I want to tell you that …, by Agnieszka Liberacka


Agnieszka 04BAgnes, as usually known at Home of Hope, spent some months at the Centre but went back to Poland just after the New Year. She is sending touching words about her experience with the street children of Lusaka. We wish her to enjoy her new life back home hoping to see her again among us, here in her second home…of hope.
From Agnes:
Kitek is gazing suspiciously all the time, as if with disbelief – she’s back. He’s sniffing, observing, recognizing. He’s spending all his time sitting on a suitcase abandoned in the middle of the room, in case of another sudden departure into the unknown.
My Zambian life came to an end. One hundred and fifty days of incredible wandering – with people, with culture, with my own head – all of it over once I got on the board of a plane. It was my second encounter with Home of Hope. I went back there after a year out of longing and out of conviction that this is the way it is supposed to be. I roamed with them regardless of my mood. I roamed my new world with curiosity, fear, anger and fascination. I learnt a lot even though I’d gone to teach there.
It was a wise encounter. I didn’t live a sheltered life. I lived next to, close, within reach. This astonishment and irritation of mine. Meeting another culture, colour, and other people – always a challenge for them and for you… I didn’t hide under a blanket of romantic Africa-in-the-sunset illusions. I saw a lot, heard a lot, experienced a lot. I came up against my own wall along the way, right next to my head… It’s a price and gain at the same time. I found balance between something beautiful, ephemeral, good and something dirty, pissed-on and bad. I experienced openness, love, care and unconditional being.
Quotidian life, built of ordinary getting-ups and ordinary falling-asleeps. The stories of children, of the street… this wandering never seemed to end. All I had to do was wait, and sit; a man and man meet.
But everything times two. This adventure is like that – two-sided.
I experienced being the other one, the one from the West or the East? Never mind, a stranger. Being not at home, not in my right place, being only an unintelligible White. I experienced what it’s like when everyone wants a bit of you and you’re falling apart into small pieces, only making sure that the head is where it should be. You’re looking for legs and arms – check, shaking a bit but they are still there. You’re making sure once again – yep, they are there. I was looking for my own boundaries, whether they weren’t full of holes, whether, by chance, they didn’t need mending… where was this crack which fear and sadness were leaking through?
But you keep on wandering, as the inner compass points at your direction and goal. It makes sense, this wandering, this step-taking, this building……
What’s good and what’s bad always forms us, only if we want to give it a chance.
Agnieszka Liberacka
Final note from the author:
Those were good 150 days. I thank the people who took me in, my White Fathers for faith and the joy of shared lives. The boys for the fun of passing time together. I thank Jacek for being, for standing by and for constant help in unravelling the tangle of my own misunderstandings and questions. I thank the people who met me halfway through this little journey and struggle of mine. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See other link:

Interview with Marina Amalia Zuccala

Child Abuse and Trauma Management – Facts, Culture, Lessons to be learned


FENZA attracted over 50 people to its regular conference on the 24th April 2013 dedicated this time to child abuse and trauma management. The Director, Father Gotthard Rosner, was very pleased to introduce the Bemba group Fimbusa founded in 2008 and aiming at preserving traditional cultural values. This group is composed of six men and 17 women from various cultural backgrounds but using primarily Bemba symbols in their teaching. They operate as a research group within FENZA.
Jacek Rakowski, from the Home of Hope, was also invited to present facts about the reality of child abuse. According to his research, 85% of cases of abuse are related to neglect, so called emotional abuse. It is particularly the case in dysfunctional families or related to social poverty. For many children, life is nothing else than a hostile environment. Consequently, traumatic experiences remain as lifelong scars. Physical abuse, including sexual ones, from which discipline beatings are not easy to distinguish, ends up with injuries.
Sexual abuse takes place most of the time within the family set up where the “conspiracy of silence” and the denial of abuse reinforce the traumatic burden of the victim. Very often, abusers have been abused themselves and also need help.
Finally, to conclude the presentations, Patrick Mumbi, psychologist and anthropologist, gave a magisterial presentation of the negative effects imparted upon victims of child abuse. As counsellors or helpers, we are all invited to listen to the various personalities which are hidden within a traumatised person. By all means, an abuse should never be hidden. It must be said, preferably denounced. The wrongdoer is the abuser, not the child.
We are looking forward to attend the next FENZA Conference.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New Website of St. Lawrence Home of Hope


St. Lawrence Home of HopeNew Website of St. Lawrence Home of Hope
St. Lawrence Home of Hope is a centre for the homeless children and youth where we receive and give shelter to the homeless that are found on the streets of Lusaka.
It has a dual purpose:
1. A rehabilitation centre where we offer a new home and a new start for the children.
2. It is a “half-way home” where we intend to re-integrate the children back in their families, back to their real” homes and main stream society.
The centre was founded in 1998 by the Catholic Women’s League of Lusaka at the request of the then Archbishop of Lusaka. R.R. Medardo Mazombwe. The project was put in their hands in order to respond to the growing numbers of “street children” in Lusaka. They are in charge of advocacy, sourcing funds, developing infrastructure and taking care of the running costs.  From its inception the Catholic Parish of Good Shepherd was involved in its establishment, development and running of it as it was within the boundaries of the parish. The first basic structures were built within the property of St. Lawrence Community Centre which was part of the Good Shepherd Parish which, in turn, is in the hands of The Missionaries of Africa.
Our goal is to rescue children from the vicious circle of homelessness (street-drugs-abuse-crime), rehabilitate them and their families and to re-integrate them back into their home environment (when and if possible).
The Website includes:
Why?
How do we do it?
Programmes
Children’s Stories
Galeries

Home of Hope


Home of Hope is a Centre which gives shelter to the homeless boys that are found on the streets of Lusaka in order to rescue them from the vicious circle of homelessness: street-drugs-abuse-crime. It has become a half-way home with the purpose of re-integrating those children back in their families and main stream society. Statistics show that 90 % of street children are boys. The girls are referred to other NGOs with a similar outreach program.

The Centre was founded in 1998 by the Catholic Women’s League of Lusaka at the request of the then Archbishop of Lusaka R.R. Medardo Mazombwe. The League is still in charge of advocacy, sourcing funds and development of the premises as well as its running costs.

Being within its boundaries, the Catholic Parish of Good Shepherd was involved from the very beginning of the Centre. The first basic structures were built within the property of St. Lawrence Community Centre under the supervision of the Missionaries of Africa.

In 2011, Home of Hope admitted 68 homeless boys from whom 37 of them ran away at one point or another. Most of them came back and were readmitted. A total of 24 boys were successfully reintegrated to their families while others are still under the care of the Centre by providing them with educational support. Some children were very young. Two of them were 6 years old, one 8 and several boys within the range from 9 to 11 years old. Two brothers came from Ethiopia and two young ones from DRC/Congo.

The Centre works closely with Social Services (DSWO), Child Protection Unit of Zambia Police (CPU) and International Organization for Migrants (IOM). As a joint effort, Home of Hope has managed to take two cases (assault and child sexual abuse) to the Court of Law.

The year 2011 was marked by many types of violence among the population of homeless youth and children in Lusaka. Among these, the most common were assaults. But cases of murder, child sexual abuse, abortion and suicide were also registered. At various moments, the Centre was instrumental in transporting dead children to the Lusaka Mortuary, obtaining legal documentation and informing relatives of the deceased when possible. At the moment Home of Hope employs four teachers. Six dormitories are sheltering 48 boys. Our confrere Jacek Rakowski is involved at the Centre for many years now. Child protection policy guidelines are in place for the wellbeing of the children as much as for the staff of the Centre.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.