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  • Writer's picturejoanmann

March 2024 Milk Program - Sue Krogsgaard

Drought and hunger are the chief concerns currently in Zambia.

“Climate change and El Niño are driving such drought conditions (Oxfam 06/03/2024; AJ 29/02/2024). As at 5 March, the lack of rainwater had destroyed one million hectares of maize, almost half the country's maize under cultivation. (UN RC Zambia/UNICEF 04/03/2024)”

 

 Richard and I have been in Zambia a few weeks. Older folks say they don’t remember such devastation and are fearful for the coming months of hunger. The government says it can provide. Villagers doubt.

ZMF-C has been running the Community Milk Formula program for several years. The initial objective was to keep babies and families together by avoiding orphanage care. Family is best! Providing milk formula keeps babies and families strong and together.

The collage (top right) demonstrates huge contrasts in this country, rich tobacco farm compared to a  neighbouring devastated village maize farmer. Wages for uneducated farm laborers ~ approximately $3,00 per day (6-day work week during harvest time).

What makes a Zambian “vulnerable” and therefore requesting assistance for milk formula?

·         Rural life (reduced access to health care, education, social resources)

·         Subsistence farmer (increased poverty this year b/c of failed maize crop)

·         Low/no education (about 80% of parents/caregivers have grade 7 – 9 or no education)

·         Inflation rates (about 60% over past several months)

·         Death/illness of a mom. For every 10 babies in program, rate of maternal death or chronic illness is approximately 25%.

For 2024, ZMF-C will continue to supply milk formula to 12 babies months until baby is about 18 months. Under 5 mortality is a greater threat in drought time. The cost of milk formula has risen from K95 kwacha to K150 in the past 5 months. Unbelievable!!

Our milk formula volunteer staff are concerned about families spiritual and physical needs!

As well, ZMF-C provides a free daily school lunch program for 1550 kids at 5 schools. (bottom right collage).

Needy S (bottom right collage), a gr 7 student at Nalabumba Christian Community School (a ZMf-C assisted school) has benefited from the school’s “vulnerable” project led by Bible teacher/social worker, Sidney M.

We visited Needy 4 years ago. As a grade 3 child she was visibly destitute: runny sick eyes, raggy clothes, poor concentration, downcast demeaner, living with her g/mother and other “dependents”. Their source of water was murky!

Yesterday we met up with Needy. The Bible teacher reported she scored 78% on a recent exam! Wow! She’s strong and healthy. Needy helps her aging g/ma. Her twin sisters, Blessing and Blessed are in the same household. All attend the same school and are in the “vulnerable” program. Daily lunch is essential and helpful!

What to do? Consider your blessings and collective responsibility to the “needy”. And, please be in prayer for drought food relief programs currently started in Zambia and for these wee ones: Kaleb, Chilileko, Taonga, Jonathan, Ursula, Aumbi, Chipo, Harriet, Gift, Douglas, Juliet, Eliness.

Blessings

Nancy and Wilson, Mrs. Muntanga and Sue

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