Hello to all! We think about how different the world is from our last update to you, and hope all are healthy and well in these challenging times. Covid-19 is affecting us all, including our friends in Zambia. We have stories of the challenges from this past year, and also many great stories of positivity to share. Thanks to you, our donors and supporters, our programs have continued and we have good news to share! Read on for updates from Malambo Grassroots!
When Covid-19 hit Zambia in the summer, the predictions were worrisome. Numbers rose rapidly, and with only 800 registered doctors for a population of 17 million, the country had a limited ability to test and treat serious cases. Our on-the-ground volunteer, Rabson Kambwali, in co-ordination with Jocelyn Banyard of Malambo Grassroots, helped protect the people in and around Monze where we are based, mobilizing early and providing much needed preventative supplies and information. Rabson’s role was, and continues to be, extremely important, given the challenging medical situation in the country.
To date, we have distributed:
· 9,000 bars of hand washing soap
· 8,000 units of hand washing liquid
· 13,000 facemasks
· 200 water buckets
· 5,000 units of hand sanitizer
The supplies have been donated to seniors, vulnerable people, clinics, schools, community churches and our local hospital. As the donations are delivered, safe practices in a village setting are discussed as well as explaining what Covid-19 is to empower the local communities.
The women we work with have sewn thousands of masks made from chitenges to distribute to those in need. We applaud and thank them for their amazing help during this difficult time.
Recently Covid-19 infections in Zambia have decreased. While it’s still too early to tell if this positive trend will continue or not, we are cautiously optimistic. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and be ready to distribute supplies if the numbers rise.
Tree Planting Initiative
The chiefs and villagers in our area are now embracing initiatives to mitigate climate change because they understand the correlation between the recurring droughts and deforestation. One of our main priorities is to support efforts to educate the community about conservation farming, drought resistant crops, the importance of tree planning, and water conservation in village and township settings.
Thanks to our wonderful donors, old and new!, in early 2020, we started planting trees in villages and around schools. Our volunteers and students planted about 1000 trees in total.
It’s time to restart tree planting so that the seedlings can benefit from the full rainy season. The news has spread—Rabson is getting a lot of requests for trees. Planting trees is an important part of our climate change action plan.
Sub-Saharan Africa is in the midst of a particularly severe drought. Many of those we work with had very limited access to food this year as their crops had not been able to give proper yields without rains. Thanks to your donations, we were able to provide emergency food aid to people in the town of Monze, as well as those villages in the surrounding area. Our main focus was to supply food to seniors and school children. Rabson and Sr. Lontia were able to secure large orders of maize before the prices skyrocketed delivering to those most in need. Once again, many villagers have exhausted their food stores, though the harvest is still months away. Seniors have already been asking for assistance so Malambo Grassroots will continue to offer food and support.
Our university scholars have graduated! A huge congratulations to them on their wonderful achievements:
Chimuka Ngilazi graduated with a Secondary Diploma in Religious Education, Civic Education and Guidance and Counselling at Technical Vocational Training College. He has now been accepted into the BA program at the same school and hopes to continue his studies.
Coreen Mweetwa and Iven Moonga have both graduated with a degree in Nursing from Rusangu University.
Malambo Grassroots donors have supported all three students from start to finish. We can’t thank our supporters enough!
Coreen writes: “…You made it possible for me to achieve this paper, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. You supported me and made my future bright because education cannot be taken away from me….Thank you so much may God continue to bless you.”
Iven writes: “…As of yesterday 06th September 2020, we had our virtual graduation… I personally appreciate your patience andconfidence you entrusted me with that I would be able to obtain such a great achievement and make you and my family proud. I and my family are really thankful for the lifetime empowerment of knowledge and skills which would not have been possible without your financial aid. What I have become today will remain my lifetime inheritance and support which I will always live to remember. Through the knowledge and skills imparted on me, I will be able to support my family and carry on my plans of furthering my studies.
