Cardinal Mazombwe Centre, Rufunsa District, Zambia
The St. Peter Claver Society (SPCS) is a charitable apostolate of St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Va., founded in 2003 to support orphans of AIDS and other vulnerable African children. The Society works with three projects in Zambia – St. Anthony’s Children’s Village, the Mulele Mwana Skills Centre, and the Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre – by providing resources to shelter, feed, clothe and educate young people in desperate need. Nearly 20% of Zambian children under 17 years of age are orphans and many others live in abject poverty.
In recent years SPCS has focused increasingly on education, training and skills development to equip these young people for adulthood. Cardinal Mazombwe, former (now deceased) Archbishop of Lusaka, envisioned a rural center that would train young people in agricultural skills so that they could provide for themselves and support a sustainable quality of life for their families. Doing so would help stem the migration of the young to urban areas where many face joblessness, homelessness, and the abuse that comes with street living. SPCS believes in this mission and over the past three years has provided monies to refurbish existing housing, build livestock structures, and purchase livestock at the Cardinal Mazombwe Centre. It also has funded participation in short courses in agricultural skills, including animal husbandry, and tuition fees for training at tertiary schools.
With this new proposal SPCS intends to make a major step forward in fulfilling Cardinal Mazombwe’s vision of a first-class, complete and sustainable agricultural and life skills training center. Phase I calls for recruiting a qualified teacher, developing an educational program, acquiring teaching materials, and identifying and enrolling approximately 40 children in the program, as well as building a teacher’s home, two classrooms, a pigsty, poultry house, and cattle kraal. Phases II and III include recruiting an additional teacher, deepening the curriculum, incorporating fish farming in the program, extending initial assistance to students after graduation so that they may sustain their activities, and adding a classroom and more teacher housing. The co-directors of the Cardinal Mazombwe Centre will regularly monitor the project’s progress and quarterly evaluations will be provided to donors. All phases will be coordinated with the local community, the Archdiocese of Lusaka, and Zambia Orphans Aid (ZOA).
The St. Peter Claver Society believes this project offers real hope of a better future for children who have suffered the loss of parents and the effects of pervasive rural poverty and who otherwise may encounter few opportunities to improve their lives and living conditions. It begins to fulfill Cardinal Mazombwe’s vision of an institution where children will gain the skills needed for successful adulthood, the capabilities for building better communities, and the means for a sustainable quality of life.
The total cost for Phase I of the project is approximately $42,000 (depending upon exchange rates), the largest portion of which will go to construction costs. Copies of the complete proposal are available on request.