life-beginsZig Zag is committed to long-term, meaningful and sustainable engagement with the local community.  We manage and support one of Livingstone’s biggest community projects working with vulnerable people in one of the poorest areas of Livingstone town.  Our project – Tutalike Life Begins – is based in a local township where we are accessible to people who are in most need.  Our operating ethos is to be sensitive to local customs and to find local solutions to achieve our goals.

We started in 2009 by running a day care centre for orphaned and vulnerable children, giving them a stable and secure environment during the day or sponsoring them into school. We quickly realised that these children were hungry and needed one or two good meals a day from us. Then we realised that they needed medical support by way of deworming, address-ing malnutrition, and basic infection control and first aid. Some of the children come from families headed by children, elderly or disabled people, and these families need extra support which we provide by way of food and other supplies every month. Over 110 families receive this extra support. We sponsor more than 80 children into various schools across Livingstone and another 70 attend our day care centre. We take extra measures to try to keep vulnerable girls in education as there is a very high drop-out rate for girls once they reach puberty. So while our focus started out as education, we realised that, of itself, that is not enough to help children complete their education and we needed to look at all the issues facing children and vulnerable families.

We run an art club every week where children explore their creativity with colours, textures and ideas and we are in the process of starting basic computer training with older children.

Other projects include advocacy for the rights of children, elderly and disabled people, holding workshops and working with traditional counsellors to address issues such as teenage pregnancy and early marriage, skills training and supporting income generating activities.

Zig Zag is also the base for Livingstone Animal Protection Services (LAPS) – an NGO which rescues and rehabilitates street dogs and offers free veterinary treatment and education on care of domestic animals.  LAPS aims to improve animal welfare and public health by reducing the population of stray and uncared for dogs, and improving the health and welfare of domestically owned pets.

More information on both these projects can be found on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/LifeBeginsHelpingChildreninAfrica/

https://www.facebook.com/LivingstoneAnimalProtectionSociety/

 

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