We are very sad to report that our dear colleague, father and friend, Bishop Andrew Mukuyamba, chairman of Makeni Ecumenical Centre, passed away after being admitted to hospital on Thursday the 24th of June in the early hours of the morning, having been diagnosed with Covid. The funeral took pace on Sunday the 27th of June. We will update this page with more details soon.
Makeni Centre School, like other schools was closed, which had a significant impact on income from fees. However, examination classes were allowed to attend, and as Makeni Centre School is an exam centre this meant some continued activity.
To help support students who could not attend classes, Friends of Makeni in the Netherlands funded the purchase of a new photocopying machine, so lessons could be reproduced for students to work on at home.
In September 2020 the government allowed schools to reopen, but many parents faced economic challenges due to lost employment, so fee income remains an issue.
The school bus donated by Busy Lizzies of Flanders continues to be in great demand, to the extent that the purchase of a second bus is being considered, however this comes with a significant price tag, for which support is needed.
St Nicholas Orphanage
Life for children in the orphanage was much the same under lockdown, except for their learning. Students received exam results in December 2020 and performed ‘averagely well’.
There are now only 12 children, with four more having completed Grade 12 and looking ahead to tertiary studies. Some who have already completed further studies still struggle to find work. Adam is doing piece work at the centre.
Four children from St Nicholas Oprhanage also attended a four-day workshop on Adapative Leadership in December 2020, organised by the Ministry of Health, accompanied by matron Julian Mumba, and headteacher Mr Joseph Longwani. The workshop addressed issues around rising HIV rates amongst adolescents. We hope that activities of this sort will encourage leadership qualities in our children.
For three years now the settlement villages have been largely independently run by settlers, who are cultivating large areas of land and receiving agricultural inputs from government to improve their yields. MEC continues to offer support for establishing amenities such as clean water, health posts and good schools.
Recently there has also been a focus, in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources, on obtaining title deeds for settlers. This requires significant financial input for surveying and mapping. Settlers have been asked to pay upwards of £425 to receive their title deeds, which is beyond their means. Negotiations with government continue to see if these fees can be reduced.
Momboshi Health Post
It is pleasing to report that the construction of Momboshi Health Post is nearly complete. In addition to a clinic and reception, an incinerator has been completed and toilets are being built. A staff house with solar panels has been built, and a water tower established a short distance away.
Due to COVID-19, the full board of MEC has been unable to meet in person since March 2020, complicating planning activities. A proposed fish-farming project has had to wait for further discussion until after the rainy season.
A point-of-sale machine has been acquired to help with revenue collection and accounting.
The administration of Makeni Centre would like to thank all those that have supported us in 2020. Without your support our task would have been very difficult. We thank the Busy Lizzies of Flanders (Belgium), the Friends of Makeni in the Netherlands, African Aids Angels in Canada, Kloosterkerk in the Netherlands, St John the Baptist Church in Piddington, Little St Mary’s Church in Cambridge, Pearl Foundation in the Netherlands, Reinhold Tournicourt of Flanders, Belgium; and Mr Driane of a foundation in the Netherlands, amongst others.
We wish you all God’s blessings as you continue doing this noble work of uplifting the living standards of many needy people of our society by providing financial and material support. We remain grateful to you.
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.
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.
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!
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