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Archives September 2019

No Food No Education: Lusubilo’s School Feeding Programme Promoting Education

By Tilekeni Kaunda

Lusubilo Community Based Programmes in partnership with Catholic Relief Services has been implementing school feeding program in Karonga Diocese through HOPE Project with support from Coppel Family in Mexico.

The project is supporting 43 primary schools, 3 secondary schools and 315 Community Based Child Care Centres (CBCCs) with Likuni Phala flour for porridge preparation. This year the project has reached out to more than 20,000 children with the provision of Likuni Phala.

School Feeding Programme keeping children in school
School Feeding Programme keeping children in school

The project comes in to curb the challenges that families face in sending children to school. Before the project, children would not go to school consistently because of lack of food in their homes or, sadly, they would go to school on empty stomach.  

Since Lusubilo started the program, there have been many positive outcomes in the supported schools. According to head teachers, the program has improved performance of learners since most of them don’t miss classes. Furthermore, it has increased learners’ retention at school. The provision of porridge at school has also reduced dropout rate.

Apart from improving nutrition and health, the project has also increased access to, and achievement in, education. It is also acting as an incentive for parents to consistently send their children to school.

In a similar program, Lusubilo also collaborates with Karonga Diocese’ Sunday School feeding intervention, which reaches to 28,992 children in a year in all parishes of Karonga Diocese.

Lusubilo is also working with these families, through its Sustainable Options Recommended for Testing program, in empowering them to cultivate enough food for their families.

Missionaries with Monsignor Chitete (5th from left) and Fr Mwakhwawa (6th) during the reporting session
Ad Gentes Missionaries Return From Their Fourth Missionary Journey

By Moses Raymond Kamanga

Reliving the Pauline missionary experience of planting and nurturing Christian communities to ‘the ends of the world’ Ad Gentes Missionaries, who have returned from their Fourth, Missionary Journey met at St Mary’s Parish to report on what the Lord has accomplished through them.

The review and planning meeting was graced by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete and the National PMS Director Father Vincent Mwakhwawa. Like the 72 that Jesus sent out two by two, though they did not perform spectacular signs, their journey is equally fruitful though not a walk-over.

One of the Missionaries to Tcharo (Seminarian Mwamulima) reporting on their mission

Of the many experiences, one breath taking include forming stable communities of converts most of whom are children expressing how hard it is to convert adults. Reacting to this, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete, said establishing a Church is not a one-day thing.

“Do not be let down by the adults’ slow pace to embrace the faith. Your joy should be in the increased number of children who come to Church because that’s the future Church.”

Fr Mwakhwawa (near), Monsignor Chitete (middle) and Fr Joseph Sikwese (far) listening to presentation during the review and planning meeting

In a separate interview, Monsignor Chitete expressed a word of gratitude for the missionary task which the Ad Gentes Missionaries have accomplished so far in preparation of the commemoration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month in October this year.

“We are short of words to God for what He has allowed us to achieve from the time we inaugurated the year of Missio Ad Gentes in February this year. We are happy with the increase in number of new converts, most of whom are children, and the increase in number of lapse Christians that have been reached so far.

Let this be a commitment of each and every Catholic Christian to take part in this as a way of fulfilling their baptismal promises they made with the Lord. Salvation has to be shared with others; it is not an individual affair,” concluded the Vicar General.

In his remarks, the National PMS Director, who came to grace the third reporting session, applauded the Diocese of Karonga for taking this unique approach in preparation for the Extraordinary Missionary Month. approach in preparation for the commemorate the Missio Ad Gentes month.

“Many Dioceses in the country have taken different approaches on the same but Karonga’s approach is very unique and bold. Sending Lay Christians to evangelise to fellow Christians sounds impossible yet very possible when commitment is applied,” said Fr. Mwakhwawa.

Earlier this year, the Diocese of Karonga commissioned 13 lay people (later 8 more joined) as Ad Gentes Missionaries to hard-to-reach places of Ngana, Lutushu, Ntchechenali, Chenga, Mlowo and Tcharo just to meant a few. In this mission, all seminarians and Deacons of the Diocese were added to the battalion.

Pope Francis declared October, 2019 as Extraordinary Missionary Month, to commemorate 100 years since Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter, Maximum Illud, on the propagation of faith throughout the world. The letter renewed the Church’s commitment to missionary work.

Bishop Mtumbuka captured during the ceremony
Bishop Mtumbuka Officially Opens Preparatory Activities for St Mary’s Parish Diamond Jubilee

By Phillip Chisi

Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga has officially opened the preparations for St Mary’s Parish 75 Years jubilee. The Bishop made the announcement on 18th August, 2019 when he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation at St Mary’s Parish where over 275 parishioners were confirmed.

In his homily, the Bishop decreed that from 18th August, 2019, parishioners were permitted to start preparing for the Diamond Jubilee.

“St Mary’s Parish is the ‘mother’ parish of the Diocese. It started as one parish but now we are a diocese. So we really need to prepare well for the jubilee,” said the Bishop.

