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Zambuko House in Hatfield near Harare, Zimbabwe, hosts "street children", up to 22 boys at a time, offering them a home-like atmosphere and then reintegrating them into the community at some level. It was opened in 1995 by Jesuit Brother Canisius Chishiri who had begun working with street children in 1993 and continued his work with them until 2005, when the laywoman Emilia James took over.
Zambuko is Shona for "bridge." This house tries to put street children on their feet so that they can reenter society as productive persons. Street Child Africa in a 2009 census found over 700 children under 18 on the streets of Harare, besides the large number over 18. Zambuko, unlike similar programs, retains boys through the ages 16-21.
Zambuko now receives most of its boys as referrals from child welfare agencies in Harare. They are introduced to a family-like atmosphere and something like "democratic education", where there are house meetings on problems and policy. Formal education is offered at all levels, along with skills training. In 2015 there were 11 boys in training to be welders and 10 learning to be builders. After a year's training they receive placements in work experiences. The children also assist in growing vegetables, maize, and chickens on the grounds. Through Caritas Italy the house received a borehole for readier access to water for drinking and for the crops.
Zambuko is expanding its program to accept girls, and will have a tailoring program for them. Besides, Zambuko provides emergency services for children still on the streets, with facilities for bathing and washing clothes, along with food handouts, medical help, and mentoring. Zambuko does what it can to assist materially and financially relatives who receive these children back into their care.
- Jesuits UK. Accessed 2 April 2016.
- "Zambuko intro". http://stjamespettswood.org/crbst_879.html.
- "Zambuko House teaches marginalised children life skills" (in en). http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/07/20/zambuko_house_teaches_marginalised_children_life_skills/1159512.
- Ltd, Waee Digital. "Zimbabwe: Bro Canisius Chishiri SJ, founder of Zambuko House, has died | ICN" (in en). http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=25948.