grassroots

Sr. Immaculatas Dream Begins

by Marsha Winsryg

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Sr. Immaculata, founder of the Mpekala Project which trains rural Zambian women in the growing and economic uses of sisal, has documented the initial phase of the planting some sisal fields.

She has photographed the new fields and the women are planning to create more fields when the rains come.

Meanwhile, as the first crops grow, the women will learn how to make various items, like baskets, bags and floor mats, from a skilled artisan.

Because sisal needs very little rain to grow it will be a dependable source of material for this purpose and can bring much needed income into these outlying areas and sustain the women and their families.

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 Sister Immaculata, Livingstone, Zambia

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Women Helping Women

by Marsha Winsryg

Zambian mothers of disabled=These are the women of the God Given Gift Group. They are mothers and grandmothers of disabled children who attend the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Center in Livingstone, Zambia.In two year’s time they have grown into a true cooperative sharing the work and profits from the sales of their Zambezi dolls and crocheted bags. With money in their bank account they have loaned to each woman enough to start a small business, paid back with a small interest, effectively running their own in house micro lending bank. Selling vegetables, charcoal, dried fish, or handmade  goods, they can now pay rent, clothe and feed their families and get basic medical care. We are all very proud of what they have accomplished.
It all started with the creation of the Zambezi Doll Project in 2010.

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Zambian Baskets and Congolese Kuba Cloth

The African Artists’ Community Development Project will be hosting an International Craft Bazaar at the Grange Hall on Tuesday, August 3, from12  to 4.

On sale will be baskets, jewelry, carvings, textiles from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana and Niger. All profits benefit the indigenous people of these countries, including orphaned and disabled children. For information: Marsha Winsryg,  508 693 4059

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Zambian women working for Zambian women and children

Franciscan Sisters Dedicate to Education, Healing and Empowerment

The African Artists Community Development Project, my small non-profit, has been sending money to the Mama Bakhita Center for Disabled Children for nine years and I have visited them four times. Each time I come away with a sense of what it means to serve your community as a way of life.

“A Franciscan Sister is committed to evangelising God’s people through education,healing and empowering. She serves the vulnerable, aware especially of the needs of women and girls.”

The Sisters I have met through the years, beginning with the late and beloved Sister Michael Lungu, have inspired me with their calm and tenacious devotion to the neediest people. At the Mama Bakhita Center live four of these women. Sister Agnes is the head and oversees the operation of the Center, with it’s school and theraputic programs. Sister Francesca is a trained physiotherapist and works with the children there. Sister Gwendolyn spends each day at the AIDS clinic run by the larger group, the Little Sisters of Saint Francis. And Sister Bernadette keeps the books for them.

Other Sisters in the same area run a day care center, a school lunch program for the highschool, a sex workers support group that assists with vocational training  and medical attention for those who want it. These are Zambian women, not missionaries from another country, who quietly work to support their world.

So we work to support them.

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