I met Micah Kambe in Ndola, Zambia in June at the ACT Convention. Micah attended the celebration event for past and present ACT supported children on the last day of the convention. She is one of the two-hundred and fifty beneficiaries of the ACT child sponsorship programme in Zambia. She was supported for twelve years.
Speaking to me about her life, we came to the subject of her father. I could tell that his death had affected her a lot and 18 years on, the mention of him still made her emotional. She was clearly a daddy’s girl. Micah is the middle child between two brothers and is 3 years apart from each. She told me that her father passed away in 1999 on her very first day at school. She had gone to school full of excitement to be starting school, but she returned home to a house where she found people weeping only to learn that her father had passed away. From that day on life has never been the same for Micah. She was only five years old.
In a patriarchal African society, traditional gender roles mean that many women stay at home and tend to their children. Such was the case in the Kambe household. She explained that after her father’s funeral his family members came to the house and took away everything he owned, leaving her mother, Febby and her three children with little left to fend for themselves. Life took a huge turn for the worst for the family with her mother unemployed having been a housewife until then. Life became a struggle. They were unable to afford basic things like food and clothing. Most times they fed on avocado and water, and that was only because they had an avocado tree in their compound. The family lived in a rented house and her mother took on various odd jobs to pay the rent. Hope came in the form of ACT.
A good Samaritan who saw their plight told her mother about ACT. Her mother applied and ACT started supporting the family in January 2000, sponsoring first, her older brother Abel’s education and eventually, Micah and also her younger brother, Paul. This meant we children could go to school uninterrupted and also had food to eat. The entire family benefitted with school fees paid, school uniform and shoes were purchased.
“Every time mum would collect the money from ACT, she would buy uniform, foods and school material for us all. It meant a lot to us”.
Listening to Micah, I could tell that for her, ACT was God’s way of reminding her that he was there for her family. She told me, “God in his infinite mercy sent us ACT.’’
Her mother’s desire was for her to go to school and to complete her studies in the hope of a better future. Micah wanted to finish school and go to university to study nursing. She was anxious not to become a burden to her mother, but rather be able to care for her in old age as well her support herself.
Micah completed secondary school in 2012 and went onto a higher education institution where she obtained a diploma in Public Health. She is now working as a lab technician in a military hospital. She has hopes of going to university to study nursing and fulfil her ambition of to becoming a registered nurse.
“Life has not been the easiest for me. I have always had to struggle for the things I want or need. I have to work twice as hard as other people around me”.
Abel, her older brother, completed secondary school in 2008 and joined the Zambian army. He has since been promoted to an officer rank. Abel is happily married and has two children.
ACT child sponsorship provides an opportunity to transform lives and change the circumstances of a family like Micah’s.
Find out how you can become a child sponsor and be part of the ACT family here.
Andrea Kacayio is a volunteer with ACT