warmth of the African night three outreach workers of Friends of Street Children (FoSC) were walking through Kitwe market. During the day this is a colourful part of town. At night it is sinister. Here and there naked bulbs hanging from the stalls throw out dingy pools of yellow light. Shadowy figures can been seen sleeping on the market stalls and in the dark under the board walks homeless children sleep near open drains. Drunken men lurch out of the shadows. Here the three out reach workers found a 14 year old boy. He had been badly beaten and raped. He was in great pain and near to death. It was just after 10.00 p.m. on Easter Sunday
David with one of his rescuers, Meya from FoSC Thanks to Barry Traynor the photograph
They took him to the Hill View Hospital, where FoSC have an account, and where the chief clinician admires FoSC’s work. David was treated there for four days. His life had been saved.
Good Work by FoSC
Barry Traynor, a social worker from Northern Ireland, who has just returned from a visit to Kitwe and who over a number of years has spent 3 years working with FoSC praises their work, ‘Honestly, when I’m out there I am constantly amazed by the number of confident young people who say to me that their life was saved by FoSC’.
Not all children are as lucky as David though. Christopher Mulenga of FoSC says, ‘The life of a street child is brutal and short. Apart from the ones who we are able to reintegrate with whatever remains of the their families, the ones who live longest are those who end up in prison, and most of them do not come out of there alive’.
I am walking from Gretna Green to Inverness across some very rugged country to raise money to help Street Children. Please donate. http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/RomillysOneIslandWalk
Following the success of the first fish pond at the Naivasha Children’s Shelter (see February 19th’s post) Romilly is sending 4625 euros to pay for a second fish pond and two green houses.
The charity is also paying for the repair of the borehole and the replacement of the pump at the Kawama shelter in Kitwe. Once the borehole is working order, Romilly, will contribute £5000 to the £12000 cost of a consultancy study by the group ‘Teach a Man to Fish’.
The Kitwe project needs to be more sustainable in order to be able to continue its excellent work, that is to say that it needs to grow more food, provide more of it’s own income, and raise more money locally. The aim of the study by ‘Teach a Man to Fish’ is to identify ways of doing this and to help FSC of Kitwe write a business plan. £12000 does not sound a great deal for this kind of a study, but ‘Teach a Man to Fish’ is a charitable group.
Christopher Mulenga of Friends of the Street Children has sent me this photograph of Zacharia graduating. Zacharia came to the street in 1999 when he was 9 years old. According to Christopher, his parents were drunks and did not care about him. He started attending the open air street corner classes provided by Friends of Street Children (FOSC), and then went into one of FOSC’s residential homes. After a few weeks he ran away. FOSC did not lose contact with Zacharia, and found him a place at a local school where he studied construction and carpentry. He graduated and was given a set of carpentry tools, which he sold a few days later in order to pay for food.Zac ended up on the streets again, but he kept in touch with FOSC. When he was 16 FOSC found him a place at another school. They paid for his accommodation and fees, and once he graduated helped him find work. He is now employed on a building site as a roofer.
Help fund FOSC and the excellent work they do by buying tickets to FASCINATING AIDA’S concert for street children. Only 6 days to go. Still a few tickets left.
with Massive Violins
At the New 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2QA
7.30 p.m. 3rd December 2012
Tickets £40. Includes white wine and smoked salmon.
RESERVATIONS 0208 994 854
All proceeds to the care of homeless children in Africa. Romilly’s Foundation pays no European salaries