Cecily's Fund helps up to 8,000 children and young people - who would otherwise have no chance to get an education - to go to school, become peer health educators and go to college. For more details of how we do this see What we do and why.
Katy's story (we have changed her name to protect her identity) is typical of many of the children we support.
"I think everyone should be able to go to school and get educated like me."
Katy lives with her grandparents, her sister, three cousins and her baby nephew, who Katy helps to look after, in a three-room house in Kitwe, northern Zambia.
Her grandmother is the only person in the household earning an income. Katy helps her to sell small bags of charcoal to her neighbours and passers by.
Katy's grandfather is ill and the bills for medicines and trips to the hospital mount up. All this means there is very little money left over to educate Katy and the other children of the household.
"I had nine children," Katy's grandmother told us. "My son and my daughter died, and my son-in-law died too. I have five children left. I’m looking after five grandchildren."
"Nowadays things are very expensive. We just can’t manage all the things that the girls need; we can’t afford to buy books. I try to manage but I fail."
Cecily's Fund works with local partner organisation, Hodi, to help families like Katy's by providing them with shoes, uniforms, books, pens and help with school fees.
"I think everyone should be able to go to school and get educated like me,"
Katy says. "It would be nice to be able to read and speak English and to look after my grandparents. After school I plan to become a journalist, because I admire the way they present the news on television."
"We’ve had help with books and shoes for the children to go to school which has made a big difference. I’m very thankful." says Katy's grandmother.
For her, like so many in Zambia, education means hope. She told us that if just one of her grandchildren are educated he or she can help all the others.
Katy and her sister go to a local school where Cecily's Fund partner organisation, Hodi, supports around 300 children. Mrs Kailanga was nominated as the school's 'contact teacher', she is responsible for the welbeing of all the orphans and vulnerable children (children who are impoverished or whose parents are chronically ill), and is also the main contact for Hodi. She reports regularly on the progress of Katy, her sister and the other children we are supporting, and helps them solve any problems which may be affecting their studies. Mrs Kailanga says that in the four years that she's been at the school;
"I’ve seen a lot of improvements. Lots more orphans and vulnerable children are going to school. They know that they will get books, shoes and uniforms, so they come."
In Kitwe, in Zambia's copperbelt, where we support around 5,500 children in school, we also help the school leavers we have supported, to train as peer health educators and as teachers. >>Find out how you can support this valuable work.