Oblate Voices is a JPIC blog that follows stories of hope and is about how Oblates and associates live and experience mission work in the spirit of the Oblate founder, St Eugene De Mazenod of responding to the needs of poor and most abandoned around the world.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Facing the Future: Empowering Youth with skills in Lukulu - Zambia

photo courtesy omiusa
By Bro Maximillian Mwakacheya OMI
Director - Lukulu Training Center

Lukulu Training Centre was established in 1994 after a feasibility study done by Br. A. D. Sykes and the local committee to pinpoint areas of greatest need in the District. The committee was made up of the Parish Priest of Lukulu, Superior of the Holy Cross Sisters, the District Governor, District Secretary and District Education Officer. Outside opinion was sought from the Vicar General of Diocese (by then Livingstone Diocese) and the Missionary Oblates Provincial.

                                        Originally appeared in Mongu Diocese Newsletter November 2017 issue

The greatest need of that time the committee came up with was, to cater for the Grades 7 and 9 drops-outs. The suggested way of procedure was the setting up of a project (Skills training Centre) to meet the needs of boys and girls in Lukulu District who drop out of formal education. This training Centre was to offer training in Woodwork, Basic Agriculture, Pottery, Tailoring and later on, Typing. Apart for skills training, the Training Centre was to offer basic courses in English and Mathematics.

The Training Centre belongs to the diocese of Mongu and was managed by the Congregation of the Christian Brothers from the time of its establishment to this year January 2017. As from January 2017, the Diocese of Mongu is directly managing the Training Centre. The Rt. Rev. Evans Chinyama Chinyemba, OMI is the Bishop of Mongu. The day to day management of the Training Centre is carried out by the Director and staff of the Centre.

Skills Training Courses the Training Centre has offered
From the time, the Lukulu Training Centre started, it started by offering three skills courses in Tailoring & Design, Carpentry & Joinery, Ceramics and Rural Mechanics. Each course was for two years. The Centre has trained many young men and women who now running their own small business in Carpentry and Tailoring. For those who have studied Computer Studies, a number of these are those who acquire computer skill to help them in their studies at high Colleges and Universities.  Currently, the Centre is offering Auto Mechanics, Brick laying and Plastering and Computer studies to the youths in this district of Western Province and other districts surrounding Lukulu. 

Oblate Bishop Donates Computers to Lukulu Training Center 

The Computer Studies Class received 8 laptops from the Office of the Bishop in September this year. Donation of the 8 laptops to the Computer Studies Class has made it easy for practical sessions in that each student has their own platform without sharing. The Management, Staff and Students are grateful for the donation of the laptops by the Office of the Bishop.

Lukulu Training Centre is now enrolling for January 2018 intake, in the following courses for both Full time and Evening classes: Computer studies – Six (6) Months, Bricklaying and Plastering – One (1) Year and Automotive Mechanics – One (1) Year

More information about helping or enroll at Lukulu Training Centre at http://mongudiocese.com/

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mission Sunday 2017 - Catholic Diocese of Livingstone, Zambia

By Bishop Valentine Kalumba OMI.

Mission Sunday is October 22, 2017.Organized by Propagation of the Faith, Catholics worldwide celebrate and reflect on their baptismal call of the gift of faith and recommit to the Church's missionary activity through prayer and generosity in support of  various young mission dioceses around the world. 

Bishop Valentine Kalumba, OMI, was consecrated as Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Livingstone, Zambia in September 2016. As part of the celebration to mark Mission Sunday 2017, Bishop Valentine Kalumba, OMI shares about challenges, growing pastoral needs and opportunities for mission work in the diocese.

Livingstone diocese in Zambia has a population of 500,000 and only 96,000 are Catholics. This means that despite the vast area covered by the diocese, there are few Catholics. We have only 18 diocesan priests, 12 Religious priests and are blessed with about 29 religious sisters. We continue to pray and encourage more vocations to both religious life and priesthood.

Outreach Programs around the Diocese

We are a diocese comprising eighteen (18) parishes.  Out of the 18 parishes, six (6) are around the town of Livingstone and the remaining twelve (12) are in the rural area. Rural parishes are large and the soil is sandy. The roads within these parishes are only tracks of deep sand making the use of four – wheel drive (4 x 4) vehicles really necessary. The furthest parish is St Leopold’s Parish (Shangombo), which is about 500km (311 miles) from Livingstone town. This parish is run by Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Bishop Valentine Kalumba OMI with   Fr Richard Chanda OMI at St  Leopold  parish  Shangombo-Zambia

The diocese runs three secondary schools, one hospital and two rural health centers. As the youth are the future of the nation, we have a youth center for skills training.  The diocese operates a home shelter for children with disabilities and a hospice. We also have centers that take in and help abused children and girls; in addition to a shelter for women. We also spread the word of God through a Catholic radio.

In 1997 the diocese of Livingstone gave up part of its territory to establish the Diocese of Mongu. The diocese of Livingstone covers an area of 58,200 km2 (22,500 square miles).  The diocese of Livingstone also shares borders with four countries; Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Livingstone is also home to the world-renowned tourist attraction, Victoria Falls - Mosi-oa-Tunya.

Challenges in Mission

Transportation is the main challenge in our pastoral ministry. Our fleet of vehicles are old and most of our parishes are in rural areas. The roads within these parishes are only tracks of deep sand, making the need for four – wheel drive (4 x 4) vehicles very essential. Vehicles are key for pastoral ministries. Secondly, we lack personnel. Hence, we have one person doing many different jobs. 

Diocesan personnel’s generosity is rooted in deep commitment to doing God’s work. We also lack specialized personnel or pastoral experts, so further studies for pastoral leaders is critical. While we try to be self-sustaining as a diocese, we have continued to depend on the generosity of well-wishers. Their support makes a deep impact and we continue to pray and seek more partners in doing the work of God.

 Together in doing the work of God

The diocese is embarking on empowering local Catholics and educating people on the importance of self-sustainability.  We have developed a 2016-2019 strategic plan, which will help the diocese in providing a framework and clearly defined direction for decision-making. We have brought on qualified lay people to the Finance committee, hoping that with their expertise, they will help fundraise for the diocese and parishes, and especially provide solutions for our sustainability of the diocese.

If you or your church group are interested in becoming partners in mission with the Catholic Diocese of Livingstone in Zambia, please contact our diocesan offices at this email: seclivd@zamnet.zm