Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Lucas Kaseke lives with his wife, children, and four grandchildren in Gwezere Village in Bindura district, located in northeast Zimbabwe. Kaseke is a farmer, and in recent years the family of eight has struggled to get by due to drought and difficult economic conditions. This year, however, things are looking up thanks to the USAID-sponsored Africare Mashonaland Livelihoods Program.

At the Presbyterian Church in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe, 15-year-old Lovemore and other children crowd around tables in a small room, leaning over their workbooks. Their uniforms are clean and worn with pride, and in many ways it would be difficult to distinguish this classroom from any other.

These are children like Lovemore, who lives at the Mbare bus terminal, a crowded, dirty and dangerous place for anyone, especially at night. They live among illegal vendors, thieves and prostitutes, and are under constant threat of harassment, even by police.

Fortune said she was too young to comprehend the loss of her mother. Six years later, when she lost her father to AIDS and had to live with her uncle, she felt the loneliness of a parentless life. Scholarships got her through secondary school since her uncle could not afford it. When she graduated, she discovered Grassroots Soccer.

Too old to be a participant, Fortune offered to be a volunteer facilitator with the program. She stood out as a committed and passionate volunteer and went on to intern at the head office.

When she was younger, Tarisai “Tears” Wenzira dreamed of becoming a nurse, but when she was forced to drop out of school to support an extended family after her parents’ death, money was short.

In the remote village of Chitanda in Zambia’s Central Province, two-year-old Chipo, is learning to walk. This event is remarkable, given the challenges of her young life.

Chipo’s mother passed away a month after her birth, and she was left in the care of her grandmother. Chipo was diagnosed with HIV and was severely malnourished and constantly sick. Her grandmother did everything in her power to provide Chipo with food and treatment, exhausting precious resources to travel to Liteta Hospital, more than 50 miles away.

Elson Muulu is the principal teacher at the Kasama School of Nursing, in Zambia’s Northern Province. He manages the school, which currently serves 150 nursing students, and teaches together with four others.

Since 2005, Dr. Abel Shawa has served as the health director for Isoka District in Zambia’s Northern Province. He is the first Zambian doctor ever to serve in this remote district. Previously, doctors in Isoka had been recruited from other countries, such as Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Russia.

Reducing high rates of preventable illness and death among young children is an ongoing challenge for Zambia, where more than 70 percent of the population is poor. An innovative approach to reach Zambian children is Child Health Week, a mass campaign held twice a year in clinics and communities nationwide. With the support of partners like USAID, the highly publicized event supplements the health sector’s day-to-day work with a free package of high-impact services to prevent common diseases and malnutrition in children under age 5.

To help improve and protect the health of people living in the community of Thula, USAID sponsored the rehabilitation of the main cistern, the Jaadan Cistern. The plan to renovate the cistern carefully considered Thula’s historical and cultural importance; the renovators used mainly natural stone materials and a traditional method of plaster called qadad.

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Last updated: August 20, 2013