On the 16th of August 2022, the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) launched its 2021 Annual Report and also the Kalilombe wing of its Library. The event which brought together the staff of CfSC, some of its beneficiaries, donors and Missionaries of Africa was also graced by dignitaries from the government, the Provincial Superior of Southern Africa Province (SAP) and many journalists. The Centre for Social Concern is remarkable for its Research-based facts, Advocacy and the Promotion of Peaceful Co-existence among People of different Faiths and Backgrounds. As a faith-based organization, the nexus between Mission and Justice and Peace, Mission and Dialogue, Mission and the Integrity of Creation, Mission and Critical Thinking, is the kernel of its functionality guided by the Social Teaching of the Church (STC). The concern and compassion for the poor and empowering them to fulfil their human dignity are at the heart of CfSC’s prophetic mission.
In his opening remarks, the Director of the Centre for Social Concern, Fr. Dr. James Ngahy highlighted some of the key achievements of the organization for the reported year 2021. The contribution of the Centre for Social Concern to the provision of quality Education as well as other critical services in both health and economic sectors through its advocacy work which has resulted in many of its beneficiaries having access to better roads, medical services and portable water among others. He also appreciated the support from various partners such as the Missionaries of Africa represented here by the Provincial (who is the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Centre), HIVOS, UNDP/Flanders, GIZ, Misereor, Trocaire and Irish Aid.
A beneficiary of the library, speaking on behalf of her fellow students, thanked the Centre for the presence of this library in Area 25. She highlighted that the library is cost effective to them as they do not have to go to the National library in town to access books. Indeed, the library has a wide-range variety of books on different subjects for the different levels of education. Besides, they only pay Mk100.00 per day to use the facility. She also appreciated the fact that the library provides a quiet and calm environment for personal studies and group discussions.
The Provincial in his address thanked the initiators of the Centre as well as the current Director for the great work that has been realized in the past years. He also thanked all those working with the Centre both locally and internationally to achieving its objective. He emphasized that, addressing issues of social concern as the Centre does is a better of way of living the gospel values rather than simply preaching in words. The Provincial appreciated the fact that despite the challenges of Covid-19 which affected all levels of human society in the years 2020 and 2021, the Centre managed to carry out a lot of its activities. He added that as a pro-poor and faith-based organization, the Centre has the duty of responding to the needs of the poorest of the poor and ensuring that every person has access to opportunities and enjoys his or her rights responsibly.
He also applauded the effort of CfSC at empowering the human society through its library, saying ‘if you want to kill a human society destroy education and if you want to build a human society improve on education.’ He also appreciated the introduction of the computer laboratory which is meant to empower the youth in this digital world.
During the launch of the 2021 Annual Report, the guest of honour, Mr. Misheck Munthali, the Director of Teacher Education and Development (DTED) from the Ministry of Education, commended the great work that CfSC does in the field of education.
Appreciating the gift and works of the late Bishop Patrick Augustine Kalilombe, the guest of honour affirmed that ‘when you do activities of that nature, you continue to live on beyond your actually ordained life on earth’. He added that “libraries are a critical resource in bringing enlightenment to communities”. He appreciated the fact the Late Bishop Kalilombe has not only left us his books and writings (physical library), but he has also left us the witness of his life (human library). He posed these questions: “What kind of book are you? What kind of chapters do people read when they see you?” He also encouraged the beneficiaries to use the library responsibly and desist from irresponsible use of the library such as tearing pages of books.
The guest of honour also appreciated the critical pillars of the Centre such as Social Justice and Peaceful Co-existence, highlighting how critical these pillars for are our country’s future. He also challenged the Centre to work at ensuring that CfSC library becomes digital so that students can access other E-Libraries through the internet. He promised to help link CfSC to the right people within the ministry of education to make e-learning and distance learning at CfSC a reality.
During the final remarks, the former director of CfSC Fr. Jos Kuppens remarked that the day’s event is an example of real partnership and all present are “partners in development”. Emphasizing on the importance of real partnership as exemplified in the presence of different actors from the Civil Society, the Church, the Government, and donors, he affirmed that “when we do networking properly, we can achieve a lot of things”. He also appreciated the last remarks from the guest of honour about e-connection as it has also been his interest for a long-time even to introduce e-readers. He also appreciated the fact that his successor has brought the torch to a higher position so that it can show more light.
After the closing remarks, the guest of honour and the Provincial cut the ribbon to launch of the Kalilombe wing of the library, after which those present appreciated the variety of resources in this new section of the library. Both the old main section of the library and the computer laboratory were also toured.
The ceremony was a moment of looking back and appreciating the achievements of the Centre in the past years as well as showing gratitude to all its staff, partners and donors. It also brought new ideas on how to help the Centre to reach a higher pedestal in the future.
By Bro. Vitus Danaa Abobo (M.Afr)