Murt Curry SJ and Winnie Ryan, the Project Officer and Finance Officer of Jesuit Missions, give a lot of time and care to seeking funding for projects in Jesuit missions, mostly in Africa. All their careful paperwork and negotiations are translated into life-enhancing works, which are monitored to ensure that the hard-earned funds are well spent.
At the May meeting of the Misean Cara Board, four new projects submitted through the Mission Office were approved. The first project is for the replacement of the broadcasting equipment for Chikuni Community Radio in Southern Province, Zambia. Radio Chikuni was founded by Andrzej Lesniara and Tadeusz Swiderski in March 2000 in our parish in Chikuni. In cooperation with the Education, it broadcasts Taonga School to 17 radio schools in outlying villages to educate a large number of children (sometimes up to 80%) who are unable to attend local schools. It gives voice to many people who are marginalized by HIV/AIDS by openly and positively discussing the disease, by removing the stigma attached to it, and by giving clear directions and reminders about the correct use of medicines.
Farming methods are also improved through up-to-date programmes on the best and most profitable crops to grow, on good and affordable fertilising methods, and on proper nutritional eating habits.
Local culture is also strongly promoted and local and national political issues are raised through the 48 listening clubs and local news gatherers. Every year, the Radio Station holds a popular Music Festival which draws competitors from all over the country. New directives from the Zambian government mean that all radio must change to digital broadcasting, and the project approved by Misean Cara for €88,000 will now make this possible.
A second project for the completion of a Youth Hall in the Jesuit Airport Parish in Dodoma, Tanzania, has been approved for the sum of €97,980. This hall, under the direction of the parish priest, Fr Sosthenes Luyembe SJ, was started a few years ago but didn’t have enough funds to bring it to completion. The youth centre in Dodoma already caters for many young people in the capital city by running courses and training programmes as well as sports, but it is not big enough for the current demands of the youth. When completed, the new hall will be used for expanding these vocational courses, for talks and workshops, and for larger sporting activities. Membership at $1 per year will not sustain the hall, so it will also be hired out for large events like weddings and conferences to raise funds.
The third and fourth projects will be implemented by JRS Eastern Africa, one in the province of Darfur in Sudan, and the other in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya. In Darfur, the project has four intended outputs: Capacity Building involving training courses in business management to help income generation, courses in conflict management in a region beset with violence and ethnic cleansing, and workshops in mobilisation skills to increase school attendance; Supplies of school books, stationery and furniture, sports equipment and sanitary kits; Teaching Methods, special needs and first aid training for teachers; and Rehabilitation of 10 classrooms needing repair. The approved budget for this is €94,900.
In Kakuma Camp, resident refugees will be trained in basic counselling, in healing remedies, and in care and education of children with special needs. As well as helping other camp members, these skills hopefully will provide those trained with some source of income, even after they leave the camp. About 50 children will be provided with uniforms and everything necessary so that they can attend government boarding schools outside the camp for special needs children. This will give them a greatly increased possibility of living a more normal life into the future. Misean Cara has funded this project with €55,700.
Martin Curry SJ, Projects Officer