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Seattle for Ng'ombe

Seattle for Ng'ombe
CROWDRISE : Dec 26, 2011
Tax ID: 27-5079989
BASED: Seattle, WA, United States


Seattle for Ng'ombe

Our Mission

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Seattle for Ng'ombe: What are we up to?

An unplanned district in the Zambian capital Lusaka, Ng'ombe is a zone of poverty sandwiched between two middle class neighborhoods. With a population of about 200,000, it meets 4 of the 5 criteria used by the UN to define a slum: lack of safe drinking water, of sanitation, of sufficient room to avoid overcrowding, and of secure tenure.  Needs Care Day Centre is a grassroots community services organization that is also a recognized Zambian charity.  Formed in 2001, Needs Care provides free schooling at the elementary level,  hot meal programs, and supports 50-60 health outreach workers to regularly visit at risk homes- those beset by HIV and TB. 


I asked the leader of that effort, Esther Mandakawire, a woman of phenomenal energy and compassion, how help could be given. She mentioned that her outreach workers could use bicycles to get to clients. My wife and I persuaded cycling friends in Seattle to donate enough money for 15 bicycles made in Zambia. After two subsequent visits, we have become more engaged with this committed group, and raised funds for shoes, school supplies, cooking pots and teacher stipends for the school of about 500 children, and more bicycles for the outreach workers.

In 2010, we started a small medical clinic at the school location where nurses currently see patients without charge twice per month. That year we also set up a recognized US charitable organization, with a board consisting of 4 heath care workers, a PhD in health policy, and a water expert. We have trained the outreach workers to take blood pressures. We have concentrated on detection and treatment of hypertension and diabetes, conditions that often take a back seat to HIV, malaria and TB and so cause silent chronic damage to productive adults.  

With support from the local board, US donors, and by listening to our team in Zambia, we have focused our efforts on family planning services, knowing that women hold the key to societal improvements, but only if they are able to control the spacing and number of their children.

Our natural feeling is that more should be done, an emotion that has led to paradoxically harmful instances of support in Africa. But those on the ground, doing the day to day service, want to expand what they are doing, and they have shown us their sweat and compassion.


We believe that one answer to the myriad needs in this world are small efforts to support people who have already taken up their own cause. 


Ken Elam, MD, MPH


Seattle for Ng'ombe


Tax ID: 27-5079989 •


Ng'ombe Support Fund

Ng'ombe Support Fund

Amount Raised:



94% Raised of $25,000 Goal