9 November 2012

Zambia: Jubilee Centre Changing Lives of Needy Families

A sixteen-year-old girl of Ndola, Bertha Katoka, her siblings and her widowed mother of Chifubu Township have been empowered through the compassion of the churches and Jubilee Centre together. Jubilee Centre, being a Christian-based organisation and working through churches in three different networks, offers support to those in need of it in society.

The teenager and her family had a house built for them because it appeared that they were vulnerable.

Providing them with an opportunity of unseen potential was an act of compassion and selflessness by the two organisations, along with their donor Ridgepoint Community Church who sponsored the construction works and many others of the same nature.

"We do not necessarily target orphans, we target vulnerable families like Bertha's. However, orphans do hold top priority." says Japo Mbetwa.

Bertha and her family of five were living in a small house not fit for the comfort of a handful of people until the intervention of Jubilee Centre and the Church that spotted the helplessness of young Bertha.

Bertha is the direct beneficiary of a four-bedroom house being the older child in her family. She was spotted by the Apostolic Pentecostal Revival Church who then communicated her needs to Jubilee Centre and the actions were henceforth taken.

Bertha's mother, Esther has been a widow for 11 years and in order to support and provide for her five children, the youngest being six years old. She sold fritters and sometimes washed dishes. However, her capital base has gone down and now she has to find another way in which to support her children.

One of her plans is to rent out the house that they are about to leave and use the rentals as her family's source of income.

"I'm feeling good about what they have given to me and my children," says Bertha's mother.

On the other hand, Bertha could clearly not describe how joyous she was. A huge smile spread across her face and she looked forward to owning the newly-built house which her family would move into in a couple of days as the finishing touches were completed.

Besides, Bertha has been sponsored to pursue her secondary school education by Jubilee Centre in conjunction with Ridgepoint Community Church.

However, she has to re-sit her examinations as she was out of school for a whole term due to other circumstances.

"One of the key issues of Jubilee Centre is that of poverty reduction," says Mr Mbetwa.

"We provide school fees for vulnerable children all the way up to tertiary levels, all we want is the best for those who deserve it but may not be able to achieve it by standing on their own."

Jubilee Centre has helped many vulnerable people. Thirty-two boreholes have been sank and over 30 houses have been built meant for the vulnerable in society basically to give them shelter.

However, it must be recognised that the centre will not provide these vulnerable or less fortunate with everything.

Jubilee Centre also helped to train teachers so that in the community and schools in townships such as Chifubu, Chibuluma and Chipulukusu.

The children will have a chance to access quality education.

"We want to take away the syndrome of dependence; we give these people the opportunity to start up and then from there it is our hope that they are able to stand on their own two feet," he said.

The concept of boreholes is centered on improving sanitation and hygiene because there is little or no reliable supply of water in many of these townships. The next concept that the boreholes are centered around is that of ownership,

"Giving people ownership will help them become more responsible and that is our intention," Mr Mbetwa said.

As well as providing the less fortunate and the vulnerable with sanitation and hygiene mediums such as boreholes and houses, the Jubilee Centre also has other main concerns to which they wish to offer help.

They tackle critical areas such as HIV/AIDS, school feeding programmes, and poverty reduction.

"The aim at the centre is to not only teach spirituality but also to educate society about hygiene, agriculture, as a means for them to economically stand on their own," he said.

Bertha and her family are not the only ones to have received such compassion and assistance from the Jubilee Centre.

There are many others who have felt this heart-warming experience as well.

Mr Mbetwa believes that the reason behind this assistance and this care for the vulnerable is that society needs to know that no matter what circumstances they encounter or how fortunate or unfortunate they are. They are all brothers and sisters who need equal opportunities to prosper and live a beneficial lives.

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