St. Peter Claver Society
Sponsored by St. John the Beloved Catholic Church, McLean, Virginia
Mission Statement: Giving orphans a chance to grow and a better and safer future.
In 2003, a group of parishioners started talking with the pastor, Father Edward Hathaway, about the possibility of the parish supporting efforts by the Church in Kenya and Zambia to care for the many orphans resulting from the AIDS scourge. The pastor encouraged this. In early 2004, the St. Peter Claver Society was formed as a parish organization to assist African orphans and other vulnerable children cared for by Catholic institutions, initially in Kenya and Zambia. Later in 2004, SPCS held its first fund raising dinner.
Against a backdrop of high levels of poverty, Africa remains the region most affected by HIV and AIDS globally. 68% of the world’s infected people reside in Africa. 61% of the world’s infected women are in Africa; and women carry the greater burden of caring for children and the sick. 90% of the 14 Million AIDS orphans globally are in Africa. Africans subsist on less than $2 per day. The death of parents poses children. Many of them become enormous nutritional, health, educational, social and economic challenges to Africa’s heads of families at a tender age and must leave school to care for their siblings.
The SPCS has no paid staff, and its only expenses are the costs of advertising; thus, nearly 100% of donations go directly to its projects which are closely monitored and regularly visited by SPCS Committee members. Currently, St. Peter Claver Society supports three projects in Zambia which have a proven track record for financial accountability:
St Anthony Children’s Village, Ndola Diocese, Zambia
Funds to build the orphanage were mobilized by Franciscan Sisters, who handed over its day to day management to Dominican Sisters. The orphanage cares for between 90-120 children at any time, ranging in age from a new born to seven years, the majority born to mothers who have died of AIDS. In July 2015, SPCS donated $4000 to upgrade the preschool on the premises.
As the AIDS crisis subsides, fewer babies are being born to infected mothers; however, St. Anthony’s is also home for over 60 children and young adults with special needs, most having cerebral palsy. They regularly receive rehabilitative care from a physical therapist. In addition, several older children with severe chronic diseases are cared for at St. Anthony’s.
Mulele Mwana Skills Centre, Lusaka, Zambia
Mulele Mwana (look after the child), a project of St.Charles Lwanga Catholic Church
From 2011 to 2014, SPCS supported students in the tailoring class, until they became self-supporting with the help of a revolving fund which we funded. SPCS continues to support the parish’s feeding program which provides mainly porridge breakfasts and lunches for about 250 students of the St. Charles Lwanga Catholic community school. For some children, these are their only meals for the day, because three-quarters of their guardians do not have regular sources of income. SPCS pays for the HEPS (high energy protein supplement), rice, charcoal, cooking oil and dish detergent used in this successful feeding program which has resulted in the noticeable improvement in the children’s performance and attendance. SPCS also paid for a roof so that the children did not get drenched in the rainy season.
A New SPCS Project: The Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre
Chongwe District, Lusaka Province
The Mazombwe Centre allows 40 young adults, ranging in age from 10-21, to grow crops for their own consumption and to raise money to put themselves through school. During the past 14 years, over 100 very poor orphans have benefited from working on the farm by learning basic farming skills and thereby paying for their education to become nurses, teachers, electricians, secretaries, business administrators, and priests. The Lusaka Archdiocese monitors the overall management of the farm which is about 75 miles from Zambia’s capital. SPCS raised money to pay for the construction of a 12 pen pigsty and for the improvement of the orphans living quarters, to include installing windows and doors and purchasing beds. We have been able to fund the purchase about 20 piglets, as well.
SPCS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Mary Beth Kustra
Where we serve:
SPCS is partnered with Zambia Orphans Aid (ZOA). ZOA-US and ZOA-UK concentrate on raising funds to support the projects identified and submitted to them by ZOA in Zambia (ZOA-Z). ZOA-Z also monitors and evaluates the projects and helps with capacity-building in simple business management and in proposal writing and reporting. In 2004, ZOA-US offered SPCS two of its projects it had been supporting: Mulele Mwana and St. Anthony Children’s Village. ZOA-Z has its office on Mulele Mwana grounds in Lusaka. In 2014, ZOA offered SPCS the Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre as a new project. ZOA-Z transfers SPCS funds to these projects and monitors them as well.
Our sister organization is Zambia Orphans Aid (ZOA-US) website: zambiaorphans.org