Japanese government has provided a USS 96,000 grant for the construction of Amala Vocational School for orphans and vulnerable children in Chongwe district.
Speaking at the signing ceremony yesterday Community Development Minister Doreen Mwamba said she was pleased that the organization receiving the grant, the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception Sisters, was a local and faith-based non-governmental organisation.
Mwamba said that Government, under the leadership of President Hakainde Hichilema, was committed to ensure that children enjoyed their rights to protection, survival, development and participation for them to grow up into responsible adults.
“this is the very reason why the new dawn administration has put in place the free education policy to ensure that every child irrespective of their social-economic status is given an opportunity to be in school,” she said in a speech read on her behalf by the Director Child Development Bridget Moya.
She commended the Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Mizuuchi Ryuta, and the congregation of the Immaculate Conception Sisters for their efforts towards uplifting the lives of vulnerable children and children with disabilities.
She said the construction of the institution was timely and strategic as it would provide the vulnerable children and children with disabilities with life skills through vocational training.
Ms Mwamba said that Government was concerned about the multiple vulnerabilities that many children and adolescents faced such as household poverty, violence, lack of education, malnutrition, HIV, early pregnancy and child marriage, among others.
She said it was saddening to note that 64 percent of Zambian children were either deprived or poor and most of the deprived children were also poor in relation to the national poverty line.
“ An estimated 700, 000 children of school-going age are out of school, having either dropped out or never enter school. It is further saddening to learn that 41 percent of children from zero to 17 years suffer from at least three deprivations at a time,” she said.
She said her ministry had adopted a child and adolescents’ friendly approach to community case management and the approach entailed the provision of services that were age-appropriate and accessible by children and adolescents.
Mr Ryuta said his country’s support was in response to a request to construct a vocational school for vulnerable orphans and disabled children.
He said any society, be it in Japan or Zambia must strive to be inclusive so as to embrace those with handicaps or disabilities.
He said the project was expected to serve as a stepping stone for the children to access a wider work environment and would also contribute to better chances of breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and social isolation.