SEP–DEC 2009

10/16 10/19

Toronto, Canada


.....It began on July 4, 1999 when Tucson, Arizona resident Kathe Padilla read a newspaper article that described the efforts of an organization attempting to feed 2,000 Zambian children each day. She found that only 100 of these youngsters were fed daily. Kathe, a life-long activist, rejected the notion that nothing more could be done to aid these kids.

In characteristic fashion, Kathe raised about $2,500 from friends, flew to Zambia and in two weeks put together a Board of Directors of the ZCF. She began to lay out long-term objectives and plans to shelter, feed, clothe, educate and nurture 500 Zambian orphans. It’s taken six years, a feature article in The Oprah Magazine, and incredible commitment and energy by Kathe, volunteers and staff, but that vision is becoming a reality.

In a period of six years, CCHZ has seen the construction of two homes housing up to 20 children each, the acquisition of additional land for expansion, creation of a school that serves both resident children as well as those who live in the vicinity of CCHZ, the beginning of a sustainable agriculture program, and an apprentice program that teaches skills to young people who have never had the opportunity to attend school. Plans for a health clinic are underway.

Kathe divides her time between her onsite activities at Chishawasha, work at ZCF in Tucson, and traveling the U.S. to raise both awareness about the Zambian orphans and money for the Chishawasha programs. There are setbacks along the way such as delays in construction, increasing costs and bureaucratic snafus, but Kathe is not troubled. As she told The Oprah Magazine in 2003, “I’ve learned to keep my focus on these beautiful kids. You can’t allow yourself the luxury of being overwhelmed, because then you can’t do anything.”

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