Every child has the right to education. Which is why they started the children's charity Raise a Smile. they empower vulnerable children and orphans in Zambia through various educational projects and give them the chance to decide their own futures!
In 2006 their founder, Esther Ridder, visited Zambia (in Southern Africa) for the first time. She was deeply moved by the fact that so many children are desperate to attend school, but poverty prevents them from doing so. She returned to Germany with a motivation to do something for children who have no access to education.
From this motivation Raise a Smile was born and in 2009 the German non profit organisation 'Raise a Smile e.V.' was registered. Since this first visit to Zambia, Raise a Smile, under Esther's guidance, developed to support existing projects in Zambia.
In 2013 they moved their base from Germany to Zambia and registered as an NGO there. With their move, they grew from supporting existing projects to establishing projects of their own.
Their team is made up of a diverse group of people with a variety of expertise, nationalities and life experiences. But they all have one thing in common, a huge passion for education.
Raise a Smile empowers vulnerable children in Zambia through education. Education is the focus of their work, because it is the foundation of personal development. In their projects they work closely with schools, communities and the local Ministry of Education to increase access to education and improve the standard of education at schools. To ensure sustainability, they provide people with the tools to improve their own situation.
They achieve this through a variety of projects including: literacy training, school fee sponsorship, tree planting, malaria and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and much more. Their latest project tackles the topic of School WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) to ensure pupils stay healthy and don't miss school due to illness.
The work of Raise a Smile is carried out in Zambia, a country in Southern Africa. Zambia is more than 3 times the size of the UK or about the same size as Texas, but has a population of only 13 million.
Their office, and therefore most of their work, is based in Mambwe District in the East of Zambia. This area is rural, remote and lacking in infrastructure. With over 90% of the population surviving through subsistence farming, most families do not have any extra income to spend on education.
Zambia is a beautiful country with warm and friendly people, but it is also a country where a third of all children lose one or both parents before reaching adulthood and the life expectancy is only 43 years.