Below is a description of Kabutus work in Kandabwe, how Grace of God services came about and what he hopes to achieve. (written in 2013) Kabutu works tirelessly for the group, does ‘piece work’ as a guard to ensure he himself keeps a roof over his head, otherwise his time is spent promoting Grace of God to the local community. He receives no payment for this at all. All money donated is for the benefit of those within Kandabwe.
May 2018 and Kabutu has been expanding the service he provides through the volunteers. A local business man in Kitwe has improved the Shelter and they have at times more regular food provision. He now has a dedicated website for Grace of God which is http://kabutukabutu.com/ for you to see more. Many thanks for reading my blog.
Now in 2017 and Kabutu has extended the help he provides to the grandchildren of the elderly. He was aware that these grandchildren were not being provided for by either food or education. Through working with local businesses he has been able to expand to include these children and Jane the project leader at Play4All in Kamatipa now has some teaching sessions there. You will find more pictures from Kandabwe below the description of how Grace of God services began. Thank you for reading this page and may God bless you. Moira
I am Kabutu Kabutu, a Zambian male aged 28 years. I completed my senior secondary school in 2004 where I achieved a school certificate. From 2004 to 2008 I worked on the family farm. In 2009 I sponsored myself to commence a diploma course in social work at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation (M.E.F.); the school which was founded in 1958 in Mindolo Township in Kitwe. M.E.F is an interdenominational centre that serves as a place of worship, study, consultation and reconciliation. I achieved my diploma by working at night as a security guard and studying during the day.
As part of my course in 2011 in my attachment programme I completed a small research project on the aged people in Kandabwe compound, Kitwe. During this study I discovered that a majority of the elders were living in abject poverty and without any social support. I was disturbed to see this and asked more question’s to discover why.
1. There is a misconception in Zambia that an aged person with grey hair will have been involved in witchcraft. As a result of this it has led to aged people in general in Zambia to be neglected by family members.
2. A report from the inter-regional information network states that the Zambian elderly population face a double jeopardy by either being shunned by family because they are aged or are burdened by caring for grandchildren orphaned by HIV/AIDS with little or no understanding of the disease. With the above reasons many of the aged in Kandabwe have been abandoned by their families. Therefore I was touched that something should be done to improve the wellbeing of the aged in Kandabwe but also in Zambia as a whole.
HOW THE WORK STARTED:
I discussed my findings with my lecturer, Dr Ann Nichols who was a visiting Professor from Arizona USA in 2011. She was also moved when she heard the story of the aged in Zambia. From then I have done my very best to continue to develop a programme for the aged in Kandabwe. At the same time one of the community members gave us the use of his back yard to hold meetings and allow us to introduce the following programmes and activities.
1 Outreach programme: This is where our project officers and volunteers visit the aged to assess on how the elderly person is living and what their needs are. We also share the word of God at this time.
2 Simple life skills programme: Training our aged with simple life skills, like making baskets for their living.
3 Keep fit programmes: To aid better health, both physical and mental.
4 Food and materials distribution: To provide our aged on a monthly basis or according to a demonstrated need with food, soap and other necessary supplies.
We called the project the GRACE OF GOD SERVICES FOR THE VULNERABLE PEOPLE and have been meeting twice weekly; therefore, creating a platform of help through which we have been receiving in kind donations from local people, churches and well-wishers wanting to support our work with the aged. Our project is now registered with the government of Zambia as a non-governmental organisation.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR ZAMBIA. Zambia has a total population of 13 million. Zambia takes its name from the Zambezi River which forms most of its southern border. Zambia is one of the big countries in Africa covering about 751,614 square kilometres and found in tropical south – central Africa, that is about 10 to 18 degrees south of the equator. Zambia is a landlocked, surrounded by 8 other countries. It has many lakes and rivers and a railway that connects it to the seaports in Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Zambia experiences three types of seasons. The wet season is from late October to April; cold season from May to August and hot season from late August to the rainy season again in October.
Most people in Zambia are black African. Some live in rural areas where they build villages of grass roofed circular huts. Crops will be grown in nearby land and also cattle, goats, pigs and chickens for their produce and meat in order to sustain themselves. The development of mining has caused rural- urban migration where thousands of people have left these villages and moved to towns for employment.
Zambia’s staple food is Nshima, which is made from Maize meal. Crops are planted in November and December and harvested in April. Majority of Zambian children attend primary school, but just a few attend secondary schools, college and university. As a result there is high unemployment.
Most Zambians speak Bantu language. There are approximately 72 tribes, with the prominent ones being Bemba, Lozi, Tonga and Ngoni, with the official language being English. This makes for easier communication throughout Zambia. French is being introduced in many secondary schools.
KITWE. Kitwe is located in the Copperbelt Province. It is second in population to Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. In Kitwe we have two mining companies which are Mopani and Konkola copper mines. They are run by Chinese businesses. Very few local people are employed in these mining companies therefore many people in Kitwe are not in formal employment.
