In early June 2018, SPCS Committee member Bob Jansen visited St. Anthony Children’s Village in Ndola, Zambia. Sister Lucia, Project Manager, has advised SPCS of the need to raise about $3000 to replace worn out linens for the 105 orphans, many of them special needs children. She has asked for our help. Your generosity is greatly
St. Peter Claver Society for African Orphans Sponsored by St. John the Beloved Catholic Church, McLean, Virginia
All proceeds will go to purchase much needed bedding. Please make checks out to St. John the Beloved with St. Peter Claver Society in the memo line or give online through Faith Direct.
SPCS Committee member Bob Jansen at St. Anthony’s June, 2018
Three years ago, the St. Peter Claver Society ended its support of the Mulele Mwana tailoring cooperative for a good reason. ITS SUCCESS! Because of many generous donations, we had succeeded in helping young graduates of the tailoring program become self-supporting by assisting them in developing a revolving fund so that subsequent graduates would have enough capital to start up their own dress shops. Our co-foundress, Shimwaayi Muntemba, then proposed we take on what would become the Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre, which we did. SPCS took on the farm as a project in 2014 beginning with building an extension to the pigsty and providing many piglets. Then SPCS paid for improvements to the living quarters for the children by paying for windows, doors and beds–none of which they had for many years.
Who was Cardinal Mazombwe? He was Zambia’s first Cardinal who had a lifelong devotion to promoting education. In fact, during his 53 years as a priest, he established many universities, nursing schools, hospitals and education centers.
After observing the alarming number of orphans of AIDS in Zambia, the cardinal obtained 200 acres of land near a hospital and nursing school he had founded. His aim was to interest orphans and very poor young people to live at the farm and raise crops and livestock for their own consumption and to earn money to put themselves through school. Since 2002, this enterprise has been very successful in helping almost 200 young adults graduate as teachers, nurses, priests and more efficient farmers who are now self-sufficient and able to help their siblings. Cardinal Mazombwe wanted to stem the flow of orphans to the cities where they are generally unemployed, and too often resort to crime and prostitution, in order to survive.
Just before he died in 2013, the Cardinal contacted Shimwaayi to ask for her help in building a skills training school at the farm. He knew that Dr. Muntemba has a track record for initiating many similar projects while working with World Bank.
In 2014, our Committee members, Jay LaMonica and his son Gabe, visited the Mazombwe Farm and resolved to carry out the Cardinal’s dream of building an Agricultural skills center. Sadly, we lost Jay to cancer in March 2016. Jay’s dedication to helping African orphans was well known among his friends and relatives who generously donated $6,000 in his name toward building this skills center. With this seed money, the St. Peter Claver Society has committed itself to seeing the Cardinal’s and Jay LaMonica’s dream of establishing an agricultural skills center come true. However, the initial cost of over $40k is way more than what we generally raise. Especially since we still plan to continue our support to all three of our projects, which generally comes to about $20k a year.
Now we are asking ourselves, “Have we bit off more than we can chew?”
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Residents of Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre Mulele Mwana graduates of Tailoring Program
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.
In honor of our patron saint’s feast day, please see the following video on St. Peter Claver.
Also read more about the U.S. Bishops’ anti-racism point man call for a day of prayer on his feast day.
The St. Peter Claver Society‘s July 8-9 second collections will pay for tuition for the following four young adults, who live at the Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre in Zambia. They need $4,500 to help them complete their second year of studies.
ALICK ZIMBA, 22, who is taking a three year course at the Chongwe School of Education. Alick reports: I have loved the teaching profession since I was a small boy and I really have been inspired by friends who have done teaching. My future plan is to look after my two siblings who are still at school, I would love to give them the best I can.
THOMAS NJOLE,20, who is studying nursing at St. Luke’s School of Nursing. Thomas notes: I chose nursing because of my desire is to serve people lives. My future plans are to educate my young sisters and brothers and also to help other vulnerable children.
JONATHAN ZULU, 24, who is taking a three year course in plumbing and sheet metal at the Ukwim Trade Institute. Jonathan reports: I have been interested in this course since grade nine. My uncle used to take me with him to his workplace so I observed everything he did. My desire is to get more knowledge. My plan is to build a house for my parents and to support my three siblings all through their education.