I wish you the best even as you continue reaching out to the most financially debilitated children with the passion to learn here in Africa and elsewhere. God bless you.”
Read Iven’s Moonga’s full letter here, showing his immense gratitude to all of the Malambo Grassroots sponsors who have seen him through his degree.
Another student, Timothy Ngumbi will also be graduating this year. We have been supporting Timothy since Grade 8 shortly after we met him at St Vincent de Paul school. He is the only person in his family to have graduated from high school. Now in his third year at college, he will complete his degree in December 2020. His studies have brought him back full circle. He is now doing his practicum at St. Vincent de Paul. They are so proud of Timothy’s accomplishments as are we!
And former student Mweemba Matongo, our first university graduate in Banking and Finance writes to let us know that he is keeping well and currently working in Lusaka for a money lending institution.
We salute all of our students and their wonderful accomplishments! Bravo to all!
St. Vincent de Paul Community School in Monze
Our special relationship with St. Vincent de Paul and head teacher Sr. Lontia continues to flourish.
At the start of the year, there were significant concerns about food security. We sent over extra funding this year to ensure that Sr Lontia could continue to offer her students one meal a day.
Our scholarship program continues to support many current and former students of St. Vincent de Paul in elementary, secondary, and post secondary programs. This year the grade 7’s had an exceptional year with a 97% pass rate! It’s a tribute to Sr Lontia, her wonderful faculty, and the grade 7 class! We also had 4 scholarship students write their grade 12 exams, another significant milestone!
The chicken business had some challenges this year. With so many rolling power outages, the school was having a hard time keeping the chickens and eggs healthy. This income-generation project is very important in helping sustain the school so Sr. Lontia requested help to purchase solar panels. The panels were installed in April and the chickens and eggs have been doing wonderfully since.
In exciting news, this year the school was identified by the Ministry of Education as doing well in gardening. In the spring, they received sponsorship for a green house, which was completed in early June.
With their passion for gardening, St. Vincent de Paul excitedly embraced our tree planting initiative! The school was one of Rabson’s first stops with donations of 35 tree saplings, 500 Moringa plants, and 100 lemon seed-beds!
And lastly, there is some wonderful news to share about Sr Lontia as well. She has been accepted to do her masters in management at the Catholic University in Zambia via distance learning. Sr Lontia is such a remarkable woman and we wish her every success in this new endeavour.
Ngoma Dolce Music Academy
We continue to donate instruments and many replacement strings to the Academy! This year we received a lovely oboe, amongst other instruments, which means we are close to donating an entire orchestra of instruments to the Academy….we are just missing harp and bassoon!
The music scholarship program continues to thrive. We have six scholars this year studying violin, cello, piano and voice and the Academy is looking to expand the program in partnership with St Thomas’ Community School.
Ngoma Dolce had to close temporarily this year due to Covid restrictions. They wrote to tell us that they would not have been able to re-open without your support. For that, the Academy and Malambo Grassroots are so grateful. We wish them every success going forward.
Sr. Lontia and Rabson are Recognized
In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, a network of volunteers called Lusaka Helps has been spreading information and active support around Zambia. Every week, they have profiled a “Changemaker,” someone who is taking positive action against the spread of the virus. Two of Malambo Grassroots’s volunteers, Sr. Lontia Siakalambwa and Rabson Kambwali, were profiled. As well, Dr. Thea Savory, who partners with Malambo with her Dutch organization, Stichting Mwabuka, was also profiled. We are so pleased that their hard work and positive actions have been recognized by the wider community. Congratulations to all three!
During such a challenging year for so many, we really can’t thank enough our long-term donors, many new donors, Rose Charities Canada and UK, and the Belacqua Charitable Trust. So many people this year have allowed our grassroots projects to continue to flourish.
We realize now more than ever, how supporting one another through difficult times is key to a successful future, so thank you again for being a part of it.
Wishing you and yours all the best for the upcoming holiday season and for a wonderful 2021.
Jocelyn, Heidi, Sarah, Toni, and Marylee