Kasanka Update for Lent 2014

What is Kasanka?

Since 2000 St. Edmunds Parish has been ‘twinned’ with Kasanka, a parish in Zambia. Back in 2000 it was a far off dream for the FMDM sisters and the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) priests. Now it is growing and developing through various projects and initiatives which St. Edmunds has helped through the annual Lenten appeals. This year is no exception and the Justice and Peace group are once again asking parishioners to make their Lenten alms offerings to Kasanka but we thought you would like a few updates on what has been happening.

      

   

Education in Kasanka

Education is vitally important to help someone rise out of poverty and create a better life for themselves and their families.

   


The parish at Kasanka now has St. Francis Pre-School with an Intake (Reception) year and now its second year, Grade 1. These buildings were financed by Misean Cara, an Irish Missionary funding agency who have been especially supportive of the Home Based Care programme (more on that next week). The sisters are applying to register this school with the Government for its on-going development and sustainability. 

Hand in hand with this development is the second year of the Adult Literacy classes. So many in Kasanka are held back by lack of Literacy, both individuals and the local community. It takes courage to learn as an adult!  Even day to day survival can prise aspirations out of one’s hand, not to mention seasonal fishing and the tug of quick money; even though so erratic. Yet all agree, development is dependent on education. The sisters charge small fees, but of course these are not enough to run the school. Hence registration with the Government is the way forward for teachers’ salaries at least.

One of the sisters teaches in the morning in the Government School. She has a class of over 40 in Grade 1, the maximum allowed by Government. She also helps the teachers in St. Francis Pre-School as well as the Skills part of the Literacy curriculum especially!


 



 

Health Care in Kasanka

HIV and AIDS remain rife in Zambia and Kasanka is no exception. 

The sisters have newly built Home Based Care offices on the mission. One sister co-ordinates the Diocesan Home Based Care Programme as she has over the last six years. She works with Site Coordinator so that the network within the three zones of Care Supporters and Care Givers functions effectively. They care for 181 clients. The Programme also provides education concerning AIDS and HIV. It helps look after 93 orphans and vulnerable children so that they have access to education, clothing and food. Both of them work hard in networking with local services at the rural health centre, and district headquarters in Samfya 80 kms away. For example they regularly carry blood samples for clients’ CD4 count to Samfya, or they work at clinics such as the weekly VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing) and PMTC (Prevention of Transmission from mother to child) so that clients are well cared for.

There are various funding streams for the home-based care programme including the government and church CHAZ, a small NGO, Contessa as well as small donations from Godalming Parish.


Children and Youth In Kasanka

At the heart of the parish in Kasanka are the Youth. The Safeli, named after its patron St. Francis Xavier, is a popular youth leadership movement just getting started in most of the large centres of the Parish. In January there a training session at Milenge 75 kms away where there was an inaugural training for the Parish. Just imagine 120 children on the back of a truck heading for Milenge during the school holidays with their food for five days on a rain soaked and rutted dirt road! They had a ball!

The parish also supports 13 disabled children who are receiving on-going rehabilitation. In the last year there have been 9 new children applying for help with a variety of surgical interventions. Our role is to access funds from a small Dutch agency, organise transport to Lusaka, and support the necessary time in hospital as well as follow up visits for these rural families. They simply could not afford the treatment nor would they have the knowledge and contacts to access such procedures without the mission. The sisters are lucky to have Beit Cure International orthopaedic hospital who accommodate these children and their mothers for months at a time for surgery then review. It is too far to come home then go back. It’s a paper chase of course, but well worth it for these children.



      



The sisters and Kasanka rely upon St. Edmunds for a regular input of money, that they cannot get from their projects or building programmes. In fact to have such money ‘with no strings attached’ gives them the freedom and ability to provide essential individual assistance for the poor and sick, the orphans and vulnerable children who have no other access; for the disabled not covered by application to an NGO. It is this flexibility Parish giving can provide. This is why they watch carefully these small monies like a hawk, for without these funds are hands are tied for such.  And why they are very grateful to St. Edmunds for the money we raise each Lent – so pick up an envelope and help us raise funds. 

Please continue to give knowing that every kwacha is precious.