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Helping Salesian Sisters give girls hope and a home

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Sophie Astles continues our series of articles from Share the Light, a charity created from the projects and links developed by the staff and students of Salesian College Farnborough with young people in Zambia.


Home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. A safe and loving family home is certainly something I have always taken for granted, particularly as a child. Many of us are lucky enough for this to be a given and to grow up without even having to consider an alternative. However, for many children around the world, a secure home and family is not always the reality.


Zambia has been badly affected by the AIDS crisis, and this has left many families with the eldest sibling at the head. Alongside high levels of poverty, this leaves girls and young women particularly vulnerable, open to abuse and unsafe in their own homes. In response to this, the Salesian Sisters founded the City of Joy in 2008.


City of Joy provides a home for girls at risk, taking in those who have been orphaned, abused or who have nowhere else to go for a variety of reasons. The Salesian sisters offer a family environment, providing a home, a school, a church and a playground for those they care for. The girls are fed, clothed, schooled and, above all, given emotional support and a family environment where they can thrive. Currently around 30 girls, aged between 7 and 20, are living at City of Joy. They sleep in one of three houses, and are looked after by a house ‘mummy’ who makes sure that each girl feels loved, cared for and valued.


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Enjoying dinner together at City of Joy

Sister Ngosa explains that “City of Joy is a home for girls who are in need. The help that we receive from Share the Light means a lot to us. First and foremost, the girls feel loved. It also brings healing, especially to those who are psychologically affected by their past experiences. Your help and support has changed things for them.”


Our advocates love staying at City of Joy when they visit Mazabuka, finding that they become part of the family almost immediately and their lasting memory of Zambia is often the laughter and singing that greets them when they arrive.


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Advocates helping with homework

At Share the Light, we send a regular donation to support the girls’ basic needs, as well as funding transport to allow groups from City of Joy to travel together safely. Recently, we have been able to send money to City of Joy to seal the roof and paint the ceiling boards in the three houses where the girls live. One of our key projects for the coming year is raising money to complete the perimeter wall surrounding the orphanage, to ensure that their boundaries are secure.


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We’ve been refurbishing at Share the Light too. Our new look website has now launched. Please come and visit us at to find out more about the work we do and how you can help.


Sophie Astles

Share the Light



Last modified on Tuesday, 29 January 2019 15:46


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