Salesian missionaries in Zambia are responding to the urgent needs of children in crisis. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.

Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily. Poverty is widespread with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line and rising to 80 percent in rural areas. These families do not have adequate income to meet their basic food requirements.

More Missions In Zambia

Provide technical & vocational training

Providing a better education to students includes providing the best support and training possible for teachers. In Zambia, the Don Bosco Secondary School helped launch the innovative fast track teacher-training program, in collaboration with St. Eugene University and the Zambia Ministry of Education. Through this program, the Ministry of Education is upgrading the knowledge and certification of some 2,000 teachers as a way of improving education standards in the country.

In order to address the shortage of qualified teachers in schools, the teacher-training program will enable teachers on government sponsorship to upgrade from certificate to diploma and from diploma to degree level. St. Eugene University will provide the advanced degree education to teachers, many who are graduating from Salesian schools.

Access to education and well-qualified teachers are critical to help youth learn job skills, improve their lives and find a path out of poverty.

Rescue children facing adversity

Donors are giving children in Zambia their first opportunity to access education, use colored pencils, paint or play with a ball through the Distance Adoption program, which provides sponsorship for children to go to school.

Since 1982, Salesian missionaries have been working with poor youth and their families in Kazembe, where many families have no money for food and are unable to pay the monthly fees or buy uniforms for their children to go to school. Thanks to donors, these children now have the opportunity to learn to read and write, learn English and gain the skills needed to help them reach their full potential.

Josephine is just one example of a child helped through this Distance Adoption program. Now living with her parents and siblings, she had at one point been sold by her parents for $30. In Zambia, parents who sell their children may live in extreme poverty and feel like they have little choice. With the support of the Distance Adoption program, Josephine now has the ability to continue school. Although she lives close to an hour away from the Salesian House and must walk to and from school, she always arrives eager and ready to learn.

Build orphanages & shelters for homeless youth

Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.

Youth and their families living in the most severe poverty in Lusaka can find a new beginning at the City of Hope. The vast majority of children attending City of Hope programs have been abused, lived on the streets or are victims of child trafficking.

One program is the City of Hope’s Open Community School. For the more than 800 students enrolled, the school provides an opportunity to get an education they could not afford anywhere else. The school serves vulnerable students suffering from malnutrition, lack of education and family deprivation. Basic education is offered to youth between the ages of 9 and 17. Primary school classes make up the first four years after which students take the government’s grade seven examinations.

Empower girls & women through education

The City of Hope offers a shelter that is home to at-risk girls to stay while they gain an education and make the transition either to living with family or to a more independent life. To date, more than 150 girls have received services through the City of Hope’s shelter. Many have been orphaned and have nowhere else to go, and have been referred through the social welfare system, the police and other institutions and organizations. Through the City of Hope, these girls and young women are able to lay a foundation for a better future.

Provide youth centers and safe activities

The healing power of play came to more than 140,000 youth in Salesian programs through a donation from One World Fútbol. The organization’s donation of 5,200 nearly indestructible soccer balls benefited youth at Salesian orphanages, youth centers, schools (particularly those in rural areas) and some nursery schools and kindergartens.

The generous donation created new opportunities for teaching valuable skills to youth both on and off the field. Recreation and sports activities offer unlimited opportunities for growth by simultaneously developing leadership, teamwork and social skills.

“Since receiving the fútbols, we have seen a lot of positive changes and improvements in the youth that benefited from this donation,” says Father Louis Malama, provincial economer of the Salesians of Don Bosco Providence in Zambia. “Youth are very happy, and participation in school and sports activities has improved. In our youth centers, the number of boys and girls participating in the program has also increased due to the sports and games that have attracted many of them that had not been involved before.”

In addition, Salesians in Zambia formed partnerships with local organizations such as the International Training Center, Olympic Youth Center and the Kasisi and Makeni Orphanages. The donation was shared with the poor youth in these programs allowing them to expand their recreation and sports activities and learn more about teamwork. Salesians were also able to share the donation with some of Zambia’s government-run schools.

