Charity Chase : YWCA

Written By: The Lowdown - Dec• 31•00

cover2000-12With an estimated 75% of Zambia’s population living in dire poverty, over 70,000 Aids orphans and average life expectancy down to 38 years, there is a temptation to feel that there is nothing we, as individuals, can do to help, and so retire behind our garden walls with a cold beer instead.  However, we can support effective organisations like Lusaka’s YWCA, in several ways.

The brave ladies of the Y run a home for abused girls; a hostel for battered wives and their children; and a drop in centre offering advice and guidance to the desperate – ranging from legal to medical to the simply practical.

No need here to repeat harrowing accounts of pregnant wives being beaten by violent husbands, of small girl victims of incestual rape, or devastated widows ruined by property grabbing. There are plenty of cases in the press, but they are only the tip of the iceberg and the worst details are often excluded. (Certainly domestic violence exists elsewhere, but in Zambia poverty brutalises people and it is therefore much worse.) One look at the worn faces of the silent women waiting for help from the YWCA advice counsellors, or the frightened girl being taken to hospital for venereal disease treatment, says it all. The Y deals with these things daily, so what can you do?

You can clean out your cupboards this Christmas for women’s and children’s clothes; toys, children’s books and school supplies; knitting and sewing materials; household equipment; cash for petrol, the phone bills, and, sadly, the surgical gloves needed for hospital examination of the damaged and infected girl children.

The Y also needs some of your time, as support group members to provide transport, to raise funds, to share any expertise you may have in giving legal advice, AIDS counselling, and so on.

So try to get over to the YWCA on Nationalist Road (before UTH), telephone 252-726, with all your extraneous gear, soon. Start 2001 with cleared cupboards and a New Year’s Resolution to support at least one charity for the year. Remember that old school hymn “Little drops of water, Little grains of sand, Make the mighty ocean and a pleasant land.”

We certainly can all make a little difference, if we‘ll make the little effort needed.

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