October 2020 update

Dear partners, friends, and donors,

Warmest greetings from Zambia. We hope all is well with you!

It is always a pleasure on behalf of the Board of Directors and indeed community of Makeni Ecumenical Centre to share an update about the various issues as well as the activities that concern the work of the Centre.

So far, this year has seen unprecedented upheavals that have taken a toll on our work. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our socio-economic strata, with several aspects being negatively impacted. Despite this, we are content that we continue with our agenda of making people’s lives better. It is sad that during this period we have lost men, women and children who could have contributed positively to the life of our country.

Given the operating environment, we are happy to see that much has been achieved, although much more needs to be done to realize our mission – “to provide affordable, quality education to our pupils, with the primary aim of empowering them to lead decent lives and contribute positively to national development”. This update aims at giving a brief view of life and the activities we have undertaken since we last communicated and since the advent of COVID-19.

The impact of Coronavirus

According to the BBC, worldwide there have been over 42 million cases recorded so far, with over a million deaths attributed to the virus. As of September 6th, 2020, Zambia had reported 12,776 cases with 295 deaths and 11,674 recoveries.

Zambia is grappling with a number of challenges, including soaring debt obligations, lower copper prices, depreciation of the local currency against major currencies, high inflation, as well as climatic variations that have taken a toll on the on the rainfall pattern, affecting both the agricultural and energy sectors. There has been a reduction in imports, and this has given rise to shortages in the supply of goods and services. The prices of commodities and foodstuffs has gone up while income remains the same or has gone down.

When the cost of living goes up, the health and nutrition of the people is affected. The poor performance of the economy has affected our operations as an NGO and as a Centre that is involved in doing charity work. The school, being private, has been affected negatively. To make matters worse, the closure of the schools early this year due to COVID-19 has led to an increase in children getting involved in mischief and other vices.

Most households have not managed to have all the necessary things they need. For example, most parents have not managed to pay school fees for their children even after schools have reopened. The Centre is trying to do its best in the “new normal”. We have seen great determination from our staff to keep things going and we commend them for that.

Teacher on duty, Mr. Walima, looking on. The school bus now does two trips due to an increase in the number of pupils using it.In the new normal, the wearing of face masks is a must and our pupils have been coming to school with masks on their faces. We have changed some arrangements to make sure that pupils can keep distance when they are in class, in addition to washing their hands frequently and sanitizing. We are also busy trying to put our computer classroom back into use. Some carpentry works have started on desks that were damaged. We want to free up the library, which was being used as a computer classroom.

It is our hope, as a Board of Directors and management that, as partners, donors and friends, you will continue to support our mission, which is to help vulnerable children have a better life. We do not expect the coronavirus to end soon, but we will eventually overcome it. Meanwhile, we must continue to do our best so that the situation does not get worse.

It is our earnest prayer that the good Lord will keep you all safe and give you courage to do more for humanity.

Bishop Andrew Mukuyamba
Chief Executive Officer of Makeni Ecumenical Centre, Zambia.

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2019 end of year news

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Girls’ brigade renews their vows

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Studying for exams

The children have written their final exams and on the 6th of December they went home for the Christmas holidays, some to rural areas and others to urban compounds, to reconnect with their home environment.

This was also an occasion for St Nicholas Children to have their first ride in the bus donated by Busy Lizzies of Flanders. Other school children have already been using the bus for some months now, and it appears to be a great success.

Before leaving for the holidays, St Nicholas children planted maize seed. We are praying for good rains, not only for the crops but also because the current drought has impacted on water levels in dams such as Kariba, and this has an effect on the country’s ability to produce enough power. The centre has had only about 6 hours of electricity a day for months now, and that from midnight to 6 am.  It is also therefore very good news that the Friends of Flanders and Archbishop Shane Jentzen in Victoria Canada are sharing the cost of a generator for Makeni Centre.

The school is doing well, with increased enrolment and the new headmaster Mr Longwani managing to instill improved discipline.  Since the school is now an examination centre, other local schools are able to make use of our labs and computer facilities. The computer lab has been repaired by Friends of Makeni after a disastrous fire in the poultry section caused damage to the facilities.

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New shoes!

