Story 2: Clara the Hero Project Assistant
19th September 2021
“A story of loss and resilience, Clara used her own grief and struggles to support the founding of BFZ and ensure the continued evolution of our projects.”
From the beginning, there was Clara − a tireless advocate for the children, who has worked relentlessly to support and steer BFZ to achieve the greatest impact. Clara assists with a network of community groups who have joined forces to raise the prospects of children in their care. BFZ began supporting this network in 2011.
Roll back to the 1980s and you will find Clara working as an administrative assistant at the government grain store, making the most of her prized education to write reports and work accounts. Clara is married and about to start a family that will bring her six children. Twenty years later, Clara’s story became one of a series of losses – first her job (the grain store closed down), then her husband, then three of her children. This left Clara alone, raising her last-born teenage sons − twins who are as different from each other as chalk and cheese, but united in facing enormous challenges alongside their mother.
Clara knew so many women in her community whose situations were similar to her own. Many did not have the benefit of education. Many were left caring for their grandchildren. But all shared a determination to make things better for the next generation.
Clara founded A’tugwasyane (in the local Tonga language this means ‘let us help one another’) community group, which brought together women caring for orphans and vulnerable children. Clara used her administrative skills to support a network of community groups working together to improve the lives of the children in their care.
Since BFZ joined forces with this network in 2011, the groups have grown to cover seven different communities. Clara still works tirelessly within her own community, hosting and supporting the weekly BFZ Wellbeing sessions and keeping a watchful eye, offering counsel and support to all the households in her group.
When she is not busy in her group, helping care for her grandchildren, sewing stars or planting maize, Clara supports our BFZ Coordinator to run our projects − from paying school fees to purchasing food for pre-school meals to writing budgets and reports. Clara is the ultimate grafter, full of compassion and humour, hope and love.
Clara and women like her are BFZ, they embody our mission to create a better present and a brighter future for the children who need it most.
To mark our 10 -year anniversary, members of our trustee board and other supporters have embarked on an ambitious challenge to walk/ cycle/ swim or even kayak the length of Zambia and raise £10,000 to continue to expand our life changing work. This week the team have virtually followed the Zambezi river for an impressive 157km to reach the town of Sesheke on the Namibian border.
If you would like to support their efforts and help us reach our target you can donate here.