SUPPORTING ZAMBIA’S AIDS ORPHANS
GIVING SANCTUARY AND HOPE WITH LOVE COMPASSION AND RESPECT
I am very pleased to let you know that Roger and I have finally completed all paperwork needed to get CONTESA up and running.
CONTESA has been specifically set up to help alleviate the suffering of (AIDS) orphans and disadvantaged children in Zambia by providing or assisting in the provision of basic shelter, food and primary education and training regardless of their background, religion or race.
I visited Zambia in April of this year for three weeks on a research/study visit during which I explored and visited similar projects and orphanages with a view to deciding how best CONTESA should commence its work. This was a very sad time for me as the conditions I saw first hand were just heart breaking.
One immediate impression from my visit is that there is great urgency to assist in the feeding and provision of shelter for orphaned and disadvantaged children by all those who are able and willing to do so.
The agencies and support services are totally overwhelmed, I saw centres that struggle to provide even the basic needs for the children, due to a lack of funds and facilities. I visited one centre that could just manage to provide the children with one meal a month, so what do the children eat for other 29 days of the month? This Centre cooked the meals in an open space and the children sat down on the ground in the open to eat. Maybe this is acceptable in the warm and dry seasons but I can only imagine how terrible the conditions are in the rainy or cold seasons. This is just one example from many of the devastating and sad conditions and situations that I saw during my visit.
After visiting quite a few charities and children’s refuges I have identified two centres that it is proposed CONTESA will support. These are the Chainda Centre, in Lusaka and the Church Mission, in Kabwe.
The Chainda Centre is situated in Chainda shanty compound on the outskirts of Lusaka. The centre was registered as a charity in 2000 and is affliated with Tuesday’s Ladies Bible Study Group of the Anglican Church. The centre has a total of 118 orphaned and disadvantaged children aged 12-18 years old and 32 adults aged 65+. All the children, who may not all be orphaned, live in the compound of Chainda with either a parent, grandparent or a relative who are unable to work because of illness due to being HIV positive. The centre’s mission is to provide basic food, shelter, education and training for orphaned (or soon to be) children. The centre needs to expand urgently in order to accommodate an ever increasing influx of children coming to the centre. There is an urgent need to build a dining block, ablution block (toilets and showers), classrooms and a skills block. CONTESA would like to support the centre by building the dining block and the classrooms. The cost of these will be in the region of £10,000. They will submit details of their plans later. The other urgent need is to support the food project in order to give the children a variety in their daily meals of beans and nsima (porridge).
Church Mission is a new church established in 2002. The church mandate is to take care of the vulnerable especially orphaned children and widows and the elderly in society. The ministry goals are to provide basic shelter, food, education and skills and medication and other necessities. Due to a lack of funds it has been extremely difficult to deliver most of these goals. They currently provide one meal a month to the orphans and widows. There is an urgent need to increase funding to the Mission so that they can provide those in their care with at least one meal a day. The funds needed for this project are relatively modest and will cost about £150 a month. The Mission has no buildings or shelter for the services they provide i.e. literacy classes, cooking, feeding the children, and skills classes such as sewing and knitting. There are also no toilets and showers. All their services are conducted in the open air. CONTESA intends to support the building of a Kitchen and Dining Block, so that meals can be served on a daily basis to the children and the widows.
CONTESA is a limited company (No.5314471) by guarantee with no share capital and is prohibited by its memorandum of Association from making dividend payments or other distribution i.e. all CONTESA’s income must be used in compliance with its Mission and Vision. CONTESA also has been approved by charity Commissioners as a registered charity ((No.1109311).
I am asking if you would like to help with either funding or supporting a particular project or indeed if possible that you could join a small team that I intend to take to Zambia before the end of the year. I intend to go early October so that you can see for yourselves what is needed and maybe some of you can also provide some physical support. CONTESA will bear the accommodation expenses in Zambia but all other personal expenses will need to be borne by each individual.
It is hoped to operate CONTESA as a small family of like minded friends who are dedicated and committed to CONTESA’s Mission and Vision and once CONTESA has been up and running for 6-12 months, it is intended to establish a ‘Friends of CONTESA’. This group may or may not become part of CONTESA’s formal management. A get together will be convened in early 2006 to decide. It is also intended CONTESA will support the projects directly without incurring big expenses such as salaries and accommodation of staff and will keep administration costs to the absolute minimum.
Anyone who is interested in making a donation, monetary or time and/or participating in researching visits to Zambia should let me know as soon as possible. I would ask that those of you who wish to make a monetary donation that you do so in the form of a ‘gift aid’ so that where donors are taxpayers, CONTESA can claim the tax back from the Inland Revenue thereby increasing the value of your donation.
I will end my letter with the following prayer of commitment by St. Clement, Bishop of Rome (circa AD 95):
Grant us a vision, Lord,
To see what we can achieve with your help,
To reach beyond ourselves to your world
To share our lives and our faith with others
To stretch our capabilities by your power
To share your love, healing and joy
To be aware of where we can help and support others
To be always sensitive to your presence with us
To listen to yourcall and respond wholeheartedly.