KANDABWE. According to Kitwe city council Kandabwe is one of the poorest compounds in Kitwe, with a population of 1,700. Most of the people are not in formal employment. There are two community schools for primary school age only, but no health facilities. Water supply is from two bore holes which are a 10- 15 minute walk away, carrying 20 litres of water on return. The road is a basic sand track which floods in the rainy season. There is no public transport servicing the compound. Houses in the compound are constructed from ‘burnt’ bricks. For most of the aged their roofing is plastic sheeting. They have no community facility suitable for use in improving their welfare.
PROBLEMS THE AGED PEOPLE FACE
• Most of them have been neglected by their family members.
• Most of their homes are only roofed in plastic bags, even with iron sheeting they get soaked during the rainy season.
• Some are homeless and as a result they are forced to sleep in a night club (tavern) after it closes for the night at midnight. (This was burned down in 2015 and they were sleeping in the open until a local mining company has helped with a new shelter. (Moira)
• The back yard that a local resident allows us to use to meet in is open which means in the rainy season we have no protection.
• From my research, most of them only eat a basic meal once per day.
• Many are burdened with caring for grandchildren because of HIV/AIDS
• Poor health with the nearest clinic being 30 minutes walk away.
• Poor dietary intake
• The back yard presently donated for our meetings.
• The churches that help us both spiritually and physically.
• Jenny Featherstone has been advising us on what we can do.
• Moira Lee has assisted us with money to buy foodstuffs.
• Dr Ann Nichols has returned to USA but continues to advise me.
• We have 7 volunteers who cook the weekly community meal for our aged.
• Myself as project manager
• Students from foreign colleges have visited to see what we do and also give advice and assistance.
WORK DONE SO FAR
• Setting up of a micro loan project
• Keep fit programme
• Weekly community meal
• Spiritual development through local pastors who preach regularly with most of our aged having received Jesus Christ as their personal saviour through the same meetings.
• Self-help group to encourage keep fit activities.
• Togetherness / support among the aged themselves.
• Creation of a local platform to the local people, churches and well-wishers to raise awareness and therefor receive the in kind donations from the above, groups.
• Land gifted to us for planting our own food.
• Harvest of 19, 50 kg bags of maize this year. Some will provide for the feeding programme, the remainder will be sold.
• Vegetables grown for groups own use.
We are a non-profit organisation sustaining all our programmes from the in-kind donations of well-wishers.
This year we went through a lot of challenges as an organisation. One of our aged died at the age of 69 years, so it was hard for us to do everything at the funeral house as we had no money to assist. Another of our aged got sick and was admitted to Kitwe central hospital. It was also our duty to provide items like food, water and bedding for the patient while in hospital.
According to what is written in our project proposal we hoped to provide a daily meal, but because of lack of resources we have only been able to provide the feeding programme on a weekly basis. We aim in the future to do this on a daily basis to accommodate those who do not have the power or the strength to prepare their own meal.
KEEP FIT PROGRAMME
On the keep fit programme we have done extremely well. We have diagrams (prepared by a visiting student) of simple exercises the aged can do which help them with balance and mobility. We have demonstrated these keep fit exercises at meetings so people can do them at home.
WAYS WE HAVE OVERCOME CHALLENGES
We overcame the challenges after personal sacrifice, the well-wishers and the churches came to our aid. All in all our community members’ played an important role; especially during the passing of our aged they donated two bags of Mealie meal. At the end of the day, though it was difficult, we managed to do our very best in all our challenges.
From the challenges that we passed through, it is clear that a consistent source of support, whether from well-wishers and churches, a donor agency or from an income-generating project we develop will help us plan and provide for the aged and widows more effectively. We have also learned that there is a great deal of interest in the local area in what is being done in Kandabwe and what we hope to do.
As an organisation we have recognised the need to have our own income generating project, which will provide regular funds to better plan and deliver our services to the vulnerable aged and widows in our community. The land gifted from a well-wisher and money given to purchase seed has allowed us to plant and harvest our first crop of maize which has yielded enough to provide a weekly meal for our aged and to sell providing income to the organisation. Our vegetable harvest was enough to provide for our group only.
LONG TERM PLAN
• To improve the health and wellbeing of our aged through planned programmes.
• Improve the perception of the value of our aged and widows long term.
• Improving the present houses where possible.
• Build new houses for the aged in Kandabwe.
• Provide more micro loans to encourage local enterprise.
• Increase the support and education we can provide through our services.
2017 and here is some update pictures from Kabutu
Through recent donations Kabutu was able to assist Mr Moongwa to replace his roof of plastic bags, rotten planks and stones with a new tin one, making Mr Moongwa ‘the happiest man in Kandabwe’.
Photos below from my trip in 2015.
Photos below are from 2012 to 2013