He further thanked all those who have supported the parish from its establishment to the present time.

“You must remain faithful to, and defend, your Church for the diocese has been built on their unwavering faith,” said the Bishop. 

“This parish has gone through various experiences. We need to honour all the priests and identify as well as invite to the jubilee ceremony those Catholic Christians that has been associated with St Mary’s Parish for over 60 years and above.  These people need to be credited in a special way,” said the Bishop.

Turning to the newly confirmed Christians, the Bishop urged them to remain united in faith. He reminded them that the Church is One and that no one will be privileged to go to paradise based on their affiliation to certain tribe or language. He encouraged them to remain faithful.

St Mary’s Parish was established in 1945 and will be clocking 75 years in July 2020.       

Missio USA Investment Manager Visits Chipunga Farm

By Stephano Nkhata

Missio PMS America’s newly appointed Investment Manager for Malawi and Zambia, Mulenga Bwalya, recently visited Malawi as part of her familiarization tour of Missio’s financed projects and other non-funded projects.

Missio PMS America is a Catholic organization based in the United States of America. It is responsible for giving investment loans to dioceses in the world with the aim of making them self-sustainable.

Many dioceses in Africa have acquired loans from this loan facility and invested in income generating activities. The Diocese of Karonga is one of the beneficiary dioceses in Malawi. Through this loan, the Diocese of Karonga purchased Chipunga Farm Limited in Nkhatabay District for macadamia nuts and coffee production.  

To ensure that these loans are invested in viable income generating activities and to ensure that the Missio financed projects are managed by well qualified technical people who are conversant with agribusiness, Missio America has employed Mulenga Bwalya.

During her first familiarization visit, Mulenga visited some of the funded and non-funded projects. She spelt out clearly that her mandate is to corrdinate, formulate strategies to make sure that these projects respond to the needs of the dioceses in the two countries.

On her visit to Chipunga Farm, Mulenga was accompanied by Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s agriculture experts, Duncan Magwira. She interacted with the Diocesan Resource Mobilisation Officer, Stephano Nkhata; Farm Manager, James Kasambara; and Development Desk Officer, Franklin Msiska who took her around the main fields where major operations are taking place.

Her main objective was to know more about Chipunga Farm project and appreciate the activities on the ground. Mulenga first inspected the macadamia nursery where most of her questions about the crop were answered by Daniel, in charge of the nursery. The supervisor explained the major activities involved in raising seedlings to the point of transplanting. In his explanation, Daniel said it takes 12-18 months for the seedlings to be ready for transplanting in the main field.

Mulenga was then taken to the coffee nursery, where Alex is the supervisor. In his explanation, Alex said the seedlings they are raising seedlings in preparation for the December-January 2019/2020 growing season.

The visitors were then taken to the main field where coffee and macadamia were planted during the last planting season. They were also briefed on the types of coffee present and how the fields are taken care of.

As an agribusiness expert, Mulenga expressed her satisfaction on the progress of the activities happening on the ground. She has assured the team that Missio will never leave them alone and will make sure that technical expertise in all fields is well provided.

“Inperson-Malawi” Hands Over a Borehole to St Mary’s School for The Blind

By Phillip Chisi

Inperson–Malawi, a group of three young women from Malta, along with the Parish Priest for St Mary’s Parish Fr. Joseph Sikwese, officially handed over a borehole to St Mary’s School for the Blind.

The event took place at St Mary’s School for the Blind campus on 16 August, 2019. The ceremony started with speeches followed by handovers as well as with a symbolic water-drawing from the borehole.

Three young women, who are graduates working with students with special needs in Malta, partnered with the Diocese of Karonga through their connection with Lusubilo Orphan Care of the Diocese. The three are Martha, Ramona and Stelvana.

In their speeches, Head teacher for the school Mr. Mathias Mwamughunda and community representative Mr. Charles Mhango, expressed their appreciation to the Diocese of Karonga for connecting St Mary’s Parish to Malta. They also expressed their gratitude to the group from Malta for their fundraising activities that have supported the project. 

The school has been experiencing a number of challenges such as high cost of water, electricity bills and shortage of food. The borehole will go a long way in reducing water bills and increasing the allocation to food for the learners.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Martha expressed her contentment for the success of the project.

“It was difficult to raise funds for the project but we succeeded in the end. It is my hope that the community will take good care of the borehole so that it lasts long and serve its intended purpose,” she said.

Since its inception, St Mary’s School for the Blind has been receiving limited resources from government. The school is also in need of beds, fence and toilets.

The event was graced by the officials such as Father Joseph Sikwese the Parish Priest for St Mary’s Parish, Martha, Romana and Stelvana from Malta, Mr. Mwamughumda the Headmaster St Mary’s Boys School for the Blind, Mr. Edward Mwanguku vice-secretary for the Parish Pastoral Council and Noah Simwaka  teacher for the School for the Blind.