In 2019, youth in Zambia had an opportunity for cultural exchange through arts programming thanks to funding Salesian Missions received from the United States Embassy in Lusaka. The “Amplifying the Arts” project empowered vulnerable youth to tell their stories through American-inspired creative expression and to celebrate the diversity and unity of the human experience. The project also aimed to strengthen cultural ties between the U.S. and Zambia.

The project was launched in November 2019 with a talent identification event held by Bosco Youth Reach Out as an invitation for youth in the surrounding areas to participate. The event attracted more than 1,000 spectators and had 150 children and youth perform. Of the 150 performers, 120 youth, aged 15-25, were selected to attend the training and participate in the project.

Provide clean, safe water

Lack of clean water is an overwhelming obstacle for many communities in Zambia. When safe, drinkable water is in scarce supply, children and youth are forced to spend their time searching for clean water instead of participating in educational activities. In the town of Kazembe, lack of clean water led to a community health crisis due to waterborne diseases and safety issues as community members were attacked by crocodiles when they went to the river for water.

Now, thanks to a life-changing water well in Kazembe, youth and their families have access to fresh, clean water, along with more opportunity. Students are able to fully take part in educational programs and other recreational programs provided at the youth center. There has also been a decrease in waterborne illnesses within the community.

The water project included digging a borehole 50 meters deep followed by the installation of a water pump. After that the tank and tank stand were completed. Twelve students at the Salesian school assisted with digging and laying the water pipes around the church grounds. Students were able to apply some of the skills they learned in the classroom and gained hands-on experience.

UN-Water estimates that worldwide 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. For those who have no access to clean water, water-related disease is common with more than 840,000 people dying each year from water-related diseases. Women and children often bear the primary responsibility for water collection in the majority of households and globally spend 140 million hours a day collecting water.

Deliver life-saving meals

Hunger is a daily reality for many children in Zambia, with 65 percent of women in female headed households choosing to reduce the number of family meals per day as their only coping mechanism for poverty, according to The Living Conditions Monitoring Survey cited by UNICEF. UNICEF also notes that the continued deprivation of nutritious food increases the likelihood children in these households will suffer from physical and cognitive impairment.

Critical Salesian-run feeding programs help at-risk youth, the elderly and those who are sick receive better nutrition with fortified rice-meals. The meals are provided through an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life‐changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable.

Salesian programs across Zambia have received thousands of food packages that are distributed to people in villages, shantytowns and poor rural areas who might otherwise go hungry. Meals are also distributed in schools to help youth be better prepared for their studies. In some centers and schools, the fortified rice has been given a nickname “vi musanina,” which in the local language means “you will gain weight or you will grow healthy.”

The Salesian-run City of Hope feeds between 4,000 and 5,000 children a day. For some students, the meals they receive at the City of Hope centers are the only meals they have each day. The food aid also gives a powerful incentive for families to send their children to school. Without the donation, the City of Hope would be forced to cut back its important feeding program to offer meals only three times per week.

In 2019, more than 2,900 youth, families, grandmothers, and orphaned children had access to better nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” The rice-meal donation was provided and distributed by Salesian Sisters who operate the City of Hope in the capital city of Lusaka. The City of Hope received three shipments of 40-foot containers of rice-meals in 2019.

In 2020, Mary Help of Christians in Kasama was able to provide meals to youth in need thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” The rice-meal donation was provided and distributed to the Sisters of the Child Jesus who are working in health centers and have communities with orphans, blind children and albinos. The donation was also shared with the youth and children who come to the Mary Help of Christians oratory and parish. The food arrived in May and become a lifeline in the face of the global pandemic.

Improve infrastructure

Salesian missionaries also develop farms and teach agriculture skills. In the poor, remote community of Lufubu, residents traditionally relied on fishing for sustenance. But when the lakes became over-fished, the government of Zambia looked to the Salesian missionaries to help combat hunger while preserving the environment.

Salesian missionaries responded by starting an agricultural school. Boarding students from neighboring villages come and learn agricultural techniques to take back to enhance nutritional levels in their home communities. The school has a working farm on which the students can engage in practical exercises.

