The 'Serenje Orphans Appeal' (SOA) is a registered UK Charity (number: 1127234) which has the goal of supporting orphans and other vulnerable children within the Serenje District of Zambia.
Formerly known as ZOA ('Zambian Orphans Appeal'), SOA was founded by Kevin Gilbert, an Australian teacher who worked in Serenje from 2002 to 2004 as a volunteer teacher under AVI ('Australian Volunteers International'). During this time, he co-founded with Alouis Mwansa the 'Serenje Orphans Childrens Home' (SOCH) which is fully supported by SOA. Kevin Gilbert was also co-founder of the HMP Chibobo Orphanage in 2003 with the late Abeauty Chibuye.
At present, the total running costs of the SOCH orphanage (which are approximately US$40,000 p.a.) are met by volunteer fund-raising activities by students and staff in 2 international schools St. George's British International School (Rome) and Collège du Léman (Geneva).
The Serenje Orphans Childrens Home (SOCH) has a capacity to care for up to 44 orphans. They live at the orphanage during the school week, and return to their natural guardians on weekends and during school holidays. This allows them access to local schools and to a balanced diet of food, as well as safeguarding the bond between the children and their natural guardians.
Groups of high school students and staff from both schools regularly visit the orphanage to get to know the children through play and projects requested by the orphanage team, as well as to confirm that all funds raised have been spent correctly. There have been some 10 such visits since 2006. The reader may find details of these trips on the main menu above.
The following link to an article published about SOA (ZOA) in the ECIS journal (IS 2009) provides more information about the history of the project: ECIS 2009 ZOA article . Indeed, the ECIS and Ustinov Foundation have provided significant Outreach Grants to help in many projects at the orphanage - details of these are found under GrantsA number of schools worldwide participated in the project in its early years: St Peter's (Lisbon, Portugal), Aquinas College (Melbourne, Australia); Peebles High School (Peebles, Scotland); Cleeve School (Cheltenham, UK) and Xavier College (Melbourne, Australia)
Support for SOA (ZOA) in its early years also came from humanitarian non-school organisations. For example, the Rotary Club de Setubal-Sado (Portugal) held concerts in Lisbon to raise funds and awareness for Zambian orphans. The '10% Club' from UN personnel in Rome assisted in helping to complete the construction of the Canteen at the SOCH orphanage.
Inspired individuals sometimes choose to support us - this year, a past student from Collège du Léman,Eddie Lloyd, has led the way to secure a sustainable income for the orphanage through construction of a local Serenje Guest-house - so far, with the £20,000 that he raised, we are now (at November 2016) only about £7,000 away from completion of this exciting project.
Latest News from Zambia (including photos) is found in the Newsletters section of the main menu.