My name is Matildah Sibalwa Van Ravenstein. My family and I moved to this beautiful country Canada in August of 2014. Before then we lived in Zambia which is located in the southern part of Africa. My husband and I met at my previous work place in Zambia back in 2008 and remained friends and coworkers until2010 when we started dating. We got married in October, 2011 and now have two beautiful kids aged 4 years and 9 months. We worked for an organisation called Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia (CACZ). This organisation ran transit homes, community schools through churches, community feeding programs as well as a high school in one of the densely populated communities in the capital city of Lusaka.
One of the things my husband and I have is shared love for mission work. My husband was volunteering with mission work for 4 years before we moved to Canada. While working and living in Zambia, we realised how much support and programs like CACZ there were in the main cities and little or none in the rural areas. On an individual basis with the help of supporters we started a school sponsorship program in one of the provinces. Some of the children we met had to walk a number of kilometers to and from school with no shoes. The inability to acquire basic school neccessities like books, uniforms, pencils or pens kept most of the kids from continuing or ever going to school. When we moved o Canada one of the hardest things was leaving behind this sponsorship program. The dissapoitment our sponsored kids showed when we told them we were relocating, therefore discontinuing with the sponsorship program, was haunting. It was also quite evident that most of these kids relied on the support we had brought to them for their hope and encouragement for education. Since I attended the same school in my early school years and had so many things to relate to these kids, I knew the feeling of hopelessness and need for encouragement there was. I received support from extended family for my school years, what about those children that dont have that same support?
After several months of thinking and praying about it, we feel God is calling us to go and rebuild the sponsorship program to bring HOPE of education for those children. For the 6 children that we had sponsored, we realise we may not find them but there are many kids searching for the same kind of hope. Our goal is to return and mend the relationship we had started with the school and village. Building off of the same hardships I went through when I was that age we know how important it is to give hope to children especially at such a young age.
We also realise we can not do this on our own therefore we need your support both through prayers and financially. When my husband lived in Zambia for those 4 years some of you walked along us in this journey and we ask that you consider joining us again. We are forever grateful for the opportunity you gave us and we ask that you help us make this passion in our hearts a reality once again.
The funds raised will be going to very specific expenses: 1. School supplies, school uniforms and fees(etc) for a year 2. Flights to Zambia 3. Transport/Food while in Zambia
My husdand and I realise the hardship it will be to be on different continents for some time but we believe that God's call on our life to help care for the children and bring hope is too great. As my kids and I will be staying with family during our time there, we will save costs on accommodation. We are planning on travelling for the months of June and July in 2017 but we need to purchase airtickets as soon as possible to get cheaper rates.
We have hope in all of you that you will help us make this journey a reality. As we celebrate Christmas, we pray that you can help us give HOPE to these children ad their families for a better future through the gift of education.
We send love and peace to all of you and thank you abundantly for the support.
During the trip we will also be sending updates including stories and photos. If you would like to stay connected during our journey, please email my husband or I and we will set you up on a mailing list.