Mr. Mandela with a child on his lap, talking to her. Taken during meetings about HIV/AIDS in November 2004. © NMF Photo/Oryx Media, Benny Gool.
Today, July 18, we commend the United Nations for recognizing the life and legacy of South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life,” Mandela once so poignantly stated at the Live 8 concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 2, 2005, after serving as the first President of South Africa.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, for more than 20 years, we have strived to work together with our partners in Sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe and elsewhere to do just that.
The purpose of Nelson Mandela International Day is to reflect upon the struggle apartheid and the campaign for Mandela’s release from prison in which the UN played an important role and initiated the first commemorative Mandela Day in 2010.
On this day today and every year, we invite you to join with the UN and us to mark Nelson Mandela International Day by making a difference not only in your own communities, but in those halfway around the world such as Eldoret, Kenya, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Mutare, Zimbabwe and so many others.
“Everyone has the ability and responsibility to change the world for the better! Mandela Day is an occasion for all to take action and inspire change,” states the UN.
The supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who have so generously embodied that sentiment are taking action and inspiring change in the lives of the thousands of children who have they have given opportunity to go to school, grow up healthy in loving homes, and so much more.
And as Mandela stated at that Live 8 concert:
“While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.
There is nothing we like more at Bread and Water for Africa® than to see a project we have funded come to fruition and be successful.
Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre’s first fish harvest.
Such is the case of the fish farm we constructed for the Kabwata Orphanage & Transit Centre in Zambia. For the past year, we have worked with our partner there Angela Miyanda from when she first proposed the project which would provide thousands of fish for the children of the orphanage as well as generate a self-sustaining revenue source for Kabwata by selling thousands more annually.
Zambians love fish, eating it every day for at least one meal, and tilapia is among the most popular as it is fast-growing, and tasty.
Today, we have come from when a tilapia farm was just a dream in Angela’s mind to the reality of the first harvest with 70 percent being sold to stores in the capital city of Lusaka, and the other 30 percent set aside for the children.
In just a few months, the small tilapia fry have grown to full size and Angela’s crew have been able to harvest them from the two ponds as they prepare for the next batch.
Angela, who also oversees a banana plantation which supplies bananas to the orphans as well as generating a revenue stream for the orphanage, told us at the time of the construction of the fish ponds that “depending on the outcome of the fish project, we may shift into full time fish farming as it is proving to be less labor intensive.”
She also noted that Zambia has been blessed with many rivers and lakes stocked with a lot of fish, however due economic challenges facing the country people are taking fish of all sizes with no exceptions for the smallest ones who have not attained full size.
Even with a ban that is imposed on Zambians from December to March every year that is designed to help the fish breed, it does not help as many continue to harvest fish illegally, Angela told us.
“Fish farming is new for Zambia,” she said, adding “The community is excited with fish farming because it will be sold in the local community.”
As we seek to do with all our partners, by providing funding for capital projects such as fish farming ponds, we are leading them on a path to self-sufficiency, not perpetual reliance.
And thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide the seed money for the ponds which will provide great returns for the children of Kabwata for many years to come.
Bread and Water for Africa® has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the Neilom Engineering for Social Change Fund to build a water well in Sierra Leone.
The grant is being made available through the Neilom Foundation and the Center for Engineering Concepts Development in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in partnership with the Center for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland College Park.
“Our name reflects our highest priority to bring clean water to families, clinics, schools and entire communities,” stated Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Bethelhem Tessema, who noted that Bread and Water for Africa®, through partnerships with grassroots organizations in Africa, has provided water wells for tens of thousands of people in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia and Sierra Leone.
The $10,000 grant funding will go towards building a hand pump water well to serve the Hill Station Primary and Secondary Schools as well as the surrounding community in Freetown, Sierra Leone. We will commit matching funds of $5,092 to fully meet to the total project costs of $15,092.
In 2015, we established a goal of building three wells in Sierra Leone, a country still recovering from the Ebola outbreak of 2014, by June 2016. The first of the three wells, in the community of Waterloo, is soon to be completed.
Bread and Water for Africa® has established a goal of building a total of three wells in Sierra Leone, still recovering from the Ebola outbreak of 2014 which continued into 2015, for FY 2016. The first well, in the community of Waterloo, is soon to be completed.
The Neilom Grant money, combined with the matching funds contributed by Bread and Water for Africa®, will make it possible to complete the second well early in 2016.
We will administer the grant with its partner, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), of Freetown , Sierra Leone, which have worked as partners for more than 10 years. Weather permitting, the construction of the new well could begin as soon as January and be completed by the end of March.
The need for such a well in Sierra Leone is great. The vast majority of the population does not have access to safe and clean water and nearly half of the population uses unprotected water as their primary source for drinking, bathing and washing.
We are extremely grateful to the Neilom Engineering for Social Change Fund for recognizing the need for a well in this community that will benefit thousands and literally save lives.
On behalf of these thousands, we say “Tenki” (“Thank You” in Krio, the national language of Sierra Leone).