"Aussies Make A World of Difference In Zambia"

17/09/2010

Father Bernard Makadani Zulu
Father Bernard Makadani Zulu, Zambia’s National Director of Catholic Mission.

Catholic Mission donors in Australia are making a big impact in the life of the Church in Zambia, one of Africa’s poorest countries, where infections of HIV/AIDs in areas can be as high as one in five people.

“Our pastoral initiatives are beyond what we can manage,” Catholic Mission Zambia National Director Father Bernard Makadani Zulu said.

“Donations through Catholic Mission assist us incredibly. Catholic Mission has been a reliable friend to all of the bishops of Zambia and we are extremely grateful for the positive impact this makes on the people of our nation.”

Father Bernard is on his first trip to Australia to thank Catholic Mission donors and promote awareness of World Mission Month in October.

As part of his stay, Father Bernard is in Tamworth today, Friday 17 September, to thank the students of McCarthy Catholic College whose walkathon in early September raised $25,000 towards building The Mary Queen of Peace Parish School in Kalikiliki settlement in Lusaka, Zambia.

The school for 300 students will be the first to be built in this impoverished community.

McCarthy College funds will be enough to complete the school’s fit out, including laying cement floors, installing an electric generator and water pump, fitting windows and painting walls. In a settlement without any infrastructure, the new school is a symbol of pride and hope the future.

Reflecting reality

Zambia is one of the poorest nations in Africa, with more than 68 per cent of children living below the poverty line. Of a population of 12 million, 56 per cent live in rural areas and survive on subsistence farming and fishing.

Zambia also suffers one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa. HIV/AIDS in Zambia does not discriminate between men, women or children.

Father Bernard said the Church’s role has been to provide as many pastoral services as possible.

“In Zambia we say you are either HIV infected or affected. The Church reflects this reality,” Father Bernard said.

The Church takes a pastoral approach to the disease and its many social consequences - the caring of the sick and dying, the health awareness education of the young, and the housing and education of orphans.

“The wonderful thing is that now with a new generation of generic medicines HIV/AIDS is now longer a death sentence. People can now live constructive lives.

Father Bernard said that through the support of Catholic Mission, the Church has been able intervene in a multitude of cases.

“Often a child is not orphaned but their parents are too sick to support them. They live with their grandparents who are willing but too old to support them, so we have developed in-home care programs that provide medicines and support that allows the child to continue going to school and live a productive life,” Father Bernard said.

“We could not do this with the support of Catholic Mission donors. This is the kind of constructive work that we thank our friends in Australia for.”


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