Cholera does not know borders. Despite being preventable and easily treatable, some people continue to suffer from the potentially fatal disease. People living in volatile and unstable communities are particularly at risk. Some children have become orphans as their parents have died from the disease, Fifty families were affected by the disease, two grade one students from TOSF school lost their father who was the sole provider of their families . Life has become extremely difficult for families. Not only had our students had relatives who suffered or died from cholera but some of our students were directly affected by the disease, for instance, Priscilla thirteen years old, a grade six student.

Approximately 2.9 million cholera cases occur each year worldwide and 1.3 billion people are at risk from the infection, usually from contaminated drinking water. Zambia is not an exception from this dreadful water borne disease. History has it that, cases of cholera outbreak was experienced in Zambia since 1977 with Lusaka being one of the main hotspots of cholera in the country. The disease has since caused significant mortality and morbidity, especially amongst the most vulnerable. Cholera has had a negative impact on the economy, social and education aspects.


This is due to the cost related to emergency response, loss of productivity and loss of life. In addition to human toll of the outbreak, the impact of cholera can be measured in direct and indirect economic costs and impact on the already strained government finances. Cholera outbreak can reduce National Gross Domestic products GDP by as much as 25%. Much of this cost is borne by the poor whose economic activities are curbed and disrupted. You will agree with us that, the cost of poor sanitation as it is the case with cholera are inequitably distributed with the highest economical burden falling disproportionately on the poorest. The average cost associated with poor sanitation, constitutes much greater proportion of a poor person’s income than the wealthier person. This is therefore the case with most of the guardians of TOSF school students.‌


The social impact of cholera is mainly characterized by financial concerns as many people have lost their jobs especially maids and gardeners because their employers are afraid that their workers may bring the disease to their homes since a lot of them come from cholera hotspot areas like George compound. Businesses for street vendors have become very hard as they cannot sell their goods freely and people are not buying street food because of Cholera. The above strong mentioned factors has hit most of the guardians of our students who are already living in abstract Poverty. The situation has forced parents to send their children in different business ventures to help put food on the table. In as much as it may look like a good idea to the parents, the trend is putting the kids at more risk of contracting the disease since they are forced to beg for food as they are selling. These children in question leave their homes without having breakfast not to talk of lunch because their families can only afford to put only one meal on the table hence whenever they have a chance of coming in contact with food, they wouldn’t mind whether they have washed their hands or not.

Apart from being exposed to the epidemic due to their pre-existing vulnerabilities (poverty, sanitation, healthcare),trauma is another thing that has affected parents and children. This has come about as a result of seeing how their family members and neighbors are getting sick from Cholera and some dying from the disease. People can’t mourn their relatives in a proper way as they are buried immediately by the government and funeral gatherings are not allowed.


Education is just one of many casualties of the political and humanitarian crisis in any country. It is said that, Education is a route out of poverty, but that route has unfortunately been shut due to Cholera. The escalation of Cholera cases have affected the education of children as it has led to the postponement of the opening of schools to 12th February, 2024 instead of the initial date which was 12th January. Approximately 4.3 million school going children in Zambia have been affected. The school closure further widens the gap between the most privileged and the most vulnerable children as most vulnerable students like TOSF students are unable to do online learning because their guardians can ill afford a smart phone. Apart from that, TOSF children and other vulnerable children who entirely depend on school for feeding have really felt the impact because for some of our OVCs this is the only meal of the day. Despite children knowing that schools have closed, they continue showing up at the school gate asking for food hampers to take home for their families. It is very unfortunate that the school could not offer any food hamper because the school only receive food rations when schools are in operation.

With the closure of schools, many children are not able to access health care because parents do not have the money to buy medicine, which is different when schools are open as they are offered free healthcare and medication by TOSF school through the school nurse.

From what has been alluded so far, one can tell that indeed cholera has severely impacted the down trodden children of the society that we serve. TOSF would like to ask donors to come on board and render help to the affected families for some of our students have lost their guardians which has left some homes to be child headed and making life more complicated than it was before. This means that such children will be affected academically and paying attention in class will be disrupted with the responsibilities they carry. For some their poverty levels have risen prior to the academic because their small businesses have collapsed. The community is grateful to TOSF for being there for the orphaned and vulnerable children by providing free education, nutrition and medical care to the poorest of the poor.

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