The Sisters of Saint Francis and the Mama Bakita Center

by Marsha Winsryg

Zambian mother and child

Zambian mother and child

The Mama Bakhita Center started in 1996 as a home with fifteen children with different physical and mental disabilities. Today the Center has 147 registered children.

Their services include physiotherapy, special education, outreach programs, medical referrals, a nutritional program, life skills and adult education in the care of these children. Every week children are taken to Lusaka for free medical services at the Italian hospital there.

They do all of this badly needed work on a shoestring budget.

Each day new cases present themselves, many of whom must be turned away. The need for The Mama Bakhita Center’s services is ever present and they are always looking for ways to increase their level of support.

Next March, 2014, the AACDP is planning a service learning tour to the Mama Bakhita Center in Livingstone, Zambia. If you have always wanted to see Africa but did not know how to go about planning a trip, come with us! Experience Africa beyond tourism.

100% of the profit from the tour will go to supporting the Mama Bakhita  Center. Their guest house can lodge up to 10 people. Send your email to with “Service Tour” in the subject line and we’ll keep you posted.

Or you can make a life-changing donation today.

Here are the stories of three  children:

mama bakhita center child

Maureen Musungu

Maureen Musungu was born with a cleft palate. Because of this she was unable to nurse as an infant and was slowly starving. Fortunately, the mission hospital in the remote Kazugula district where her family lived referred them to the Mama Bakhita Center when Maureen was three months old. The Sisters were able to convince the family to allow the baby to be operated on at the Italian hospital in Lusaka. The operation was a success and the baby is able to eat and put on weight.

zambian disabled=

Julius Siamate is from Mukuni Village, a large traditional village near Livingstone where wood carvers have been working since the 1300s. Julius lost both of his parents to AIDS at 17 years old. He has struggled with severely clubbed feet all his life. Unable to wear shoes, this shy boy rarely attends school. The Mukuni community did not trust hospitals or the big city six hours away and discouraged him from going with Sr. Agnes of the Mama Bakhita Center. Nonetheless, his first foot was repaired and he is scheduled for the second operation next month. He has resumed his education at Mukuni Basic School.

zambian disabled=

George Chilwalo grew up being teased by his peers because one of his legs was shorter than the other.

George was assessed at the Mama Bakhita Center and taken to Lusaka where he was fitted for a raised

shoe. This simple solution allowed George to play normally and he is back in school.

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