Funding the Dream

More than an hour outside the dusty, sprawling city of Lusaka lies the winding, green banks of the Kafue River.  It is there in Kafue Town where the only residential drug and alcohol rehab program, Teen Challenge, calls home. Sara Larios, our founder, was touring this up and coming NGO with one of the boys from UP Zambia learning about their programs and discussing potential partnerships between the two groups. It was there that she received a phone call she was not expecting.

On the other end of the line was Annika Rach, the Press, Politics and Culture Consultant at the German Embassy in Lusaka. Months earlier UP Zambia began applications with the German Embassy for the funding of human rights related projects in Zambia. As a burgeoning NGO, the team at UP Zambia works tirelessly to procure funds to support its continuing legal work and outreach projects. The process is never easy but the staff at the German Embassy provided an atmosphere of encouragement and support. Once our proposal was submitted and revisions were made, it was simply a matter of waiting for the final approval.

Annika had called to deliver the good news that funding had been approved. UP Zambia could expect 30,000 Euros to fund our program “Justice for Juveniles.” This program seeks to support juveniles in conflict with the law by placing trained law students in all juvenile courts in Lusaka to provide one-on-one guidance to juvenile defendants and their guardians with their criminal cases. This project also will engage in advocacy within the legal community on juvenile justice issues.

Following this exciting news, came another surprise,

“Can you come to the Embassy today for the signing ceremony with the Ambassador?”

Such an important event was not to be missed, but, as Sara stood on the muddy grounds of the Teen Challenge compound in the bush outside Kafue, she looked at her casual, mud-covered clothes and laughed.

“I said I could get there in an hour and thirty minutes and would have to go straight there, muddy sandals and all.” She said with the warm-hearted smile of someone used to the constant changing agenda and flexibility this job requires.

At the embassy, Sara was met by UP Zambia board members, Lwisha Shula and Kelly Kapianga.

The German Ambassador to Zambia, Achim Burkart, met with the UP Zambia team to discuss the program and provide a small signing ceremony to commemorate the upcoming partnership between the two organizations.

“The Ambassador took time to sit us down and ask for the background of UP Zambia and this specific project. He is also a lawyer so he had a lot of good on-point questions. [He] emphasized his personal interest in the project and the desire to have updates from time to time. As we left, other members of staff expressed interest in taking a day to come to court for observations as well as attending our advocacy events.” 

With the stroke of a pen, UP Zambia cemented its first major donor relationship and moved one step closer to bringing justice to one of Zambia’s most at-risk populations. We are excited to see what opportunities the program “Justice for Juveniles” will bring to legal students as well as juveniles and their families.

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Federal Republic of Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs who is represented by Ambassador Achim Burkart and the many staff members including Gudrun Haider Head of Trade, Culture, Press and Political Affairs at the German Embassy in Lusaka who helped us through the application process- we cannot thank you enough for your support as we start this exciting new chapter at UP Zambia.

Post by Carrie Russpatrick

Photos courtesy of the German Embassy in Lusaka