The Story of Chisamba Community
Local Pastor, Peter Mulenga, encountered the Hands at Work vision in 2001 when George Snyman, founder of Hands at Work, mentored him in what it means to be a Care Worker. In 2003, Peter felt called to Chisamba and was shocked by the devastation that the HIV/AIDS epidemic was having on the community. Having been neglected as a child himself, the suffering Peter saw touched him deeply and he knew he must act immediately. In 2006, with the support of Hands at Work, Peter cast the vision to his local church: to see them unite as Christ’s body to care for the community’s most vulnerable children. His passion spurred on local Christians to volunteer and they started doing home visits. Today, there are 17 Care Workers from several churches dedicating their time to serve the most vulnerable children in Chisamba.
Children currently Supported: 150
Number of Care Workers: 35
Coordinator Name: HAPPY
Distance from Kabwe Local Office: 115 km
Basic Services Started: 2013
Chisamba Community Based Organisation, in partnership with Hands at Work, also started a Community School in 2007 operating out of a local church. This school is bridging the gap for local children who cannot afford the school fees of a government school. Run by three volunteers, the school provides basic education for three to seven year olds. In order to address the most essential needs of an orphaned or vulnerable child in the Chisamba community, Hands at Work provides one nutritious meal to each child everyday. Chisamba CBO began providing the 3 essential services of food security, health care and education to 50 children in 2013. This number increased to 100 children in 2014.
Chisamba is a farming community and therefore heavily reliant on good rainfall to produce a decent crop. For the second consecutive year, the poor rainfall has led to an extreme drought crisis and many families do not have enough food. However, children are being cared for by the loving Care Workers through the provision of food, education and healthcare, including home visits.
Over the past year, Chisamba CBO has gone through a transitional period, as the previous coordinator, Peter, and his wife Cecilia, have stepped into new roles, now serving with the team making up the Kabwe local office. Care Worker Happy has willingly stepped up into the position of CBO Coordinator. With the support of the Kabwe local office and under the discipleship of Peter and Cecilia, Happy is steadily growing into his role, and the leadership of the CBO continues to be healthy. This is an exciting step for the Kabwe region, as Peter and Cecilia’s knowledge and skills will greatly benefit the local office and all the surrounding communities it serves.
Elizabeth* lives with her mother but they both suffer from complex health challenges. The stigma of these have forced Elizabeth out of school. She should be in grade 8 but has not attended for some time. Elizabeth’s Care Worker is Doreen. She is helping Elizabeth cope physically with her health challenges, and she aims to get her back to school soon. Most importantly, Doreen is also providing love and care for a young girl who recently admitted having faced rejection, even by members of her own family.
The Hands at Work office in Kabwe currently supports six Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Chisamba. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.