In 2017 the members Lidia Spagnolli and Francesca Togni, together with the President Elisabetta Murdaca, went to Zambia in the reception center for children and street children, the Mthunzi Center.
What is the Mthunzi Center? Here is the answer of its founder, Father Kizito
Mthunzi is hospitality, brotherhood, it is a place where one's talents are discovered and cultivated. It is a chorus of many voices that together brings joy and harmony.
These are the voices of two boys living there, Njila and Dickson
It is a place through which life offers children a chance of redemption, where they can finally become children again and be carefree, since there are adults who care for them and teach them to become autonomous and responsible.
Many educators come to Mthunzi themselves from the street: they are former guests of the center who feel they have received so much that they wish to return it to the other boys who have a past similar to theirs. So they start the special school and become a social worker. The hospitality thus acquires something extra.
Alongside the educators there are two very important figures, two columns on which the whole reception center rests: Moses Chinwanga, administrator of the Center and the teacher Phirina Rackel Phiri.
In November 2017, President Elisabetta Murdaca, accompanied by Francesca Togni, in a work of mutual respect and collaboration with the educators who take care of these children, also brought new proposals to the Mthunzi Center, which were captured with great enthusiasm by part of all.
Their eyes have seen what it means to live on the street
On the occasion of the trip carried out by Lidia Spagnolli in April 2017, Risto 3, his employer, published this article about her experience:
LIDIA SPAGNOLLI AN EXPERIENCE IN ZAMBIA
Our colleague Lidia Spagnolli tells us about her volunteer work in Zambia. Lidia is part of the "Big Oak", a Social Promotion Association that with Koinonia Zambia is partner of Koinonia Community Kenya for an agricultural development project.
I had the opportunity to do a 15-day volunteer experience that really struck me. In 2000, the Koinonia community, located in Kasupe, 15 km from Lusaka, founded by its Combine Father Renato Sesana, created a center of hospitality of former street children that was called the Mthunzi Center.
The center would be able to accommodate 60 children in residential accomodation if they had the economic opportunity to keep them, but currently only 48 reside there. They are all males, the youngest is eight while all the others are 12 years old or older.
Children and young people living in the surrounding rural areas are also active in a program that guarantees schooling, health care, individual support, and families of origin. Girls and teenagers refer to the small Londjezani day center that accompanies them with a specific path designed for their needs.
It is interesting to know that 3 of the current educators, besides the Koinonia Community Zambia administrator, are former street children themselves who started their journey at the Mthunzi Center in the early 2000s and, when they got older, they undertook the appropriate studies to be able to take care of newcomers professionally.
In Zambian culture caring for others is an important value, but in Koinonia the seed of brotherhood has brought particularly rich fruits "we belong to each other" is their motto, and the personal motto of Father Kizito, the founder is "bread is not good if it is not shared".
I was thinking of bringing some tips for cooking by saving on gas and electricity, but I soon found out that not only don’t they have gas in their homes, but they have no electrical appliances either like ovens, stoves, anything; they cook on ground braziers with two big pots, stuck in a brick structure built around the embers. I taught them how to make gnocchi, stuffed crepes and a cake (cooked in the gas oven of an Italian operator). For my departure they organized a frugal dinner for 70/80 people including children, boys and adults, with dances and goodbye songs and with a rented stereo.
I strongly recommend to all Westerners a "vacation" in similar places, we would all become a bit more humane from it.
Many thanks to Risto3 for the material donated: www.risto3.it