On the 2nd of July myself, Maria Kenneally, and a team of 6 others will be flying to Mazabuka, Zambia to volunteer our services with the SERVE programme for a 4 week period.
Mazabuka is located in the Southern Province of Zambia, almost 200 kilometres southwest of Lusaka, the capital of the country.
The greatest cause of death in Mazabuka is AIDS therefore the average life expectancy in Zambia is thirty seven years old. Such a low life expectancy results in an increased number of orphans. Many orphans end up living on the street.
Currently there are two main projects run by St. Bakhita’s in order to support the community and in particular the youth.
An elementary school was established in 2001 to enable any child, a chance for education.
The teachers are comprised of volunteers from the community. Many international volunteers also serve as teachers. The school has grown since 2001 from 12 pupils to a total enrolment of just under 700 pupils.Pupils come from very poor homes and many are orphans.
The Arks were created to house orphaned and underprivileged teenagers who come from difficult family situations.
All members of the Ark houses attend school and are given the possibility for further education beyond high school.
The uncles and aunts play a very important role in the houses because they are a model for the youths.
Older boys and girls act like older brothers and sisters to the younger teenagers.
The art centre project in order to give young people the opportunity to put their artistic skills into practice.
At the beginning, lessons were taught underneath a tree.
Every artist earns from his/her own work, there is no common wage or salary for artists therefore everyone is stimulated to work, produce and improve the quality of his/her work. This defends against opportunistic behaviours.
The Bakery Project has been established in order to provide job and educational opportunities but also in order to financially support the two existing projects. This is done by providing food and financial assistance from the bakery sales.
Myself and Maria, as SERVE volunteers get involved in all of the above projects – visiting and staying in the Ark houses, running Art workshops, assisting teachers with the school curriculum, as well as running a Meitheal Youth Leadership programme for youth from the locality as well as training local trainers, and working on the sustainable agriculture project.
- Claire Collins
- Sarah O’ Driscoll
- Sarah Sullivan
- Darragh Mackessy
- Sophie Rawson