Charles never had the privilege to call someone “dad.” His father passed away when he was only six months old. As the eldest son in a family of four children, Charles carried the responsibility of being the “man of the house,” even at a very young age.
Born on July 20, 1994, Charles was a content kid under the care of his mom because she was all he knew. He thought it was normal to have only one parent, but when he turned 10, he started asking questions about his dad. Each question brought silence and heartache, and eventually, Charles gave up. He said that he didn’t like upsetting his mom, because “she used to brighten my day with her smile.”
One Sunday in 2005, Charles’ mom sat him down for a one-on-one talk. “Charles, you have a lot of responsibilities ahead of you because you are the eldest boy, and being a man in a family requires one to be disciplined and lead by example. A man is born a leader. Always have a strong will for your life.”
Those words have never left Charles, even after her sudden death the following year, even after 10 years of coping with her death. Her words are still etched on his heart.
After Charles’ mom died, the siblings were split between his mom’s brother and cousin. Unfortunately, the uncle did not have a good job and wasn’t able to meet the children’s basic needs. Most of the time, they ate one meal a day. Living in impoverished conditions, Charles lost hope. He began to think that life wasn’t fair. Instead of begging for food, he began picking up plastic trash from the streets and recycle it for pennies. Sometimes, he would forgo food to buy his little brother clothes because, he recalls, “I didn’t want him to feel like there was no hope for him anymore.”
When Charles’ aunt heard what was going on, she invited the siblings into her home. However, it was a struggle. She could barely afford to care for their basic needs and the children had to drop out of school. She turned to social welfare and four weeks later, Charles and his siblings were interviewed. It was on a Saturday and Charles was outside playing. He went inside to take a nap and dreamed that social welfare had come to pick him up but that he wasn’t supposed to go. When he shared this dream with his uncle, the uncle responded, “You just don’t want to go back to school.”
When social welfare came to pick up Charles, he refused to go. Instead, he followed his aunt to church and there, he learned about Every Orphan’s Hope. His aunt registered Charles and on May 29, 2007, Charles moved in to My Father’s House Orphan Home 1 in Lusaka. He immediately started going back to school and today he is in college at the National Institute of Public Administration studying Public Relations.
“My Father’s House is a place where my goals and hope were restored,” says Charles, “…a place where God’s promises are demonstrated. The Lord said you will never lack anything and surely, I have witnessed that every day.”“Great people are never born but made and indeed… Every Orphan’s Hope is raising a generation that shall change the world…”
— Charles Zulu, II