Looking to the future, Salesian missionaries hope to transform the curriculum and educational experience of the students with Internet access that could also provide online access to the entire community.

In addition, Salesian missionaries working in the Makululu Settlement in Kabwe were able to purchase close to 25 acres of land and develop a farm thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. Missionaries have developed the farm near the Don Bosco Children Home so that the food from the farm will be a source of food for the children and local community. The farm itself will also be utilized as an agricultural training center. The Don Bosco Children Home transforms the lives of street children by providing shelter, education, and agricultural training to help break the cycle of poverty and provide opportunities for financial independence.


From Zambia

Fund a project

Large-Scale Project to Help At-Risk Youth

Country: Zambia

Date Added: January 11, 2019
Country: Zambia

Total project cost = $33,500.00, with partial funding opportunities available.

Project Information

Expand Technical Secondary School to Train a Larger Skilled Work Force

Country: Zambia

Date Added: September 10, 2020
Country: Zambia

To construct classrooms and facilities = $73,647.45, partial funding available

Project Information

From Zambia

ZAMBIA: 120 youth have opportunity for cultural exchange through arts program thanks to funding Salesian Missions received from US Embassy in Lusaka

The “Amplifying the Arts” project empowered vulnerable youth to tell their stories through American-inspired creative expression and participate in a cultural exchange. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Nov. 17, 2020) Youth in Zambia had an o

WORLD FOOD DAY: Salesian Missions highlights feeding programs that ensure youth and their families have access to the nutrition they need to survive and thrive

Feeding programs in Brazil, East Timor, South Africa and Zambia illustrate the work of Salesians around the globe that support this year’s theme, which is focused on #FoodHeroes.   NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 16, 2020) Salesian Miss

GLOBAL: Salesian Missions funds COVID-19-related projects to ensure Salesian organizations can provide nutritional support and prevention measures in countries around the globe

Salesian Missions has supported nutritional and prevention projects in Burundi, East Timor, India, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, South Sudan and Zambia   NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Sept 3, 2020) The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has

ZAMBIA: At-risk youth and their families impacted by Feed My Starving Children ricemeal donation

The food support has improved the lives and health of youth, enabling them to focus on their daily activities. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug. 12, 2020) Mary Help of Christians in Kasama, Zambia, was able to provide meals to youth in need

GLOBAL: More children at risk of life-threatening malnutrition due to COVID-19, says new global report

Salesian Missions is fighting hunger around the globe through nutrition projects supported by partners to provide ongoing food relief. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug. 7, 2020) Worldwide, an additional 6.7 million children under the age of

ZAMBIA: More than 2,900 youth and families impacted by Feed My Starving Children rice-meal donation

The rice-meal shipments from Feed My Starving Children improved the lives and health for those attending Salesian schools, centers and parishes. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Dec. 30, 2019) More than 2,900 people, including youth, families, g

ZAMBIA: Salesian missionaries in the Makululu settlement buy land for new farm thanks to Salesian Missions donors

The farm will provide a source of food for the children and local community and act as a training center for agriculture students.   NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Nov. 13, 2019) Salesian missionaries working in the Makululu settlement in Kab

MEDIA ADVISORY: Salesian missionaries from around the globe travel to US to share stories about helping at-risk youth

Talks will be centered around the mission of the Salesians of Don Bosco, to end the cycle of poverty by providing education and opportunities to at-risk youth in more than 130 countries, in some of the poorest places around the gl

ZAMBIA: New Salesian Early Childhood Education Center develops thanks to Salesian Missions donors

The Early Childhood Education Center will provide a safe, healthy learning environment for more than 100 pre-school aged children. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 3, 2019) Young children in the village of Lufubu, Zambia will have a new Sal

Addressing Poverty through Clean Water

It’s impossible to imagine cooking with — let alone drinking — water from the toilet. According to the United Nations, 1.8 billion people today rely on a source of drinking water contaminated with human or animal w

Funding Opportunities

in Zambia

Agriculture Training Programs

Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

Get Involved

Feed a Child

Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

Give Now

Technology Program

Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

Learn More