The Canadian Tilling Foundation visits the World Housing Safe House In Zambia

Written by Jessie Keillor on June 27, 2024

Many difficult and heartbreaking stories are told through World Housing projects. During the recent trip to Zambia, we saw first hand how the gift of a safe home can change a life as we learned about Lillian. Lillian’s story mirrors the one she shares with 29 of her new housemates, along with millions of girls who live in Zambia where girls are not provided the opportunity to complete school and most end their education at around 12 years old. This in itself is inequitable and unfair, but it becomes unfathomable when their fate is sealed by being married off to older men at this young age, or worst forced into prostitution to survive.

Dave Hamilton from World Housing meets Lillian’s father Sam, and little brother outside Lillian’s shack where she lived with them in a remote area. This is where Lillian’s story begins, but it is a story of hope that we will continue to follow as she moves into World Housing’s new Tilling House.

It is through this lens that our World Housing donors recognize the need for social change, and then experience the joy that comes with the new hope they can provide. On May 17th, Franklin of The Canadian Tilling Foundation and his wife Upama had the opportunity to join the World Housing team in Zambia for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of The Tilling House, World Housing’s first Safe House for Girls in the Kapiri-Mposhi district.

For this project, World Housing partnered with Baraka Foundation, a local NGO with boots on the ground in Zambia, to construct this incredible structure that will house 30 girls for many years to come. The Girls’ Safe House is a new type of housing project for World Housing where students can learn and grow in a safe and secure environment with proximity to schools, which is often the barrier, particularly for girls, to complete their education. As one of World Housing’s key pillars of social change, access to education was essential for these girls to fulfill their true-life potential. This new World Housing community provides the girls the foundation for safety and stability they need, with access to both education and healthcare.

In addition to The Canadian Tilling Foundation, this project was supported by the Morrison Family, Liz Bergey and Wayne deJong of Pillar to Post Vancouver, Mark and Laura Bailey of the Bailey Foundation, Dye & Durham, Avesdo Canada, Blair McEvay Multi-Family Real Estate, Faisal Susiwala REMAX’s top realtor for North America, Lisa Sun, a Vancouver Realtor, and First Canadian Title Company.

Lillian outside her new room at The Tilling House.

At the ceremony, Franklin officially handed The Tilling House a World Housing Project to Andy McKee and his team at the Baraka Foundation, who will run the day-to-day activities of the home. Dave Hamilton, Creative Director at World Housing, was on site to capture all the moments of the celebration, from the joyful welcome through the official ceremony and special moments the team shared with the grateful new residents.  

“It’s hard to put into words the happiness, importance, and appreciation the girls have for their new home. There were too many times we were both nearly in tears seeing how much lives are being changed permanently.” 

Franklin, The Canadian Tilling Foundation

The girls welcome their guests into the compound with choreographed songs and dances before showing off their rooms, bunk beds, and lockers for their own personal items. Later on, as a group, the girls introduced themselves, and each shared a special story about themselves. The impact of The Tilling House Girls’ Safe House is already showing as Franklin shared statements he heard on his final lunch with some of the girls. “Towards the end, I asked, if you weren’t at the safe house today, what would you be doing at home? One girl said it simply. Nothing. Without the safe house, they likely would all be servants and farmworkers living in shacks until they were married off to much older men”

The girls now have a chance to graduate from school with an education and the opportunity to apply and enter university. Our work on Girls’ Safe Houses is not finished. Plans for the next project are under way but we can’t do it without your help!

You can make a difference so that more girls can have the chance at a successful future open to endless possibilities.

Donate to World Housing here.