The Nyumba Yanga Orphanage
About The Nyumba Yanga Orphanage
The Nyumba Yanga Orphanage is Homes of Joy’s first international project which we began supporting in 2009. Nyumba Yanga, which means “Our Home,”is located on the grounds of the Marian Shrine just outside the city of Lusaka, Zambia, and opened its doors in 2001. We are working in partnership with the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who have been mandated by the Archdiocese of Lusaka to run the Orphanage.
The Nyumba Yanga Orphanage is one of several projects which were created to help relieve the suffering of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. It provides care for the most vulnerable group of children; girl children who have lost both parents and are “double-orphans”. Zambia is a country which is severely afflicted by HIV/AIDS where an estimated one million children are currently affected and orphaned by the pandemic. The Orphanage can provide homes for up to 50 girls
aged 4-18 at a time.
In the summer of 2008, Micaela Roughton, founder of Homes of Joy, was introduced to the Nyumba Yanga Orphanage. While volunteering there, she developed a close relationship with Sister Ruby, the Director of the Orphanage at the time, and learned about the orphanage’s history and struggles to find sustainable funding.
The girls at Nyumba Yanga attend private schools as their traumatic past requires a more attentive school atmosphere than the governmental schools can offer, and these schools also offer a higher quality education opening more doors for their futures.
The Sisters and staff at Nyumba Yanga also provide the girls with training in various income-generating activities, such as rabbit and chicken rearing, cooking, gardening, rosary beading and painting. These activities provide the girls with more nutritive balanced diets and practical skills, while also providing much needed income for the Orphanage itself.
From the beginning, Nyumba Yanga was conceived with the goal of reintegrating the girls into the local community when they finish high school. Foster families were assigned to all the girls. These foster families are in regular contact, and each girl also spends a few weeks each year with their foster family. Some of these foster families may be distant relatives, but most are not related to the child they foster.
Nyumba Yanga’s Funding Structure
The Nyumba Yanga Orphanage does not receive consistent, reliable, on-going support from any group or organization, including the Archdiocese. It does not receive government support and is totally reliant on donations to carry on its’ work.
Nyumba Yanga has been successful in building a strong local network, but is still struggling to find funding. Local support is often given in the form of in-kind donations of food or work, as the local community is very supportive of the project. However, given the poverty in this region, it is impossible to raise monetary support for health care and education through local donations. The orphanage therefore relies upon our external support as sustainable long-term funding.
Nyumba Yanga’s Staff
The directorial staff has been recruited from the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception, an order of highly skilled nuns from India. They provide quality care to the girls, and work hard to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The current Director is Sr. Idhaya, who works closely with the Homes of Joy Board of Directors.
The Nyumba Yanga orphanage also has a small group of house mothers on staff, so that each house of 9-10 girls has a “mother” living with them. The house mothers help the girls with the cooking and cleaning, and meet any other needs they might have. Many of the house mothers are also widows as a result of HIV/AIDS, and so working at the Nyumba Yanga Orphanage provides them with a place to live and a means to survive.
Nyumba Yanga’s Future
Sr. Idhaya continues to struggle to make ends meet, but having a sustainable funding source (provided by Homes of Joy) over the past few years is definitely making a tangible difference on the ground. The funding we have sent so far has been used to pay private school tuition fees for all girls, support for transportation to and from school, purchase uniforms and school supplies, provide new mattresses, ovens, and water pipes for all the homes, meet basic needs, support stipends for the house mothers, provide new livestock for skills-training programs, and much more!
The staff at the Nyumba Yanga orphanage is truly trying to create a “Home of Joy” for the girls, having dedicated their hearts and lives to building access to a positive future. However, they do not have the financial assistance to truly accomplish all that is possible. Any contribution you can make to support this project would be greatly appreciated. Please see the Donate section of our website for more details, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!