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.
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.