Initiated by Koinonia in Lusaka in the year 2000, Mthunzi (shade in Chinanja, the local language), supports over a hundred children, more than 60 resident and 50 home based, to continue their education and their personal growth.
Mthunzi Centre | Koinonia Community
Mthunzi is situated on the Koinonia Community land, on a farm about 15 Km from Lusaka city centre. On the same land there are seven Zambian families in a contest of a village, so the children are not kept in an institutional situation.
The Centre strives to respond to the needs of children in difficult situations, especially street children, orphans and the neglected. The main aim of the Mthunzi initiative can be summarized in one line:
To respond holistically to the needs of children in difficult situations, assisting them to grow into responsible and reliable citizens.
Other objectives are:
To provide care and protection for vulnerable children under our care.
To provide them with the means to attain a basic education.
To network with other organizations working in the same field, in Zambia as well as abroad, in order to provide an ever improving service to the children.
To provide medical services to resident children at the Centre and others from the community around.
To foster human and spiritual development for all the children and youth.
The residence can accommodate up to 70 children. In most cases, the children come to the Centre from the streets of Lusaka after being found and befriended by Mthunzi staff. Some are referred to the Centre by government social workers or other non-governmental organizations, while in certain cases, the children come on their own initiative.
After being admitted, the children attend for a few weeks a rehabilitation programme, following which they are integrated into a nearby government school, called Tubalange.
Two basic criteria are used to select children for residence at the Mthunzi Centre: their needs, and a willingness to live at Centre. No child is in any way forced to stay at Mthunzi. Instead, the choice to take up residence at the Centre is freely made by the child.
While in residence, the children are cared for by a group of adults. They have regular meals as a family, get clothed, sent to school and receive medical attention when needed. They have time to play and visit their friends and schoolmates in the area, while counseling and remedial lessons are provided for those who need them.
The performance of the children at Tubalange School is generally rated as ‘excellent’, and some of the Mthunzi children have regularly featured at the top of their classes.
Where possible, the children are encouraged and assisted to stay in touch with their relatives, in view of their future reintegration into these families of origin.
Sports (football, volleyball, acrobatics) and cultural activities (drama, traditional dances) are incorporated into the daily lives of the resident children, which makes Mthunzi a place full of life and laughter.
The children are also encouraged to take the responsibility of receiving visitors as their own guests. Come and experience their warm welcome!
Lonjedzani Home and Home-Based Sponsorship
There is a big number of children languishing in Lusaka West, where Mthunzi Centre is situated. About two chilometers for Mthunza there is a vilage of abut 500 people, called Chikondano. There most children have lost their parents to AIDS and live with a grandparent or a guardian. Even though they may have a relative or guardian taking care of their needs in terms of loving attention and food, many of these children do not go to school because their guardians cannot afford to pay for such requirements as school uniform, books and school shoes.
Mthunzi Centre, with the help of overseas friends who “adopt” a child, provides the chance for more than fifty children from Chikondano, most of them girls, to attend school every year. These children continue to live with their guardians, but during the school days on their way home from tubalange Primary school, meet at Lonjedzani, a home where Mthunzi is providing lunch for all of them. Moreover every Saturday they come to Mthunzi for a nutritious meal, as well as to update the staff on their academic progress and express their needs. The children also have access to Mthunzi medical facilities when needed.
Mthunzi staff members, meanwhile, monitor the growth of the children through constant contact with their school teachers and guardians.