Guest Blog By Betty K Chilufya*
Reading is a beautiful town in the South East of England in which a hive of community activities take place throughout the year. This year, 2015, the Mumba Children’s Project (MCP) in conjunction with the CancerSupport Network of Zambia (CSNZ), will be hosting a charity Easter Ball at the Hilton Hotel, Reading, on the April 11, 2015. The money raised at this event will be equally shared by the two charities.
The MCP based in Mpongwe, Zambia, was initiated by Hildah Mulenga in memory of her 13 year old son who was tragically killed after being run down by a car while riding a bike. This incident occurred shortly after the family had moved to Southend-on-Sea, in Essex in the United Kingdom.
The MCP functions as a children’s day care learning centre. Children include orphans being looked after by grandparents and extended families while the rest are from impoverished families who need a lot of assistance as there are no social benefits in Zambia.
|Some of the children that helped by the Mumba Children's Project.|
Their mission is to acknowledge that every child matters and no child is born to die. They strive to give children in their care, basic needs which include education, clothing, shelter, safe playing environment and a nutritional balanced diet.
Apart from caring for the children, the centre empowers the youth with life sustaining skills such as carpentry. In September this year, a group of Mosaic artists from the UK will be traveling to Mpongwe to teach the youth Mosiac art. It is hoped after being taught this amazing skill, they will be able to start their own profitable business. In the same group will be an experienced aroma therapist who will teach the women on reflexology and aromatherapy. The MCP also offers material support to the adults especially with literacy classes and help in looking after their children. This charity is registered both in Zambia and the UK.
The CSNZ was founded by Doreen Mwenya Grant based in the USA and is a breast cancer survivor. It was launched in October 2011 in Zambia and has its headquarters in Kitwe. It aims to educate the public on cancer, advocate for better health and inspire people with its stories of hope.
The organisation is committed to helping strengthen the mental and physical capacity of cancer patients in order for them to fight their way back to health. It gives hope by building and sustaining strong peer facilitated support groups, educational forums that empower people affected by cancer and give inspiration for a life beyond the cancer experience. Currently it offers support to cervical, breast and prostate cancer patients.
CSNZ is always thankful with the commitment made by donors for supporting their efforts in making strides towards eradicating cancer in Zambia. The vision of the Board of Directors and the Planning Committees is to reach as many communities as possible with life-saving information, provide training forums and challenge lawmakers.
In 2013, a public appeal was made to CSNZ by Chief Chiwala of Masaiti District to sensitise and screen women on breast and cervical cancer. A team of advocates and health care professionals screened hundreds of women for breast and cervical cancer. The event was such a success that it received national media attention.
Women that were found to have signs or symptoms of cancer, received written referrals for specialised screening at district hospitals. A vehicle was rented to transport the advocates and nurses to and from Ndola Rural, who were able to provide printed educational materials, organise forums and basic screening equipment.
Some patients were provided with transport to and from the Cancer Diseases Hospital, Lusaka, where they received mammograms or pap tests. This activity was made possible by the support from various donors from around the globe.
It is also important to mention that all the CSNZ advocates are all volunteers and are not reimbursed for their time or effort. Despite the many challenges, the CSNZ continue to grow as an organization, and its partnerships with its sponsors is vital to the success of eradicating cancer in Zambia.
At CSNZ’s launch in 2011, a group of women from Mpongwe attended the gala at Edinburgh Hotel in Kitwe and one of them was a breast cancer patient who received support and participated in the walk with the then First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba Sata.
Cervical Cancer Treatment
Currently there are women from Mpongwe who are undergoing cervical cancer treatment at Ndola Central Hospital with the help and support of CSNZ. Mumba Children’s Project has and continues to use the services offered by the CSNZ and therefore feel obliged to plough back funding into the Network. It is for this reason that MCP will share the funds raised at the charity event with CSNZ.
Currently, the MCP are building three classrooms with the support of various donor groups based in the UK.
With the money raised from the charity ball, they plan to buy desks and other school stationary. There are also future plans to complete a library and make it a resource centre for the youth. For the CSNZ, it is hoped that the funds raised will help to equip a gynaecological ward at Kitwe Central Hospital, Zambia that has been allocated to them.