LAST weekend, beneficiaries of the Ludewa Development Foundation (LUDEFO) established the Ludewa Cooperative Academic Movement (LUCAM) to unite Ludefo beneficiaries in concerted effort to develop Ludewa District.
"The goal of the movement is to encourage and inspire Ludefo beneficiaries to take active role in development of their district," LUCAM Chairperson, Mr Ditram Willa, told the 'Daily News on Saturday.'
Mr Willa said graduates were sponsored by the foundation to acquire education in schools and higher institutions of learning had a chance to initiate different development schemes, basically agricultural projects. "The movement will be an ideal vehicle to bring together all beneficiaries," he said.
He also mentioned promotion of cultural tourism, saying LUCAM plans to construct a recreational centre to accommodate tourists visiting the district. The movement will also be providing tour guides to raise funds for its very existence.
According to Ludefo Chairman, Mr Basil Anthon Saprapasen, the foundation has educated about 3,200 students from low income families at different education levels since the foundation's establishment in 1975. "We have been on the field for over 30 years developing the remote district, initially in education, health and community based economic activities, with the aim of promoting an economic sustainability."
However, the region has been hard hit by HIV/ AIDS and that is a setback to our efforts," said Mr Saprapasen. Ludefo works in the remote district of Ludewa where it extends social services to orphans living in the isolated areas.
The foundation runs a school and centre for children with disability named Mundindi. The centre also accommodates mentally retarded children and those with impaired vision, hearing, the numb and other physical disabilities. A total of 58 children from the district are catered for at the centre which provides them with education and general upkeep.
The school and centre was established in 1995 by an Italian medical volunteer Doctor Bulli. On his departure, he resolved to leave the centre in good hands of Ludefo. The latter then gave the centre full support by recruiting a headmistress and matrons as well as provide food to the children.
Ludefo made sure the centre had sufficient amenities for it to conduct its activities in a conducive environment. A few basic facilities were bought and installed. These include: Solar power, beds, mattresses, blankets, bed sheets and furniture like desks, tables, chairs and teaching aids.
Mr David Haule who is the Ludefo Student Coordinator and Financial Director, pointed out that at the time the foundation was being established, the district had only one secondary school named Ulayasi. Today, however, the district has five secondary schools, thanks to the Ludefo initiatives. "We recently handed over Madunda primary and secondary schools to the Ludewa town council," he noted.
He said the foundation has also financed construction of Lugarawa, Ludewa secondary schools and Masimbwe Technical and Secondary School. Since 1985, the foundation has had opportunity to work with volunteers from Italia, Spain and America.
"We work together in projects like education, health, poverty alleviation; community based economic activities including SACCOS, water projects and the fight against AIDS," Mr Saprapasen said. Adding that Ludefo is supported by the Christian Churches both locally and in Germany, although the German GTZ Organization does assist them with transportation of aid materials from the country only.
Also the organisation has received support from Canada, Ireland and occasionally United Kingdom. "All these countries support our projects with materials like school books, hospital equipment; small project working tools, educational scholarships and essential drugs. Ludefo on the other-hand has solicited funds from well-wishers and donors for purchasing of needed components in the projects.
The Ludewa District Hospital has also been extensively supported by Ludefo with Hospital Medical Equipment, Hospital facilities like beds, mattresses, blankets and bed sheets. Ludefo is supporting various community based initiatives in the establishment of the Saving and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs), economic projects like farming, gardening, tree planting and environment.
The foundation runs Lugarawa Centre for disable adults which houses about 80 adult disabled persons in Ludewa district. The disabilities range from impaired vision, hearing, speech and talking, as well as deformed limbs, mental retardation, hunchbacks caephosis and enlarged heads hydro-cepheras.
The centre was established to gather all the disabled persons of Ludewa District and put them in an economic income generating activity. Ludefo supported the centre with sewing machines, weaving machines, leather working machines and tools. Ludefo went further to provide the centre with a building and a kitchen so that the disabled would offer overnight accommodation and food to transit traffic.
This became Ludefo's success story, until the centre was robbed off all its assets by the manager then. Ludefo has restarted the centre and put it under the capable management of Catholic Nun Sister Patricia Migodella OSB. The centre has been re-railed into viable economic activities.
The centre is manufacturing very beautiful high quality and colourful clay bead. It is yet to be refitted with the sewing, weaving and leather machines for which the disabled are competent.
Ludefo was established by joint efforts between local residents of Ludewa itself and German Christian Youths who wanted to strengthen relationships between the two people in 1928 when the first missionaries came into the area and introduced Christianity. But more than anything else the aim was to develop the extremely remote District of Ludewa.