Gladys is blind. She has six children age 17 to 6 years. Patience, the eldest at 17 years, Kelvin age 15, and Owen age 13 all assist Gladys many days to walk to the mini-bus stand, travel to the produce market, purchase watermelons, pineapples, sweet potatoes, and other produce, and then travel to a shopping areas where many expatriates frequent and they attempt to sell their goods for a profit. Kelvin and Owen have developed regular customers that they chase down and provide with the choicest produce. They ensure that their mother gets the correct amount for her sales, and after a long day lead her back home. They juggle their school attendance before and after work sessions. The family never begs, refuses money that is not committed to a purpose, and are always smiling. Last year, Gladys sister passed away from AIDS leaving 6 children. As is typical in Zambia, care for orphaned children are assumed by surviving relatives, and Gladys inherited three additional children to her family, two nieces and nephew.
Her husband Remy, who is also blind, miraculously received a job with the Ministry of Health in a hospital working as a telephone operator. The disappointment was that within a year of his employment he abandons the family while spending much of his salary on alcohol. So now, Gladys is the lone caregiver for a family of nine.
Gladys household now includes Patience (17) in grade 11, Ruth (18 niece) in grade 11, Kelvin (15) in grade 8, Sarah (14 niece) in grade 8, Owen (13) in grade 8, Mike (12 nephew) in grade 6, Benjamin (11) in grade 6, David (8) in grade 2, and Griffin (6) in grade 1. It is amazing that all nine have stayed in school, and Patience and Ruth will be graduating after their next school year and hoping to enter University. Living Hope Clinical Foundation is helping this family with school fees for the children and emergency care needs when they arise. LHCF is also assisting the Gladys with establishing income-generating activities in her neighborhood to help sustain their financial needs.