The Story of MISWA 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 the area of Miswa and was moved by the impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic had on the children. Having been neglected as a child himself, the suffering Peter saw touched him deeply and he knew he must act immediately. He walked in the nearby community of Miswa and recognised that he needed to challenge the church there. So in 2007, with the support of Hands at Work, he cast the vision to the local church in Miswa: to see them unite as Christ’s body to care for the community’s most vulnerable children.
Children currently supported: 50
Number of Care Workers: 22
Coordinator Name: daniel
Distance from Local Office: 125 km
Basic Services Started: 2015
Miswa is a rural community, with little access to government facilities. As a result of Peter’s effort, the community decided they could start a school and in 2008, Mutaba Community School began. Initially the children and teachers met under a tree, but with the community’s help, a thatched classroom was built. As the school grew, the community then built a more permanent structure but could not afford a roof. In 2010, a Hands at Work partner blessed the community by building and finishing the roof of the school. From humble beginnings, with just a nursery class, the school now provides for grades 1-6. The school is meeting the needs of a basic education for all 50 children in Miswa CBO.
Clean water is hard to come by and people must walk long distances to collect water from a shallow well. A low rainfall in Zambia for the second year, has led to a poor harvest in rural Miswa. Food shortages are commonplace and many families struggle to know where their next meal will come from. Not only is food a challenge to come by, but clean water is virtually inaccessible, and water-borne illnesses are increasing. These issues have had an impact on other challenges the people in Miswa already face on a daily basis. Some families harvested as little as one 50 kilogram bag of maize – not nearly enough to carry them through the next year. Work is very limited, and people are travelling to other towns and villages to find anything to sustain them.
As a result of the drought, Care Workers are faced with the difficult decision of needing to find work to support their own families and adequately care for the children. As a result, some Care Workers have not been consistent in their involvement with the CBO and Holy Home Visits have been affected. The Care Workers who are committed, however, stand stronger than ever in their calling to continue serving the most vulnerable, no matter the surrounding difficulties.
Daniel* lives with his mother, Grace, and grandmother, Lister. They struggle every day, especially when it comes to food. For Daniel, 10 years old, receiving a daily hot, nutritious meal at the Miswa Care Point is a lifeline. Daniel is loved by his family, and by his Care Worker, Catherine. She visits Daniel in his home every week and seeks to provide for his needs and support him as he grows up.
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 Miswa. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.