Our historyIn 2008, Katie Lavender was volunteering in Zambia on a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) placement with her husband Tom, a doctor.

“Sitting in long grass under the shade of a mango tree in the hospital grounds, I was interviewing a grandmother called Bridget about her experiences caring for her grandchildren left orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” recalls Katie. “Listening to Bridget, her eyes fixed directly on mine, I understood that I would never be able to leave behind the community I was privileged to have been welcomed into. In Bridget’s eyes, I read the grief and loss that come from outliving your child, the fear and stress of going from grandmother to breadwinner with children and teens to feed, clothe, educate and counsel through their own grief and anger.”

Katie asked Bridget what would help make a better future for the children in her care. Her reply echoed all those who Katie had previously asked the same question – an education. And with it the chance of change and a better future. Something so simple, so taken for granted.

For Katie, it was a moment of clarity and that day the seeds of Brighter Futures Zambia were sown. When Katie’s sister Jennie came to visit her in Zambia later that year, it changed Jennie’s life as it had Katie’s and the rest is history.