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Zambian locals find optimism at Shaolin Temple

XINHUA | Updated: 2023-01-18 08:01

The first-ever Shaolin Temple in Zambia, located in Lusaka, Zambia's capital, is known for its Chinese cultural activities, which include martial arts programs.

The place is a hive of activity, particularly on weekends and holidays, as people from different walks of life come to get a taste of Chinese culture.

For residents of Ngwerere compound, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Lusaka, the Shaolin Temple is a symbol of hope for young and underprivileged people.

The Ngwerere compound, just a stone's throw from the Shaolin Temple grounds, is a low-income community that grapples with challenges, including the lack of access to education and recreational facilities for young people.

"We are very happy to have the Shaolin Temple close by. Many young people will benefit from the education and skills programs being offered at the temple," says Andrew Miti, chairman of the Ngwerere compound.

Miti mentions that a good number of parents in the Ngwerere compound are unable to provide food for their families or meet their children's needs because they lack resources.

He lauds Shaolin Temple management for providing education, food and shelter to indigent children, stating that the discipline and sound values embedded in the temple's programs will help improve the lives of young people from the Ngwerere compound and other poorer areas.

Shaolin Temple programs coordinator Yan Ming says his team was overwhelmed with requests from parents seeking to enroll their children in programs offered at the temple.

Yan reveals that there are currently 27 boys aged 6 to 16 from very vulnerable backgrounds receiving education support, food and shelter at the temple. The children, he says, come from different parts of Lusaka.

"We are trying to see how best we can help the vulnerable children currently in our care before taking in more," he explains.

Interactions with residents of the Ngwerere compound reveal that they are excited to have a place nearby where youngsters can be guided to become both responsible and productive citizens.

"The only recreational spaces available in this compound are bars and liquor stores. As a result, most young people have been compelled to engage in illicit activities," laments Eunice Musonda.

Musonda, at 18, hailing from Ngwerere, remains optimistic that the Shaolin Temple's youth-friendly programs will not only ensure that local youngsters have a better future, but will also help curtail juvenile delinquency in the Ngwerere compound.

Clever Malambo, 27, echoes Musonda's thoughts and says that the Shaolin Temple in Zambia is serving as a beacon of hope for many young people in the Ngwerere compound and beyond.

"I am certain that the programs offered at this temple will inspire many youths to dream big and to achieve a lot in life," Malambo says.

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