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
coordinator name: Elias and mary
Distance from Luanshya Local Office: 60 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), and was 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 Holy 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.
Over the last year, there has been a challenge of healthy leadership among the Care Workers at Maranatha CBO. The Luanshya Local Office team have been committed to investing into the Care Workers and setting a good example of what it means to holistically care for the most vulnerable. In 2018, Elias Soko was identified by the Care Workers as the coordinator of the CBO and Mary as the vice coordinator. Already, the Luanshya Local Office team have seen the fruit of the new leadership and are encouraged by the new life and momentum that Elias and Mary are bringing to the Care Point and the other Care Workers.
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.