(MissionNewswire) Monica Chudzynska, a young volunteer from Don Bosco International Volunteer Service in Poland, has been a volunteer missionary working for four months in Mansa, the capital of the Luapula province in Zambia. She assists the local mission of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in many ways. The Salesian mission offers assistance to poor youth and their families by providing education and social development services.
Chudzynska is an educator at the local mission where she teaches math in a garage that has been transformed into a classroom. She teaches the children basic adding and subtracting, but above all she teaches them how to find happiness. Chudzynska is also a shoemaker and many of the children try to draw her attention by removing the soles from their sandals so she will spend more time with them. In addition, she is a nurse. Often, the children approach Chudzynska to show her their bruises on their bare feet or the scars from small fights in order to get a simple cure for an ailment, receive a hug or hear some reassuring words.
“I do all I can to be fair to everybody, but the most important thing is to be joyful while educating the children and be an an example to follow finding happiness in the simple things of everyday life,” says Chudzynska. “It does not matter whether I am a teacher, a shoemaker or a nurse. What matters is leaving a small imprint in the heart of the children.”
In Mansa, the Salesian Sisters operate a primary school and a new secondary school, which was opened in 2014. The secondary school addresses the need for education for youth who would otherwise not attend school at all or would have to travel very far distances to gain a secondary education. The school has spacious classrooms and administrative offices, and expansion is already being considered as the school’s programs progress. Started with an emphasis on the social sciences, the school’s administrators are hoping to expand programs to offer courses in natural sciences and technology.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken its toll on Zambia’s children. More than 20,000 households in the country are headed by children whose parents have died because of HIV/AIDS. Many of these young children are desperate for adult support.
UNICEF – Zambia