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Friends of Monze                         

Deana Owen, a long time Quaker attender, had visited Zambia as a young nurse so when she retired in 2012, decided to return for a few months as a volunteer. Zambia is a peaceful country which has never experienced conflict, yet there are many persistent problems relation to a poor infrastructure, unemployment and a lack of opportunity

Deana went to Monze, a small town of 19,000, in Southern Zambia, where she lived within the local community doing much the same work as she did as a health visitor in Port Talbot. Seeing people in their own homes had a big impact on her. Knowing too that 400 children -nearly half of them AIDS orphans – walked many miles to a building which looked like a dilapidated cowshed, which served as a school made Deana determined to do something.  So when she was asked by the people to help Deana said “How can I say no?”

On returning home she was greatly supported by and Bridgend Quakers who helped her to set up a registered charity and serve on the board of trustees. The vision was always that to be effective in alleviating poverty, there must be a collaborative partnership, where we in Bridgend work with groups already helping to develop their communities. The people of Monze must be at the forefront of any development, which is why work must focus on empowerment with skills in agriculture, business and education.

In just 2 years Bridgend Quakers and Deana have raised over £70,000 from grants, donations and fund raising events including 2 Garden parties, regular collections and an Auction of Promises at the Friends Meeting House.  

This is what has been achieved already (Feb 2015):

We received a Quaker Peace and Social Witness grant for a solar water pump and goats to help a HIV support group grow vegetables to support orphans

Lushomo school a single storey brick built 3 classroom school is near completion

A bore hole has been sunk to provide fresh drinking water and irrigate crops at the school

People have been trained in the benefits of permaculture which is a highly productive way of growing foods and works in harmony with the environment.

Small businesses have been set up, including buying a peanut butter machine to enable a group to use their crop of peanuts to make and sell peanut butter. Income is used to support a pre-school 3 to 7 year olds, care for the elderly and enable orphans to attend school.

Catherine’s Cafe supporting orphans; a piggery supporting orphans and elderly; and a school uniform business have also been set up.

Training to build solar cookers out of cardboard.

Training to make supportive furniture for children with disabilities out of cardboard.

Sponsoring deprived children to attend school, and providing solar lights to do their homework.

Future plans include providing training and safety equipment for women and children who break stones for a living.  Another project at the planning stage is setting up a chicken farm at a school where disabled children can help care for hens and sell the eggs, income raised will buy their food and pay the house parents who care for them.

For more information and contact details