Zambia, Africa

ZAM23 - Chipata Rural Church Orphan Care: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: April 13, 2019

Report by BHW Zambia Partnership Facilitator Following Visit

Key person: Norman Tonga


Recent Events

Orphans Program

Norman gave a list of 19 orphans who have completed grade 12 and gone on to start supporting themselves. The community at large are very thankful for the work that has been done to see these ones through school.

Currently they have 25 orphans in the program. As students are finishing grade 12 they have not added any to the number as costs are rising for school fees.  There are seven in secondary school and 18 in primary school.

Norman visits with the orphans at least once per month to see how life is for them.

The local headman, Jassil Phiri, came to visit us to say thanks, “Because if you don’t say thanks they say you are the sons of witchcraft”. A lot of children used to be unskilled and now they are thankful that many children in the churches are becoming educated. In fact he is seeing even the number of people going to church is increasing.

A lady called Loveness Banda arrived as well to give a gift of dried pumpkin leaves and cow pea leaves because two of the orphans she was looking after have gone on to finish grade 12. Shadi Banda is now farming and Elias Thole is at university studying teaching as he found a sponsor for the course although now in his second year he is having some funding problems. 


Farming Training

Norman has still been encouraging the 13 farmers originally trained in 2017 and they have predominantly been doing well with increased yields. They had a problem last year because the price of a bag of maize dropped to 25 ZMK per bag meaning they have struggled to repay the loans of fertilizer and seed that they were given. All have paid something and they are promising to repay after this year’s harvest.

Norman requested another amount for farming loans for 20 people to be trained. The cost is just the amount for a loan for each person to farm ½ lima of maize and ½ lima soybeans. Norman will do the training for free.

farming togetherA CMML (Christian brethren) organization called Share Africa Zambia funded by the church in the UK has also been working in the area. We were driven around by their coordinator Mwela Mwindula. They have been working in the area for a number of years, aiming to help farming with training, inputs and providing a market. They have their own farm of 100 acres where they have been growing seed crops. This is a much higher priced item than just growing for grain but it is a bit of a process to get certified. For instance a kilogram of soybean grain sells for 3 ZMK but certified seed sells for 18 ZMK.

They have a factory in Lusaka that has been processing peanut butter so they purchase around 100 tons of groundnuts from local growers at a fair price and if they make profit this is also distributed back to the growers. They need to expand this to around 300 tons to have enough supply to service the supermarkets. They are also set up to source honey from beekeepers and other grains as they look to make cornflakes, jiggys (a puffed maise snack) and animal feeds.

doing wellNorman is in contact with the organization and his brother is a lead farmer, meaning he is the one who goes to purchase products from the local farmers and collate them for collection. Mwela is also very interested in Foundations for Farming and Norman will invite Mwela to come to the training.

Norman's own farm is doing very well. He has planted 3 ha of maize, 1 ha of cotton, 2 ha of soybeans and some groundnuts and sunflowers. He has a ripper that he uses to make a furrow and then they plant straight into that, adding inputs. He is very happy with his crop this year. 


Church Planting

often an ambulanceSo far they have planted 16 churches from the main church where Norman is. Some of these are far away and Norman is very thankful for the motorbike he has purchased via a loan which he has paid off. It has enabled him to visit more often rather than having to bike sometimes up to 70 km to visit a church. It has also become like an ambulance as he is taking many sick people to the local clinic. 

They are requesting if funds could be provided for bibles which cost 80 ZMK (US$7) as some churches don’t even have one.

They are trying to empower some church members through a “village bank” system. They get a group of people who make rules and agree on them. Each week they bring 10 ZMK to the meeting and then decide who to loan the funds out to, mainly for business and school fees. The time frame and interest is agreed by the group. After some time they pay out the interest received to the members. Norman was trained by an NGO to become an official officer.


Farm Plot

great potentialLast year a farm of about 9 acres was purchased from a chief. The purpose of this farm is to create income for the orphans program so it can become self-sustainable. So far nothing has happened yet on the farm but the plan is too clear the land and then undertake:
• Bee keeping; they have a market through Share Africa Zambia. This means making some bees hives and smearing with some honey until they come.
• Fruit trees - 1 acre, need about 140 trees @ 85 ZMK each. This will also require a bore hole.
• The rest for cropping, cotton, maize, soybeans and groundnuts.

We discussed that they will start to clear just one acre for now and make a start. The local rate for clearing the grass and stumping out the trees is 400 ZMK per acre.


11 orphans

Personal Stories

Loveness Banda

Loveness is the parent of two of the orphans on the program who have completed grade 12 and gone on to farming or one is attending university. She says she has really felt the love of God through this program because she was at a loss as to what to do with her children. She faced a lot of challenges with nine people dying in her family so now she looks after 11 orphans plus five of her own children.

She was having a lot of anxiety and thinking a lot about what she could do but feels that the grace of God had come through the program when she met Norman Tonga. Now she has a lot of peace going forward.


repeating grade 9Kennedy Lungu

Kennedy is 18 years old and in grade 9. Last year he was also in grade 9 but he failed one subject, computer science, so is having to re-sit that one subject this year. The rest of the time he is helping his mother with farming.

His father passed away in 2015. He has seven brothers and sisters in the family, he is the sixth born. Of all of these siblings he is the only one going to school. He tells us that this causes him a few headaches as there is some jealousy from his brothers especially. When he needs to study they call him lazy and say “So you think you are a king with just your books, but you are just lazy and don’t want to work”. His mum does tell the others that no, we can only afford for one to go to school and it is our hope that he will become the one who will look after all of us. This creates a lot of pressure for Kennedy.

He sings in the CMML church choir and attends youth group.

When he finishes school he would like to become a teacher. “The one who teaches may even end up teaching a future president, who knows?”


Ideas for the Future

The orphans project is ticking over and working well given the results of 19 orphans finishing grade 12 and either having jobs or undertaking further study. The budget here will remain the same.

They would like to invest in the farm project as they see it as a way that they can become self-sustaining. Also Norman is a very good farmer and has some equipment such as oxen, a ripper, and an ox cart for transport. Many of the people in the church are behind this project as well. The key will be to start slowly. We discussed that if they clear some land this year we could look at helping further once they have started. Bee keeping is an easy start for them and Norman is to come back to me with the price to set up some hives.



Current Issues and Challenges

Some of the more traditional Brethren churches are a bit unhappy with Norman so have not allowed him to be in their churches. This isn't really a problem as he has many others to visit but he does find it hard to understand what the problem is.