Fr. Varghese Ayyampilly, Director or Mbinga Sponsor Site, Tanzania
Some years ago I was entrusted with this responsibility as the director of the Chalice sponsor site of Mbinga. I reached Tanzania in 2002 February and since then I am working in one of the remotest parishes of Mbinga diocese which is near to the boundary of Mozambique and Malawi. People of this area speak Swahili as well as Kimatengo, a local dialect. Since 2004 I am closely associated with the work of CCCI (Chalice ) beginning as the sub site director of MB and now as the director of the MBINGA site. The sponsor site has 8 sub sites and they are all great distances apart. People of this region belong to Matengo tribe. Almost all of them are poor farmers and they cultivate maize and beans which is their main staple food. However it's my experience that the people are very peace loving. Nearly 85% of them are Catholic. The Congregation of the mission (better known as Vincentian Fathers) arrived here in 1993 and since then we have been actively involved in religious work, as well as various social-economic developmental programmes. The Chalice organization is the major partner in our social work. In collaboration with Chalice (CCCI) we have been able to provide educational assistance to more than 3000 children directly and indirectly. Its is done through sponsorship (at present we have 1104 sponsored children in all 8 sub sites) programme, kindergartens and schools which are constructed with the support of Chalice.
The progress is very satisfying and we have been expanding this assistance to many more children. Besides this the Congregation is also running a hostel and an orphanage, mainly for the children of AIDS victims and of unwed mothers. A new wing for the orphan girls is nearing completion. All this charitable work we are able to do due to the generous support of Chalice and the benevolent benefactors. We thank and pray for everyone who is part of our great effort. Just last year with the help of Chalice and its donors we were able to build a primary school in one of the most interior areas of my parish. Until 2007 there were no school-going children in that area. But today there are 91 children regularly attending kindergarten and 72 children study in the newly constructed primary school which has now Std I & II. And we provide this education free of cost. Government provides teachers for the primary school. It gives us more confidence to go ahead because we are convinced that education is the only way through which we can bring development to these areas.
At present we are hoping to construct a secondary school and a hostel in this parish. Because after the completion of the primary education many of the students do not attend the secondary school due to lack of facilities to continue their studies. We hope through God's providence we will be able to achieve this aim too. As I have mentioned above we all are very grateful to all the donors and the benefactors of Chalice . Together we can build a better generation in this poorest corner of the world - providing them with spiritual assistance, education and economical help.
Fr.Varghese Ayyampilly C.M.
Catholic Church, Mbangamao
Director's Report 2012 - Mbinga, Tanzania
“At the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we received, how much money we have made, or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry ... you gave to eat.. I was naked you clothed me.. I was homeless you took me in’… (Mother Theresa)
Greetings from Mbinga Sponsor Site! In the first place I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to collaborate with you in bringing great blessings upon many poor children of Tanzania. Now I have the privilege and joy of communicating to you the latest information from our Site.
Sponsorship: The continued generosity and kindness of sponsors like you have added many more blessings to our sponsored children in Mbinga Site in the year that has gone by. The steady growth of number of children shows the boundless generosity of Canadian hearts. At the moment Mbinga has 1500 sponsored children and 32 elderly people who are being cared and assisted for by Chalice. The children are being supported for their education, cared for their health and accompanied by the staff for their overall development. The majority of sponsored are students in various levels of education. Among them 10 percent are in kindergarten, 80 percent are in primary schools and 5 percent are in the secondary schools. Also we have 2 percent attending vocational training programs. The 3 percent of the remaining are elderly who are no more capable of supporting themselves.
Education: Our children receive assistance in various ways. The main focus of the Site is to support them in education. For this, their school fees, hostel fees, expenses of study materials, uniforms, and tuition fees are covered. This gives them the much needed confidence that they can pursue their studies without worry. The regular visits by the staff and social workers to different schools where our children study result in the progress of their education.
Health: Another area of focus is health care of our children and their families. For this, health awareness programs are conducted; hygiene articles like washing soaps, toothpaste, body lotion, and emergency medical care are given. To supplement their health needs feeding programs are conducted regularly in some of the kindergartens and the primary schools where a good number of sponsored children attend. Food materials like meat, cooking oil, food grains, sugar are provided occasionally for the families, and especially for Easter and Christmas celebrations. The social workers do make regular visits to the families to educate them about cleanliness and responsible parenthood.
Community Development: To assist in their farming, families are provided with hybrid seeds, fertilizers and farming tools. This is provided through the different parents groups that have formed in all the 8 sub sites. These supplies have helped them to have a better harvest this year. We also have a community development programme which includes social seminars, construction and repair of government schools, providing clean drinking water, and supplying study materials to the government schools. In addition, we help the poor families of the sponsored children to construct new houses, replacing thatched houses with iron sheets, providing healthy sanitation, supplying families with domestic animals, etc. All to address the family as a unit as assist them in their efforts to grow and develop.
Special Money: Sponsored children who receive special gift money for their birthdays, Easter and Christmas prefer to use it for the family needs like purchasing of needed house hold articles and domestic animals. Our social workers meet with them once the funds have been received and determine with the family what is most in need. There are also occasions the sub sites arrange birthday celebrations to share the joy together with all the children. The Celebration programmes really bring smiles on the innocent faces of children as they make their fun with dances, songs and delicious meals.
Gift Catalogue: The gift catalogue programme is another programme that greatly contributes to the development of the community for their various needs like water facilities, assistance to various schools with desks, chairs and computers, solar panels for the hostels, and providing farm animals like goats, pigs, chicken, etc for families. Without this programme we would be limited in our capacity to make the capital investments need for community mobilization and development. We are eternally grateful for your continued gift giving through the Catalogue.
Our sponsored children and their family members are well aware that they have nothing else to give in return for all that they receive except their prayers. All the sub sites have set a particular day to pray for their sponsors and their families in a special way. We offer our prayers for your continued blessings of love and peace and good health throughout the entire year. THANK YOU!
Fr.Varghese Ayyampilly C.M, Director