At 64 years old, Beatrice Chisala is an active member of the Mothers’ Union at her local church in Luangwa Township, Zambia. With three children and five grandchildren living at home she more than qualifies!
After being deserted by her husband at the age of 32, Beatrice was left to bring up her nine children alone. ‘In order to make ends meet, I depended on casual work – gardening, washing clothes for others. As a result, none of my children reached secondary school,’ recalls Beatrice. These days, Beatrice still works hard, renting a farm where she cultivates maize.
Being part of her church’s Church and Community Mobilisation Programme (CCMP) has been a lifeline for Beatrice. CCMP, otherwise known as ‘Umoja’ (Swahili for 'togetherness') helps local churches work with their community to use their own resources to address their needs. It was during a CCMP meeting that Beatrice learned about the benefits of self-help groups. ‘After getting involved in CCMP teachings, I learned a lot and my eyes opened,’ she says.
Beatrice joined the self-help group savings scheme in 2015. She used part of the loan from the group savings to dig a pit latrine. With the rest, she paid two of her grandchildren’s school fees.
Learning on the job
As well as receiving practical help, Beatrice has also grown spiritually through her involvement with Umoja. ‘I am encouraged by the story of Job in the Bible who depended on God even in the hardest times,’ she says. Beatrice though does have one regret. ‘I wish this Umoja had come earlier, when I was still energetic,’ she reflects before thanking the Anglican Diocese for bringing CCMP to her congregation.
Praise God for the difference that the CCMP made to Beatrice’s life and for the gift of learning, however old we are!
Ask that more people in the Luangwa Township would get involved in CCMP and start reaping the benefits.
Pray that God would bless Beatrice and her family – that with each generation, opportunities would increase.
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