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Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church – Swaziland – Ministries with Children in Need

July 29, 2010

The Kukhany'Okusha Zion Church (KZC) has been in partnership with Global Ministries since the early 1980s. The Zionist Church in southern Africa was founded in the late 1800's in Othaka, South Africa, by a Dutch Reformed missionary, Mr. LeRoux, and an indigenous leader, Reverend Daniel Nkonyane.  In 1913, the Zionist church first arrived in Swaziland at Embikwakhe, a location near the city of Matsapha.  In 1983, after six years of discussion and dialogue, the Kukhany'Okusha branch of the Zionist Church of Swaziland was established as an autonomous church under the leadership of Bishop A. M. Dlamini.  In English, Kukhany'Okusha means "new light."

Today, the Kukhany'Okusha Zion Church has congregations throughout Swaziland.  The KZC adopted a plan for operational and administrative reforms, which emphasize four key performance areas.  They are:  1) Spiritual Growth for the Church, 2) Growth in Church Membership, 3) Financial and Material Sustenance, and 4) Love and Care for Others.  They are involved in church building projects, preschool education, feeding programs, and extensive HIV/AIDS education programs within congregations.  Although indigenous and independent, the Kukhany'Okusha Zion Church is a member of the Council of Churches of Swaziland (the only Zionist Church that holds membership), the All Africa Conference of Churches, and the Organization of African Indigenous Churches. 

In July 2010, the Kukhany'Okusha Zion Church provided an update on the use of Global Ministries donations mainly earmarked for support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs).  The funds have provided scholarship funds for these children as well as support for the Neighborhood Care Points (NCPs), which supply clothing, food, medication, and sometimes shelter.  The report also provides an accounting of the use of Global Ministries gifts given in support of the construction of a Youth Centre adjacent to the Manzini Church. The Youth Centre project was initiated with the aim of providing a central point for youth services, especially the poor, in the densely populated area of Madoda where the Manzini church is located.

Funds from Global Ministries to the KZC have provided food, school uniforms, and shoes for children served by the Orphans and Vulnerable Children program.  Scholarship funds have been set aside for a young man to continue his education at Manzini Industrial Traning Centre, a skills training high school.  He plans to become a mechanic.  Funds will be used to subsidize his boarding and tuition fees.

The KZC has been working with organizations like UNICEF and the Council of Churches of Swaziland to construct eight Neighborhood Care points (NCPs).  The eight NCPs are located at Shewula, Mnjoli, Mliba, Mbekelweni, Lavumisa in Bhiliya, Mgungundlovu, Mthombe, and Thesolonoka.  These are areas where the church has a presence and local churches are hosting and managing NCPs on their premises.

Funds provided by other sources such as those mentioned above for the NCPs covered building materials and a very limited supply of food, clothes, and other necessities.  Global Ministries funds designated for food needs also have been used to support these eight NCPs. The KZC also maintains a food pantry for OVCs and other members of the church and community in need.  Part of the money was used to supplement the food for the pantry.  Food shortages appear to be the main challenge for the NCPs and OVCs and having one meal a day is the norm for most NCPs and the community around them.

Funds designated for the Youth Centre were set aside for use toward the construction of the Centre in Manzini.  Less than a quarter of the funds reserved have been used thus far to pay for architectural services.  Designs were completed and submitted to the Manzini Municipality for approval.  At the time of this report, the KZC is waiting for the response from the Municipality and has been told to expect a two to three month wait.

The plan is to start construction as soon as the plans are approved.  The KZC plans to use volunteer church youth labor and only hire the technical builders and the architect to supervise the work.  They hope to begin construction in earnest by the close of September 2010. 

Notwithstanding the community and other support to NCPs, major challenges still face the NCPs including the lack of basic materials for the OVCs such as water, food, clothing (especially when it is cold), chairs for pre-school classrooms, toys and teaching aids, and stipends for care-givers.

The KZC, under its Love and Care area, has continuously engaged itself in charity work which is very limited due to the limited resources.  The Kukhany'Okusha Zion Church is very grateful to the friends of the church who make donations in order to support the church in its efforts for helping the needy members of both church and community.

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