We are a group of 12 Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, doing missionary service in Zambia. We work in the dioceses of Livingstone and Kabwe.
Motivated and guided by the Laudato Si Action Platform and the needs of the environment in which we work, we asked ourselves: Where and how can we make a difference with regard to our commitment to our Common Home and the needy people around us?
We looked at Laudato Si’ goals, considered the challenges of our environment, and assessed our ability to respond to these challenges. We began with ourselves, that is, getting more information about the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. We held a few-day workshop on the above-mentioned topic, which ended with a specific plan of activities for one year.
I would like to mention that the activities we have set for ourselves are simple and, so to say grassroots work integrated into our existing ministries.
First of all, we take the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of the environment through art activities for young children in kindergarten – reusing nuts, cardboard, single-sided paper, etc. Then, inputs at schools and markets on organic planting, tree importance, recycling, and climate change. Some of these awareness programs were implemented in collaboration between the Youth Alive organization, coordinated by one of the SSpS sisters, and Zambian Environmental Management (ZEMA).
We managed to broadcast 10 programs on various topics related to environmental protection and eco-spirituality on our diocesan radio, Ave Maria.
Response to the cry of the Earth
One of the main environmental problems in our area is the destruction of forests due to cutting down trees for charcoal, deliberate forest fires, and timber exports. This accelerates desertification, affects clean water resources, and weather anomalies such as shorter rainy seasons and increased heat waves.
In response, the sisters initiated the small production of seedlings of fruit trees and indigenous trees. So far, they have obtained about 200 seedlings, some of which have already been distributed for planting.
Planting trees is another important project of ours. We do this with children in our kindergarten and with youth groups in the parish. So far, over 100 trees have been planted in eight schools in Livingstone and Kazungula districts. In addition to planting trees, the sisters, working together with children and youth, also set up vegetable gardens.
Another major problem in our area is littering streets, markets, and other private and public places.
Picking up litter around our schools, churches, and markets is another of our projects to educate people by example and to keep the environment clean. Youth Alive prepared and donated to schools six garbage containers.
To highlight the value of nature as God’s creation and to emphasize the relationship between God and creation, a Bible workshop for youth and adults was held in the Season of Creation in September last year. The same topic was picked up on several local radio programs.
Response to the Cry of the Poor
Service to the neediest people in the society is at the heart of our mission. Therefore, we make an effort to reach out to them and share our resources.
We are committed to promoting the rights of women and girls. Rendering our service in two institutions where we work with girls and young women who were sexually exploited or at risk of prostitution due to economic poverty. A girl child status in Zambia is very low. It is because of, among others, early marriages, child pregnancies, and cultural taboos. We also offer education sponsorship and awareness programs on human rights, HIV/Aids, etc.
SSpS Sisters in Zambia