It is very common for us to hear about how a volunteer’s placement changes their life once they return to their home country. After immersing yourself in such a culture, it truly becomes a part of you and many times volunteers leave wanting to do more even after they are gone.
There are undoubtedly many things volunteers are capable of doing from overseas, but some even make it their mission to return. That was certainly the case for former volunteer, Anne. After her first time volunteering in Zambia, she knew she would be back.
Her volunteer placement with African Impact began on the Christmas Holiday Program in Zambia, which she tells us immediately felt like home. Her first time out on project was spent teaching songs to the children of Linda Community School, where she noticed an intriguing lost room of bunkbeds and mattresses. She discovered that the principal, along with police and Social Welfare, were involved in another project working to keep street children off of the streets. Because the population of the school was continually increasing, it had become nearly impossible to house them all. From there, a burning passion was lit inside her and she promised to find a way to return for these children.
Upon returning to Africa a second time, she was eager to get back to the street children and learn more about their circumstances and what she could do to help. The principal told her that what they really needed was a house for the children to stay in which would get them off the streets, away from drugs and alcohol, and into school. Most children live with their parents so the house was to be made a temporary place of safety and security during times of transition.
This time, Anne went home with a specific goal in mind. After reaching out to a few friends with the right connections in accounting and fundraising, the Lilato Foundation was born in 2013. Back in Zambia, the Chief of a village close to the Linda Community School agreed to giving a plot of land for the house to be built on. At this point, Anne had decided to commit six months to working in Zambia on the construction of the house and continued volunteering with African Impact. In early 2014, the total foundation and a bit of the walls had been completed.
Much of her time now is spent traveling back and forth from her home country, Holland and Zambia to ensure the completion of the house for the street children. Last Christmas and May, the Foundation received two generous donations that should be enough to cover the completion costs of the house. While Anne is in her home country, African Impact is on the ground in Zambia ensuring the constructors get the money to finish. She is hoping that most of the house will be done when she comes back in November of this year.
If you want to learn more about the Lilato Foundation, you can visit their website at www.lilato.com or their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lilatofoundation/?fref=ts.