The Story of Maranatha Community
The remote community of Maranatha faces many challenges including a lack of health care and education. There is one government school in the surrounding area and those school-aged children whose families can afford the tuition must travel 10km to get there. In 2007, seeing the situation of his community, Mr. Simukonda, a local pastor, had a vision to bring change. He partnered with local church members who shared his vision of a community coming together to support vulnerable children by giving them an education. Maranatha Community School was born. Taught by volunteers, it offered an opportunity to receive education in a loving environment to those who would otherwise go without.
Children currently supported: 65
Number of Care Workers: 16
Distance from Luanshya Local Office: 40 km
Basic Services Started: 2010
In 2010, Hands at Work partnered with the Community School, sharing the vision for the local church to care for the children who were the ‘poorest of the poor’. Through this partnership, the school evolved into Maranatha Community Based Organisation (CBO), coordinated by Jack Sinkala. He has worked to involve the 3 community churches in Maranatha to create a team of volunteers. Hands at Work then introduced the importance of home visits to Maranatha CBO and consequently Jack’s team of Care Workers began visiting homes twice each week.
Visiting orphaned and vulnerable children in their homes is the foundation of everything Hands at Work does. Community volunteers, who regularly visit the children build up strong relationships enabling them to support each child physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This also helps them to accurately assess each child’s needs and make a plan for how to best intervene and provide sustainable care for them.
Maranatha CBO also runs its own farm as well as making and selling clay bricks. The funds from these income generating activities (IGAs) go to supporting Care Workers as well as funding the efforts to bring food, basic education and basic health care to the most vulnerable children. “God will give us the wisdom and knowledge to make a change in our area,” Jack says. “We are asking for continued prayers for the Care Workers and our CBO.”
The Care Workers in Maranatha identified the need to open a second Care Point in the community of Katetaula, because of the distance many children were travelling to Maranatha CBO each day. The decision was made to create a separate CBO in Katetaula, with its own group of Care Workers and children. Care Workers from Maranatha walked with and invested heavily into new Care Workers in Katetaula, who began feeding children in April of 2015. As they served the Care Workers in Katetaula, so the Service Centre leaders have invested in the Maranatha Care Workers who are striving towards deeper levels of local community ownership in their care of the most vulnerable.
Four-year-old Biso* lives with his aunt and three other siblings following the death of both parents in 2011. Biso’s aunt struggles to provide basic essentials of food, clothing and blankets for the family, and her house is in poor condition as well. Since being identified by his Care Worker, CBO Coordinator Jack, Biso not only receives a hot nutritious meal at the CBO every day, but support and encouragement through their relationship and visits.
The Hands at Work office in Luanshya currently supports eight 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 Maranatha. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.