Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Help the Children in Zambia

I’ll have to admit that I am always amazed when I read things like this written thousands of years ago. It shows how even though so many things have changed over the course of history, so many things still stay the same. Even in ancient times, adults still knew how important it is that children need to be shown the right path in life … that every young person needs to be guided. But what happens when there are too few adults to give young people the help they need?


Train a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Book of Proverbs

Dear John,

I’ll have to admit that I am always amazed when I read things like this written thousands of years ago. It shows how even though so many things have changed over the course of history, so many things still stay the same. Even in ancient times, adults still knew how important it is that children need to be shown the right path in life … that every young person needs to be guided. But what happens when there are too few adults to give young people the help they need?

Recently, I received a letter from Fr. Dioscoro Malugao — a Missionary of Africa priest who lives and works in Kitwe, Zambia, in southern Africa. There Fr. Dioscoro directs the Twatasha Youth Formation Target Program for children and young people who are in real need of help in learning how to survive living on their own and caring for themselves.

Zambia, like other countries in Africa, has high unemployment. This together with the impact of deadly diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, as well as the impact of AIDS, results in the early death of many adults. As I write this letter to you, most people in Zambia will not live beyond age 43. (The situation is improving, though. Just a few years ago, the average life expectancy was only 37 years.) Because of the short life expectancy, nearly half of the people in Zambia are only 16 years old.

It is a nation where children are desperately needing guidance on how to survive.

“Our goal,” Fr. Dioscoro writes, “is to support vulnerable young people and help them
realize their potential in society. We are doing this by teaching them vocational skills which will enable them to become self-reliant . . . to think, act, support and care for themselves.”

“We have a number of training programs underway,” Fr. Dioscoro continues. “We have begun raising broiler chickens and growing vegetables as well as teaching carpentry and metal fabrication. Our aim is to help these young people transform themselves, to live on their own. But because we are in a very poor region — and the young people we are helping have no money — any income we generate is not enough for us to cover the costs of the program. We need outside financial assistance.”

“That is why I am writing to you. Can you help us?”

My friend, as I read Fr. Dioscoro’s letter, the passage from the Book of Proverbs (which I shared with you at the beginning of my letter) kept coming to mind. “Train a child in the way he should go . . . .” How critical that is — especially in these challenging times! But what happens when there are no adults around to offer children and young people the training they need? That’s why the work of missionaries like Fr.Dioscoro is vital in the lives of the poor.

The need among children continues to be a critical all throughout Africa. Whether related to education and job training, or healthcare, or for basic living necessities such as food, water, clothing and shelter — nearly every week, I receive a letter from a missionary telling me of another group of children in need. That is why I am praying that we can raise at least $40,000 to help Fr. Dioscoro’s mission in Zambia as well as the children in other missions across the continent.

As I have tried to explain before, our missionaries do not receive government funding to accomplish their work among the poor. It is because of the kindness, generosity and caring of individuals like yourself that we are able to offer food, clothing, water, shelter, medicine, education, pastoral care and other basic living necessities for those in need. It is because of you that a child will get a meal or be trained “in the way he should go.” God bless you!