Population: Over 14 million
Government: Presidential Representative Democratic Republic
Land Mass: 290,587 square miles
Currency: Kwacha
Primary Religions: Christian, Muslim and Hindu
Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 births): 56.4

Chile | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Guatemala | Honduras | India | Mexico | Philippines | United States | Zambia

Located in Africa’s southern region, between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (to the north) and Zimbabwe (to the south), Zambia can seem like an oasis of calm surrounded by nations plagued by violence and political unrest. In stark contrast to its neighbors, recent elections in Zambia have concluded with peaceful transfers of power – including the 2011 election of President Michael Sata, which ended the 20-year reign of an opposing party. But while Zambia is one of Africa’s most peaceful nations, it still struggles with crippling poverty and astronomical rates of disease that keep a majority of its citizens living in hardscrabble conditions close to the edge.


Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, is one of the most rapidly modernizing cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, with skyscrapers of glass and steel stretching upward while casting shadows on bustling traditional markets that fill the streets below. But the outskirts of Lusaka, where Children International works, are an entirely different story. Here, the twisting dirt roads are lined with tiny, cinderblock shacks filled with broken families living in utter squalor and deprivation. In these places, where the basic essentials of life are so scarce, sponsorship makes a profound impact on the lives of poor children.

Sponsor a child in Zambia


  • Nearly 70% of Zambia’s population lives below the national poverty line.

  • Though it has increased in recent years, the average life expectancy in Zambia remains a shockingly low 47 years.

  • Recent estimates suggest that nearly 10% of Zambia’s population is infected with HIV/AIDS – a percentage that closely mirrors the nation’s abysmal infant mortality rate.

  • Due largely to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a huge number of Zambian children are orphans.

  • Other diseases like cholera, malaria and parasitic infections impact large portions of the population annually.

  • Lacking a viable national highway system, rural Zambian communities are often dangerously isolated, making the delivery of aid extremely difficult and expensive.


Recent years have brought several important improvements into Zambia’s economy, but the depth of poverty the majority of the population suffers makes quick-fix solutions meaningless on the broader scale. Improving the quality of life for the average Zambian will require positive changes over several generations.


  • More than 18,000 poor children and youth in Lusaka, Zambia, are sponsored.

  • Sponsored children and youth receive vital assistance like free medical and dental care, nutritional support, educational assistance, family aid, clothing, school supplies and uniforms, shoes and more.

  • Feeding programs in ten Lusaka schools make sure all students receive a hot, nutritious meal every school day.

  • CI community centers serve as safe havens for poor children in three of Lusaka’s poorest communities: Kanyama, Chibolya and George.

  • Close to 100,000 free health exams have been performed on sponsored children and youth since 2007.

  • Children International – Zambia offers HOPE scholarships to qualified sponsored youth, giving them the opportunity to learn a vocation or earn a degree that can boost their potential.

The Full Story

Click on the titles below to watch videos and slideshows or read stories about our programs in Lusaka, Zambia:

Zambia: A Country in Crisis

Sponsor a child in Zambia

A closer look at the serious problems poor Zambians face, and how Children International is trying to help. More...
September 22, 2005 – Tags: spotlight on poverty in Zambia, AIDS in Africa, extreme poverty

Schoolhouse Rocs
August 16, 2011 – Tags: sponsored youth rehabilitate poor school

Sponsorship in Zambia
January 28, 2009 – Tags: sponsorship video, poverty and sponsorship in Zambia