Chisomo Zambia Caring for Street Youth & Rebuilding Families

About youth living on the streets in Zambia

–  Over half of children living on the streets of Lusaka have lost one or both parents – of this number 58% have lost both.
– Fewer than 10% of street children in Lusaka are without any living relatives. So family reintegration is a viable option!
– 75% of street children in Lusaka do not go to school.
– 25% of street children admit to using drugs/ alcohol. Most popular drugs are marijuana and sniffing glue.
– More than 50% of street children in Lusaka are exposed to violence on the streets.
– When street children Lusaka were asked what help is most needed, 70% requested assistance getting an education.
– 36% of street children in Lusaka have never attended school.
–  1/3 of street children have received help from drop-in centers.


Chisomo Centers

Chisomo Centers are a Zambian-led ministry to youth living on the streets of Lusaka. An average of 30 youth are daily reached with food, care, hygiene, education, bible studies and sports through their drop in center and sleep over facility. Youth are reconnected with family members and reintegrated into homes. Families are taught income generating activities to supplement their income. Youth that cannot be placed in homes are put into boarding school to receive housing and education. Click here to learn more about how to scholarship youth to school.

CoLaborers International developed a “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum for substance using street children that is offered in counseling groups at Chisomo Centers throughout the week. Click here to learn more!

Intervention Program

•       Tracing of family members to reintegrate youth back into families
•       Counseling & Bible study
•       Shelter & Food
•       Education & Tutoring
•       Health & Hygiene
•       Recreation

Prevention Program

•       Identification of vulnerable youth and families
•       Forming self-help groups of at-risk families
•       Economic Empowerment Programs
•       Basic health care training
•       Boarding School
•       Recreational activities for the youth



•      90% of reintegrated youth are staying with their family without relapsing into street life.
•       Halfway home program equipped 3 boys for life in the community. They are now successfully integrated into the community & are employed.
•       18 boys have completed the National Service Street Children Skills Training Program.
•       In both 2011 and 2014, 100% of youth sitting for examination (grade 7 & 9 in Zambia) passed with one receiving the highest marks in the district.


Economic Empowerment Programs

A reason children and youth leave their families in pursuit of street life is poverty. When children are reintegrated into families, the problem of poverty persists.  To address this, Chisomo taught women to grow and manufacture peanuts into peanut butter to sell to supplement their income. They call this the Mothers’ Programme.

For women suffering from chronic illness, such as AIDS and Malaria, loans are not a good option as they can’t predict their work output to repay loans. Peanut butter has a long shelf life, so no product is lost if the women fall ill. It is nutritious for families to eat if they cannot get to the market to sell it.

Chisomo also teaches mothers how to make and sell tie dye products, necklaces and various handicrafts. You can buy handicrafts from us directly on

In addition to sending interns, missionary staff and supporting programs and scholarships, CoLaborers International also sends professional development training teams to empower local leaders and  recipients of services.


“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.”
Psalms 68:5-6




CoLaborers International is funded through a Rotary International Foundation Global Grant to do a large scale training in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts” curriculum across Zambia, Central Africa, training 36 organizations and 100 people. The Ministry of Health for the country of Zambia endorsed it for use across the country. Initial clinical studies of this curriculum were done at Chisomo Centers by CoLaborers staff beginning in 2015.

CoLaborers receives grants for Chisomo Centers for additional sewing machines.

For the 3rd year in a row, Bob and Tori Neales have served with us in Zambia. Bob does mentoring and carpentry work with the older boys who were living on the streets formally and Tori works alongside Josephine to teach sewing lessons at Chisomo Centers. Women in Chisomo’s Mothers’ Programme are taught seamstress skills to supplement their income so they can care for their families and the street children they take into their homes. The women make and dye cloth and then learn to make products to either sell on the local market place, reduce their costs by them making their own clothing or sell in the US through our Etsy shop. This year, Tori and Josephine taught a total of 50 women. Their projects included how to make stuffed animals – elephant, giraffe, or a zebra. They learned to design and create their own over the shoulder bags, made skirts, aprons, and men’s shirts. Through the generosity of donors, they received an additional five sewing machines this year.

Child scholarships continue.

CoLaborers sends drug and alcohol counselor Mike Peck, CSC-AD to continue running drug and alcohol groups at Chisomo Center using “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy”.

CoLaborers sends 2 semester abroad students, John Holley (spring semester, psychology) and Jess Jasitt (summer semester, intercultural studies).

CoLaborers sends 3 social work interns Ellen, Andrea and Shannon to serve over for the month of July.

Tori Neales returned to Zambia  for another professional training for the women of the Mothers’ Programme and the older street youth. This time, joined by her daughter Bailey and by 2 fashion students from Liberty, Sarah Blanke and Katelyn Verbeke. Tori, Bailey, Sarah and Katelyn worked with Josephine, local leader of the Mothers’ Programme, to teach an advanced skills sewing workshop to the 60 women in the programme. Women learned how to make stuffed animals, dresses, hand bags, necklaces and shirts to sell at the local market in Lusaka as well as in our online store –

Missionaries returned home on sabbatical.

Child scholarships continue.

  Researcher Hjordis Lorenz does a follow up study of “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum groups with  substance dependent children at Chisomo Centers.

CoLaborers International missionary Ally Grace Olkowski joins missionary Jason at Chisomo Centers, serving as the mental wellness coordinator offering mentoring, wellness activities and leading “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum groups with substance dependent children as well as a longitudinal study.

CoLaborers International missionary Sarah Gross provided worked with Josephine Chilunjika and the mothers’ programme to enhance economic empowerment projects and teach community savings and loan curriculum.

“Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum is purchased and becomes a part of regular offerings at a state of MD dual diagnosis residential rehab.

CoLaborers International sends 3 interns to serve at Chisomo Centers for the summer – including Sarah Pinard BA, M.Ed who develops a math, literacy and science curriculum for use in conjunction with Usborne books. This will be used at the center and other CoLaborers Intl assisted locations.  Sarah and CoLaborers Intl facilitated over 50 books being purchased from Usborne and many more donated from local schools as well as small library is built at Chisomo Centers’ drop in center.

CoLaborers International receives grants from Rotary International and Charity Fidelity to purchase a total of 14 electric singer sewing machines for the mothers’ programme. CoLaborers International also pays for a secure storage area to be built for the machines and sends seamstress Tori Neales to do a professional development training with the women. This 4 day workshop was offered to women in both George and Linda compound. Women learned to use the machines as well as sew aprons, bags, pillows, ornaments and other items using the cloth that they already dye locally. This is covered in the news here and here.  KCHS Interact and Washington College Rotaract clubs also donated sewing materials and WCTR radio did a special segment on this CoLaborers and Rotary project.

CoLaborers International sends carpenter Bob Neales to do a vocational training workshop with the older street boys teaching carpentry at both the drop in center and shelter.

CoLaborers International donates towards a new water pump at the center, bunk beds for the shelter, volunteer transport stipends, as well as other financial needs.

CoLaborers launches new sponsorship page for At-Risk Zambian youth.

CoLaborers intern Erica McCullough makes promotional video for Chisomo Centers.

CoLaborers International missionary Jason Stansbury began full time service at Chisomo’s Drop In Center as their coordinator. He oversees the daily activities of the center.

One World Play Project and Messiah College’s CoLaborers International Club donated funds for 20 futbols to CoLaborers International, which we gave to Chisomo’s Drop In Center.

CoLaborers International sends 2 interns to serve at Chisomo Centers for the summer.

CoLaborers International donated a very comprehensive literacy curriculum to Chisomo. Thank you Reading Assist & Chestertown Rotary Club! We sent an intl intern to teach basic literacy encoding using this curriculum.  Chestertown Rotary Club also donated funds to help buy early reader books for youth to form book clubs.

CoLaborers International sent Dr. Dave Duby from Liberty University to teach sustainable business skills to women in Chisomo’s Mothers’ Programme. He taught 3 trainings. Read about it in the news here. You can see pictures here.

Twigs & Teacups joined us as a business partner and is now selling handicraft jewelry from Chisomo’s Mothers’ Programme in their shop. We also opened our Etsy shop this year here to sell their items. You can read about it in the news here.

“Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum is developed by Melissa Davis Stuebing and Dr. Lauren Littlefield for the substance using children that show up to Chisomo Centers for help. First Zambian studies of the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum are done with street children in Zambia by Brittany Richard at Chisomo Centers. First US studies are done by Melissa Davis Stuebing and Hjordis Lorenz in the U.S. at a dual diagnosis inpatient facility, A.F. Whitsitt Center.

University of Zambia (UNZA) begins sending psychology interns to help serve at Chisomo Centers and shadow in counseling curriculum.

Allyson Olkowski started the At-Risk Zambian Scholarship Program to seek local businesses and individual donors to invest in Zambia’s vulnerable youth by  providing scholarships for  Chisomo’s youth that are in boarding school.

CoLaborers Intl sent 3 intl interns to serve Chisomo.

Chestertown Rotary Club’s spring fling and silent auction fundraiser helped to pay for the school fees of some of the youth that had been living on the streets that are now in the boarding school program.  Melissa Stuebing, President of CoLaborers International and Mayor Chris Cerino spoke at the event about the importance of literacy in empowering youth. See in the news here and here.

CoLaborers International donated 2 laptops to Chisomo and made financial donations.

CoLaborers International sent 3 student interns from Messiah College, Liberty University and Eastern University to serve street children from July – August with Chisomo.

CoLaborers International worked with Chestertown’s Rotary International Club to coordinate the donation of  literacy materials and teaching guides. These guides are designed for use in small community groups and literacy groups.  The guides address different aspects of community development, including health, nutrition, food security, credit and loans and HIV and AIDS.  They teach literacy skills while also addressing important everyday issues. The drawings and language are culturally sensitive to Africa.

CoLaborers International donated 2 guitars and cases to be used for music lessons, a new webcam and new Cannon digital camera and case. CoLaborers International worked with Washington College to coordinate the donation of 2 laptops.

CoLaborers International has also provided donations for rent, emergency housing, food and scholarships.

CoLaborers International is in the process of starting a scholarship program for the street children that are placed in boarding school.

In July 2012, CLI reps met with indigenous-led missions groups in and around Lusaka, Zambia. After interviews with the candidates, presenting the profiles of the candidates to CoLaborers International staff stateside and a time of prayer – staff members unanimously agreed upon pursuing partnership to assist Chisomo (a ministry of Full Proof Mission) in August 2012.

CoLaborers International worked with an engineer to commission drawings for a new building for Chisomo to build on donated land.

Financial donations were also provided.

How Can I Help?

Zambia Internships every July – click here!

Remember project leaders in your daily prayers. This is a life changing effort that can be heavily persecuted. To sign up for prayer updates – click here!

We connect your talent to fill a need overseas.
1) Intern  or Volunteerstateside or overseas – click here!
2) Plan an event to meet a specific need – click here!
3) Missionary Staff – click here!
4) Professional Development Trips –

Chisomo Zambia Pamphlet
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