Project Joseph: Zambia
Meet Seven-year-old Paul.
Seven-year-old Paul had to stop attending school to help his family eat. But thanks to Excellence Christian Academy and Project Joseph, he was able to return to class!
Paul normally attends classes at the Caleb Center for Children with Autism, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to help his sister sell goods at the market to help his family eat.
Our partners at Excellence Christian Academy under the leadership of our partner, Eugene Kalunga, regularly support Caleb Center by supplying them with needed supplies for the children.
“Raising a child in Zambia with a disability, speaking from experience has been very, very difficult,” says Nellie, whose son, Caleb, is autistic. “Especially where people do not want to associate with you because they fear your disability is actually contagious.”
Children with disabilities and their families commonly face social disgrace and ostracization in Zambia. Myths about disability being a curse and contagious prevent social connections that would offer crucial support.
“Stigma did not just come from the community, but even...members of my own family wouldn’t accept my son. He was too weird for them.” Nellie said, “...When people came to visit it would be worse, they would even suggest locking up my son in my bedroom.”
Many parents can't handle the challenge.
It seems parents, bowing beneath the heavy weight of the financial burden, social stigma and lack of resources face overwhelming temptation to tap out. Sixteen-year-old Nala's mother left her with her grandmother because of Nala’s disability.
Nala’s mother remarried and began a new life. Enoch's father, too, left after learning that his first-born son had a disability.
Mapaso's father began noticing differences in his son when Mapaso was about two years old. Unable to handle the challenge and social shame of having a child with a disability, he abandoned his wife and son.
But Caleb's mother didn't tap out. In 2016, Nellie started the Caleb Center for Children with Autism. Then, there were just 3 students. Now the center serves 25 families, offering in-home support and on-site education.
These families that face unthinkably difficult challenges, only exacerbated by the pandemic, were introduced to Jesus and his care through Project Joseph.
In addition to sharing provision with the families of the Caleb Center, ECA also reached out and provided for families in Kabowa. Kabowa is the rural village where Eugene is constructing a second Christian School to bring Jesus and education to this area.
Eugene Kalunga’s wife, Audrey, (left) and Nellie Luluulu with the family of a Caleb Center student after delivering a Project Joseph food parcel.
A Caleb Center student with his family, thrilled with the Project Joseph provision.
Audrey shares the Word with Kabowa village families in one of the new Spring of Love school building before they receive a food parcel.
Audrey shares the Word with Kabowa village families before they receive a food parcel.
Audrey shares a word of encouragement with Caleb Center founder, Nellie Luluulu.
An ECA volunteer team member brings food parcels to the home of a recipient.
Audrey encourages a Caleb Center student's mother after praying with her.
Audrey sharing the word with one of the families about to receive a food parcel.
Audrey shares the Word and encourages the parents of a Caleb Center student.
ECA also shared Jesus and food with inmates at a local women’s prison where representatives from the school regularly visit.
Audrey Kalunga and her team outside the women's prison.
Project Joseph’s simple mission is to share Jesus through the provision of the food so many impoverished families are struggling to obtain during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Together, through this initiative, we’ve brought hope, health and Jesus to thousands of hurting and hungry people. But there are still so many more opportunities.
Many are still hungry. Many are still hopeless, and many still need to hear that there is Good News.
About the Author
Get Weekly Updates from the Field!
Subscribe to our email updates