Zambia: I have a passion to help people

Zambia: I have a passion to help people

Date: June 28, 2011
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My name is Grace Chewe and I am married with six children. I had seven but one has since passed on. My passion and desire is to share with the needy the little that is there regardless of where they come from and what they are doing.

Ten years ago I indirectly adopted six orphans following the death of their parents. The children were my neighbours and when their parents died of HIV and AIDS-related diseases and they could no longer afford rent, I decided to take them in.

Of the six, two had children so they were altogether nine. Three of these children (of the six) have since passed on due to HIV and AIDS.

I was keeping these children at my home together with my children. At that time I had five of my own children at home. They were relating very well such that one could not tell the difference. The oldest of the orphans was by then 16 and had two kids. None of the orphans was married.

At that time we were about 42 people in the house. The house has 14 rooms and another extra home behind the main house has six rooms.

When I took them in I did not know their HIV status but that did not bother me. I only came to know of their HIV status, those that are HIV-positive, a few years ago. But even after discovering their HIV status we had no problem with them being HIV-positive.

The second, fourth and sixth born died of HIV and AIDS-related diseases. The first born is also HIV-positive and has started medication. Only one of the six children is not HIV positive and is in Grade 11 now. None of the children were working at the time I took them in.

I managed to take good care of them with the help of well wishers that came to work hand in hand with me. One of them was a nurse that was assisting me. She was equally touched after looking at the children’s situation. The mother had been alone and the father was from Luapula and all his relatives are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I also have adopted four other children and the people have nicknamed me Banakulu, meaning “Grandmother of people”.

I also indirectly adopt the elderly, assisting them by providing them with food, bedding and basic needs. I am also committed to the destitute. The elderly still live in their homes and I visit them twice or three times a week.

I am also into farming and I keep a lot of animals, turkeys, chickens and run a small business.

I have a trainer of trainers (TOT) certificate, am a care giver, and I have also trained in Home Based Care and Community Health work. I am also a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA), counsellor. I have the passion to help the people. This is due to my upbringing. I want to see people happy and safe.

This “I” Story is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service special series on care work.

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