9 February, 2011: Congratulations to Sr. Mwenya Marie-Claire and the members of the Changamuka Project for the honor of the Harubuntu Award! Harubuntu, which in Kirundi, means “There is value at this place,” is a competition for African creators of hope and wealth. It was initiated by NGO Echos Communication, UCLGA (United Cities and Local Governments of Africa), and The Belgian Development Cooperation. Sr. Marie-Claire and the group were presented the trophy on 9th February at the Lusaka Hotel.
The Changamuka Project started with Sr. Marie-Claire and has grown to include twenty active members, three being lecturers of the Training Center, as well as some past pupils. As Sr. had worked to uplift the life of the poor woman in Lusaka through the Skills Training Center, she also recognized the need for a self-help group, thus the Changamuka Project. The main purpose of the group is to self-fund business ideas through a small membership fee, with the goal to generate more capital to continue starting new local business.
A few successful projects include the production and selling of peanut butter, field cultivation of maize, and the buying and selling of fish and sausage. A 200 X 60 piece of land near Chibombo is now owned by the project, and plans for a fish pond and chicken coops are waiting for more funding.
In the words of Zambian correspondent Owen Miyanza, who covered the award presentation, this project is “unique in the sense that it was running without resources…Changamuka has lifted Zambia’s flag higher.”
Sr. Marie-Claire is humbled by the recognition and offers it to God for instilling in her “the desire of listening to the cry of my brothers and sisters who are in need.”