REGINA CHULA, 19, who is enrolled in a seven year course in medicine and surgery at the University of Zambia. According to Regina: I chose this course because I am passionate about saving people lives. My plans for the future are to reduce poverty levels in my area by helping Vulnerable Children like me continue their education by providing scholarships.
For the first time, the St. Peter Claver Society annual Mother’s Day sales will be selling coffee imported from Zambia which is freshly roasted locally by Beanetics Coffee Roasters in Annandale. In addition, SPCS will be offering coffee/ travel mugs with the design depicted above for sale after Masses on the weekends of April 30, May 6-7 and May 13-14. Two preteen boys created the design and wording which nicely captures both empathy for orphans and gratitude toward one’s mother.
The Coffee sells for $12, ceramic and travel mugs for $10 each, and at a special price: both Coffee + Mug for $20. All profits go toward supporting orphans and children in need at our three projects in Zambia: St. Anthony’s Children’s Village, the Mulele Mwana breakfast and lunch program; and the Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre.
Our newest project, the Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre, allows about 40 orphans from 10 to 21 years old to grow their own crops. Cardinal Mazombwe was the inspiration for this farm.
His Eminance Cardinal Medardo Mazombwe (1931-2013)
Medardo Mazombwe spent his 53 years of priesthood serving the Church and the poor as a teacher at the primary and secondary school levels. He became a great promoter of education and health studies as a means of reducing poverty. He created several schools and universities, including the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in 1984. He also helped the Daughters of the Immaculate Mary build the Catholic University in Lusaka and the National Catholic University on Zambia’s Copperbelt.
As Archbishop of Lusaka between 1996 and 2006, Mazombwe established several health and medical education projects in rural areas, including a Mission Hospital and Nursing School in the area’s Mpanshya Chiefdom. Because of the many orphans of AIDS in that area, he negotiated with Chief Mpanshya for 200 acres of prime land near the hospital and nursing school to be used for a “settlement” to house and care for the many, and ever growing number of HIV orphans, as well as very many needy youths between the ages of 10 to 23 years. The orphans lived at the settlement and grew vegetables and maize to eat and sell in order to earn money to put themselves through school. A matron lived at the farm to care for the young residents, while the nearest Catholic parish provided staff to supervise the work. The Mpanshya Farm was born!
In 2014, Archbishop Mpundu of Lusaka and the Zambia Orphans Aid (ZOA) renamed the facility the “Cardinal Mazombwe Agricultural and Life Skills Centre.” The Center had already fulfilled Cardinal Mazombwe’s objective by empowering the young orphans through education to become self sufficient and prosper. Since the Center’s creation, over 150 orphans from the farm moved on to become teachers, priests, nurses, and secretaries; and others have developed skills to improve the farm’s productivity.
Our St. Peter Claver Society (SPCS) took on the farm as a charity project in 2014, initially building an extension of the farm’s pigsty, and providing numerous piglets. SPCS also improved the children’s living conditions by paying for much needed windows, doors and beds. In 2016, SPCS began providing education grants to worthy students for their post high school educations. The SPCS’ recent July 10th special second collection at St. John’s brought in enough money to support four youths for their first year of college. In Zambia, it is estimated that a college graduate is generally able to support five to six siblings and grandparents.
Before he died, the Cardinal imparted to SPCS co-founder Shimwaayi Muntemba that he wanted to build an agricultural training center on this vast farm. He envisioned a training center that would prepare young people for rural agricultural activities, thereby avoiding urban unemployment.
In memory of our late SPCS colleague, Jay LaMonica, who had visited the farm and was one of its strongest proponents, the SPCS is designating all donations made in Jay’s honor toward the building of the training center of Cardinal Mazombwe’s dream.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Jay LaMonica a big supporter of the St. Peter Claver Society. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jay and his family.
Quote from The Salesians of Don Bosco in West Africa have described him as “a great sheltering tree has fallen”. Many children and care givers who met him here would agree with that.
Pope Francis brought to Africa a message of mercy, forgiveness, and peace. And Africa gave the Pope one of the best responses: overwhelming joy and faith.
Countless images of joy and hope came from the five day trip to Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. From his plea to reject the throwaway culture to his call for peace in a war-torn country, the Pope brought messages and gestures for everyone. (Rome Reports)