By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A Chatham-Kent charity devoted to the needs of women and children in Zambia is looking to build a shelter for victims of violence in the southern African country.
To that end, HELP for Zambia is hosting a fundraiser in Chatham April 15 to begin bricks and mortar construction on the structure.
According to HELP for Zambia founder Crystal Krogman establishing a shelter is a priority for the charity which operates under the umbrella of Loads of Love.
Krogman, a Wallaceburg resident and maternity nurse in Chatham, has had her heart in Zambia for a long time. As a 19-year-old she traveled there to do missionary work, caring for babies and children in the town of Kitwe.
Krogman and her husband Dave have returned several times and in February 2022, she purchased 10 lots where the new shelter will be built.
“There are so many desperate situations,” Krogman explained. “Women and children facing violence have nowhere to go.
“They either stay in the situation or they are forced to live on the streets. Abuse of women and children is common…it’s a cultural issue. So many are hungry and sad.”
Krogman said the shelter will have two sections, one for families, and one for teen girls, another sector of the population that faces many challenges in Zambian society. The shelter will have a dual purpose of providing food and safety and the other of helping women train to do a trade such as sewing.
“We want them to learn a trade so they can become financially independent and emotionally well,” Krogman said.
Except for one employee in Africa, Krogman said, all of the money raised goes directly into projects as the charity is entirely volunteer-driven.
HELP for Zambia has already raised money to buy manual sewing machines for the Kitwe site as there is no reliable electrical supply. The charity also supports a boys’ soccer team.
Volunteers also supply those who are about to give birth with a special $25 Mom and Baby bag, women can take to the hospital with them that includes medical supplies they would otherwise go without.
The HELP for Zambia event will be held at St. Paul’s Congregational Church in Chatham from 5 to 9 p.m. It will feature a chicken dinner, entertainment, prize draws, and both a silent and live auction that includes homemade quilts. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Loads of Love at 127 Colborne Street in Chatham, N7M 3L8, e-transfer at email@example.com or by calling 519-352-0911. Please make sure to specify the money is going towards HELP for Zambia.