LINDA SOKO TEMBO writes
IF people work together they can make a difference in the community and we do not need to wait for government to come to our aid all the time, a community member, Lydia Luka has said.
Pastor Lydia Luka who since come up with a number of projects to help make that difference in her community.
THE SUN: What are you names?
PASTOR LUKA: My names are Lydia Sakeni Luka. I am a pastor and married to a Bishop and we have four children.
THE SUN: How many projects are you doing in the community?
PASTOR LYDIA: I am doing four projects in Kalingalinga, Mtendere, Kalikiliki, Mtendere East and Mtendere East Wilbur near CIDAZ. My first project in all Townships is called ‘Go Back to School’.
I have a group of people that I am working with. They got interested in my projects and decided to join me and do voluntary work.
In ‘Go Back to School’ project we are dealing with children who dropped out of school and our role is to take them back and so far 420 children that have gone back to school and next month we will be taking 110 children from grade two to six.
We take the children to government schools because we do not pay anything. We just buy uniforms, shoes, bags, books and stocks for them.
We have noticed that when children stop going to school they are involved in illicit activities such beer drinking, early marriages and consequently they begin to have children in their tender ages, among other vices.
The best way to avoid all this is by taking them back to school with the supported of District Education Boards (DEBS).
They are the ones who give us space for the children. Our role is to get them from compounds and take them back to school.
In our bid to ensure that children go back to school, we discovered that school desks in most schools were in a deplorable state and inadequate. This is another challenge we face.
We however came up with a plan of recycling aged desks under one of our projects called ‘Boma Niwebo Naine’.
We started making desks in order to create spaces for the vulnerable children so they can go back to school.
We are supplementing government’s efforts because we want to see our Zambia prosper.
She explained that under the Boma Niwebo Naine project efforts are being made to try and change the mindset of people because every time the community needs help they always want government to look into such matters.
They have the attitude of saying ‘Boma iyanganepo’ even when we throw our own garbage we expect the council to collect the solid waste.
We are trying by all means to change the mindset of people and help them realize that we are also a government that can make a difference in our communities.
We have another project called Mayopapa Nayine Nkakupapa in which we are dealing with the aged men and women by empowering them to do their own business.
My husband and I sell second hand clothes commonly known as salaula.
We give them second hand clothes after we make our profit. The remaining clothes are kept for the aged and so far, the group has about 500 people.
They are mostly residents of Kalingalinga, Kalikiliki Mtendere and Mtendere East. We meet them after a month and give them the more clothes as a way of empowering them.
I first teach them business so that they are able to raise capital. I always tell them that capital is just not giving them money even what I am give them (salaula) they can start a business.
They can go to their various villages and exchange clothes for crops such as maize, poultry and fish.
And when they come back they can sell the products and make money for themselves.
The other programme that I have is that of helping the vulnerable people with diseases such as tumors and cancers among others.
When one goes to the hospital they do not have enough resources for them to receive the kind of help they need and doctors cannot do everything on the same day.
And maybe the doctors advise them that the operation will be done after a month or two and a numbers of tests would be required. Some of these tests require to be done at a private hospital and all that requires money, so we come in and help them.
We have an organisation but we not have donors so we try to do everything with our little resources.
I take such patients to hospitals and clinics using my own resources and ensure that they get the treatment they need
And we thank God that we have very good support from the doctors and nurses at University Teaching Hospital (UTH).
Although the organisation has no money, the health personnel’s really help and support us because they know that we are helping the community.
We also are working with the youths in our community by training them for business and entrepreneurship under a programme called ‘Tamanga Youth Namakwebo’.
After training we also give out contacts to those willing to offer job opportunities to our young people and my encouragement is for team work and to see that we create jobs for our youths in our community.
THE SUN: WHAT IS YOUR VISION?
PASTOR LUKA: My vision is that one day we can own a school so that those orphans, can be kept by ourselves and help them especially girls with things like pads.
It is a challenge for them to access pads in these homes where we keep them until they finish school.
My appeal to the community is that they should help in making a difference.
I know that they are people out there who have a heart for our country and should come on board and even sponsor one child back to school and God will bless them.
Let us work together and see that Zambia has money.