We hear that a second donation of shoes from Pitsford Junior School in Northamptonshire has arrived! Many thanks to Julia Willmott for encouraging the children to do this once again. Anton and Wenda Dil had a nice visit there this year for an assembly to thank the children personally. Also thank you to Operation Sunshine in Folkestone for allowing us to send these items in their container.

The Pearl Foundation are doing great work in supporting vulnerable children, via our home-based care scheme, and in other direct ways, including donations towards birthday presents and weekly fruit for the orpahanage!

 

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Lestina graduates, accompanied by Mrs Oreta

This year’s visitors included Mr Reinhold Tournicourt, unfortunately not accompanied by Mrs Mieke Claus, who had suffered a fall, but who still managed to continue working for MEC from her sick bed.

Sandy Adams from Scotland came to be with us for three months to work in the office, allowing Tina Nkhata some well-earned leave.

Joke Ruiters visited from Holland for five weeks, and spent more time playing with the children and mending and making clothes.

Our thanks go out to all of our supporters, including

  • Klooster Church in the Hague, Holland
  • Little St Mary’s Church, Cambridge UK
  • Iffley Church, Oxford, UK
  • St John the Baptist, Piddington UK
  • Friends of Makeni in Holland and Belgium
  • George and Moonyeen Muller in RSA and
  • Mr and Mrs Naik and friends in Lusaka.

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Primary school children

Please see the full 2019 newsletter for more photos and stories!

With best wishes for 2020 from Bishop Andrew Mukuyamba and the staff of Makeni Centre.

Posted in Computing, food production, Home-based care, Primary School, Secondary School, St Nicholas Orphanage, Staff, Supporters, Volunteers | Leave a comment

June 2019 News update

Here are some news updates received in June from Bishop Andrew.  The centre continues to concentrate its efforts on improving Makeni School, and on St Nicholas Orphanage, while remaining work on the settlement projects is continuing.

School

Science students

Science students

Apart from news of the new bus (see earlier postings), the main news is that the government has introduced continuous assessment procedures that affect science practical examinations. Previously there was one assessed practical exam, but now there are three for Grades 7, 9 and 12.  This means higher expenses for science practical materials.

New text books have been purchased for the primary school section. There are some issues with supply of books and financing of textbooks for the secondary section.

Gift Machaya (right) in the carpentry workshop with Mr Edson N’gandu
Gift Machaya (right) in the carpentry workshop with Mr Edson N’gandu

New school desks are being made by the carpentry workshop.

St Nicholas Orphanage

St Nicholas Orphanage is currently housing 17 children, who are generally doing well academically. Children who are not performing as well, in some cases due to having started school later than others, are being given academic support.

It is pleasing to see the success of two of our older children, Gift Machaya, who now works at the centre in the maintenance department, and Francis Mtonga, who has been on attachment at Lewanika General Hospital in Mongu, where he is doing very well. We are grateful to our supporters for sponsoring these children – the good results are plain to see.

Please see the full newsletter for more details.

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New bus launch

Bravo!!

On Friday 24th May, 2019, Makeni Ecumenical Centre launched their school bus!  It was a very exciting day for both the pupils and the staff.

For a long time the Centre has been thinking about procuring a school bus to ease the transport problem the pupils face. They will now be able to participate in many inter-school activities in and around Lusaka, even outside Lusaka.

Receiving the scissors to cut theribbonWith the help of our partners in Belgium the dream of having a school bus has come into reality.

Mrs Dil cuts the ribbon

Mrs Dil cuts the ribbon

The bus was bought with the funds from the Busy Lizzies of Flanders who donated Euro 18,000, an amazing donation indeed. It is a good and beautiful bus bought from Japan.

The management and staff are very grateful to the Busy Lizzies and it is our prayer that God Almighty will bless the Busy Lizzies of Flanders and grant them good and long life.

You will see that the bus has already been branded. As this is going on the web, the bus will already have been in use, following school management having put some logistics in place.

The attached pictures show how excited everyone is about their newly acquired property.

Thank you very much Busy Lizzies!

Bishop Andrew

Pupils being addressed by Mrs Dil

Pupils getting ready to get on the busTwo pupils giving a vote of thanks

Two pupils giving a vote of thanks

Teachers enjoying a ride

Teachers enjoying a ride

Pupils singing at the launch

Pupils singing at the launch

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