social welfare

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.


Tragedy Under A Mulberry Tree

by Marsha Winsryg

Winfridah Moomba, who lost both her children

Winnie Moomba lost both of her young sons, her mother and a nephew at 3pm on September 13th when a speeding car crashed into their house.

My friend Scholastica Siakakaba wrote to me with a terrible story of a struggling family who lost four members of their family when an out of control driver (drunk?) slammed into the grandmother and three of her grandchildren, killing them all. The grieving remnants of the family were helped by neighbors and friends to pay burial and other expenses and my friend and her brother are hosting some of the survivors until repairs can be made to their house.

Imagine losing your mother and your two children in a freak accident. Imagine being forced to quit school to find work when you are not sure what you are living for. And you were already  on the edge of survival.

Winnie’s mother was the main wage earner in an extended family of five grown daughters, four young grandchildren and two cousins.She had brought home a load of charcoal to sell the next day and she had bought some small cakes for her grandchildren. They were sitting under the mulberry tree next to the house eating the cakes when a car barreled up the road from town and collided into the house  killing everyone seated there. Only one grandchild escaped with her life because she had run into the house to show her mother the treat that grandmother had brought .

What remains of the Moomba's house

Four needless deaths

Please help me raise money to help this broken family continue their schooling and start to earn a living.

John and Consiglia, the cousins,  have plans to buy used shoes for resale and several of the daughters would like to continue their studies. We can’t erase their grief but we can help them pick up the pieces of their lives.

Thank you.


Cross cultural craft event

Zambian-American joint quilt raises money for devastated family in Livingstone, Zambia

100 tickets, $10 a ticket.

We are raffling the quilt to raise money for the Moomba family in Livingstone, Zambia, who lost their mother and three grandchildren when a speeding car ran them over and crashed into their home.

This beautiful quilt began in Lusaka where the craft women there sewed panels of daily life. The panels were pieced and quilted on Martha’s Vineyard by women of the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury and other friends in the community.

Please, buy tickets. Call 508 693 4059 and ask for Marsha.

We can’t bring back their loved ones but we can help them rebuild their  house, continue their education, start a small second-hand shoe business and perhaps pay for a lawyer to find the man who is responsible. Without money there is no justice for the poor.


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.