Infant Mortality Rate: 88.29 deaths/1000 live births
Life Expectancy: 39.7 years
Adult prevalence rate (2003): 6.5%MustardSeedPeaceProject
People living with (2003): 920,000
Deaths (2003): 89,000
Total pop. literacy- 80.6%Literacy definition -age 15 and over can read and write English.
In 2007 MSPP expanded its work to the Lukulu District in the country of Zambia. The Lukulu District is located in the Western Province of the country a little over 370 miles from the capital city of Lusaka. Due to the remoteness of the district and the poverty in the country the needs are many. The lack of proper nutrition and the educational needs of the youth are the two areas which MSPP has chosen to focus our attention on.
January 2012 will mark the beginning of a new program in Zambia for Mustard Seed Peace Project. For the last few years we have been helping support a School Lunch Program at the Sancta Maria Mission in Lukulu, Zambia. While this program has been very successful our contacts on the ground expressed concern that due to the lack of funds students are dropping out of school at an alarming rate and giving up their dreams of an education. Keeping these students in school is paramount to helping reduce the illiteracy rate in the country and ending the problem of early marriage in the girls of Lukulu. For just $90.00 a year we can help these students reach their educational goals.
In October of 2011, we received a request from the parish in Lukulu for assistance in the development of an Education Scholarship Program. With the school year beginning in January we didn’t have much time to waste. At the October board meeting, MSPP’s board of directors approved the donation of$1,000.00 towards the first year of the Education Scholarship Program. We have since, through the support of our generous donors raised enough money to support the education of 24 youth.
The parish in Lukulu is run by 3 priests who are members of the religious order, The Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The associate parish priest will be in charge of overseeing the choosing of the recipients and the distribution of funds to the respective schools. The recipients will be chosen by the team of priests according to their needs. The team will dialogue with the parents or guardians of the student to see how they have managed in the past and why they are now seeking assistance. This information is then taken to the community where the family resides and is verified by members of the community who know them. They will also collaborate with the school authorities who keep a list of the students who struggle to pay school fees.
To participate in the program the students are required to sign a contract. By signing this contract the student agrees to regular class attendance and they will be expected to pass exams at the end of the term. They will also agree to do small jobs around the school and church during the school holidays. This is to impart in them the value that someone worked hard for the funds that they are receiving for their education. Good performance will imply continued support. Mustard Seed will in turn receive financial reports and performance updates.
In December of 2006, the Mustard Seed Peace Project received a request for assistance from Sr. Pat Hanvey, IVBM. Sr. Pat is the coordinator of a Home Base Care Program in Lukulu, Zambia. As a direct response to this request, in January of 2007 MSPP officially expanded it work area to include the country of Zambia. In Zambia, the lack of proper prenatal care and sound nutrition during pregnancy often causes malnourishment of the mothers. This coupled with the fact that most births take place in unhygienic village surroundings leads to a high maternal mortality rate leaving undernourished infants without mothers. These babies are being cared for by extended families that are unable to meet their own basic needs. Also, with the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Zambia many infants are left with mothers who are too sick and malnourished to breast feed or are orphaned by mothers who have contracted this disease.
In an effort to address this situation Sr. Pat has organized a Milk Program. This milk program provides 50-60 at-risk infants with infant formula to help give them a sound nutritional start on life. The program is administered by a team of 20 Home Based Care volunteers. These volunteers also serve as the “eyes” in the community identifying those in need of care.
The babies and infants are provided with milk on a weekly basis. The guardians are required to bring the babies to the children’s clinic at the hospital for monthly weighing and monitoring of their health. Detailed records are kept of the milk distribution and the progress of each child.
Due to the remoteness of Lukulu, infant formula is not available there and must be purchased in Lusaka which is about 370 miles away. The cost of providing formula and transportation of the formula for 50 infants for one year is $10,000.00. MSPP along with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has provided the funds needed for the first year of this project.
School Lunch Program
The Sancta Maria Mission lies along the banks of the Zambezi River in the Lukulu District in the Western Province of the country of Zambia. It was established in 1936 by Fr. Phelem O’Shea, a Capuchin priest. Placing education (especially the education of the girl-child) high in their priorities the Capuchins began building schools in Lukulu. In 1984, due to a shortage of personnel the Capuchins pulled out of Zambia leaving the Sancta Maria Mission in the hands of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI’s) who with the help of the Parish Council still today manage the needs of the people there.
In 2008, MSPP responded to a request from the OMI’s and the parish council of the Sancta Maria Mission to help establish a school lunch program. The goal of the School Lunch Program is to provide 130- 150 students at the St Columba’s Secondary School Lukulu, Zambia with lunch and in some instances, breakfast. The school is a day school for both boys and girls grade 8-12, run by the Christian Brothers on behalf of the Sancta Maria Mission. The students who attend
the school travel from neighboring villages some of which are as far as 100 miles away. The students must then depend on relatives who live in Lukulu to house them during the week. Those who are orphaned or do not have relatives living in Lukulu are forced to rent huts on the outskirts of town which have no running water, electricity or proper security. This leaves them (especially the girls) particularly vulnerable and without the resources needed to provide themselves with nutritious meals. This in turn can impede their ability to learn. This program is monitored by the parish council at the Sancta Maria Mission in Lukulu, Zambia.
The School Lunch Program is a collaborative effort of MSPP, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Christian Brothers and the Parish council at the Sancta Maria Mission to bring peace through justice to a small group of youth by addressing their need for proper nutrition. The program is being monitored and supervised by the parish council of the mission. They will receive reports on the academic success and physical progress of each child benefitting from the program.
Each child will also be given the opportunity to communicate their feelings about the program to the parish council. Finally, there will be detailed reports on how the money is being spent supported by lunch receipts and payment vouchers.
In 2009, this program was funded through fundraising events, private donations and partnerships created with two other non-profit organizations, Chefs for Humanity and All for Africa. “Chefs for Humanity is an alliance of culinary professionals working in partnership with U.S. and global organizations to provide nutrition education, hunger relief and humanitarian aid to reduce hunger in the world.” This organization was founded by celebrity Iron Chef, Cat Cora. “All for Africa is a 501(c)(3) non –profit organization that serves as a platform for individuals, corporations and other organizations to actively get involved in, design and coordinate economically sustainable projects in Africa”
In 2010, we received funding from the Angela Merici Fund to help us with our commitment to improving the lives of the youth at the mission.
MSPP believes that by working together and sharing our vision, we can maximize the impact of our individual goals and missions.
When MSPP found out that the only text books the students at the Sancta Maria Mission had were notes taken by previous students we set out to find a solution to this problem. Out of the simple question, “What do you do with your old text books?” a resource library was born. A small room at the mission was designated as the library and donations of books from Evangelical School located in Godfrey, IL and Godfrey Recycling were well received by the teachers and students at the mission. We will continue to collect children’s books, resource books and old textbooks to ship to Zambia. Our hope is to create a culture of reading in the youth of that country.