Mulele Mwana Youth Skills Training Centre
Mulele Mwana (“Look after the Child”) is one of the projects that has benefited from the financial support ZOA-US receives from St John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Virginia. Mulele Mwana is a skills training project of St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Church in a depressed area of Lusaka. The Centre admits about 100 young men and women each year and trains them in a variety of skills, including carpentry, mechanics, electrical, and computer skills, sewing, knitting and food production (catering). The project also runs a community school for 150 poor children from the community.
Since 2002, ZOA-US has assisted Mulele Mwana by supporting youths enrolled in the food production and tailoring courses, and by providing funding for the feeding program at the community school. In 2011, ZOA-US extended its support to Mulele Mwana graduates who often find it difficult to start small businesses due to lack of seed capital. We agreed to support graduates to set up a small cooperative by providing them with funds to purchase sewing machines and other specified needs. The purpose of the program has been to empower these tailoring graduates to start small businesses, initially by working together, and learning to become successful business people, and eventually to stand on their own, able to employ future graduates. Business has been growing and is profitable, and the program continues to graduate entrepreneurs who have started their own tailoring enterprises.
ZOA has supported the approxmately150 pupils in Mulele Mwana’s school feeding programme. Children are fed nutritious meals such as kapenta, beans, eggs and vegetables with nshima for the afternoon session, and rice with sugar or soya porridge for morning sessions. As a consequence, student health has improved, absenteeism has diminished, and children are passing their grades at record levels.