My husband Graeme and I visited GMP Associate Partner Arising Life Ministries in Ndola, Zambia for six weeks in 2014. This was our third visit! The long-term plan for Arising Life Ministries is to have a self-sufficient Prep-Grade 12 school with its own farm, vegetable garden, and vocational training centre. Hartwell Church of Christ partnership has seen many developments over the years meeting the needs of the Ndola community. Here is a quick snapshot.
Hartwell previously raised money to purchase 4-hectares of land for a new school-emergency accommodation-farm compound and a ute for transportation. Land theft can occur frequently so it is important to create proper boundaries. During our visit Graeme helped dig fencepost holes on the land and the fencing is more or less complete now in 2015. The building initiatives have included a caretaker residence, an addition of a large kitchen area so meals can be prepared undercover and work has recently started on a two-bedroom house to provide a room for a teacher and emergency accommodation for vulnerable children. This has provided opportunity for some caretakers to be employed on the land whenever possible, and many learning dressmaking and given literacy training to increase employability.
Arising Life Ministries is known to be an environment of love and care. When a child in the community has been abused, many people will choose to find refuge at Arising Life rather than going to the local police or clinic. From this safe place further legal or medical action can be arranged. There are about 80% of students attending school who are HIV positive; the farm provides high protein food for the children who are on antiretroviral drugs. At the moment the land is growing maize, groundnuts and some vegetables, which is easing the cost of feeding the children. What we also found during our visit was an increase in children’s attendance at the school from 35 students in 2012 to 94 students in 2014. A friend of mine who is an experienced primary school teacher joined us on the visit to give some in-service training to the very good teachers at the school. The kids who were antisocial & illiterate when we first met them, are now in grade 6, speak English well, and are being educated at a very good level. These children can now look forward to getting good jobs!
Hartwell Church of Christ is so very, very grateful to COCOA and all its help over the last few years supporting Arising Life Ministries. It is helping us to make a massive difference.
Merryl Blair, Victoria
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