Youth and Community Conference Center Building Project

Swaziland

The Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church (KZC) has been a partner church with Global Ministries since 1982.  Kukhany’Okusha means “new light.”  Reverend Samuel Mkhonta is the current Bishop of the church in Swaziland and, in July 2011, traveled to the US to attend the UCC Synod in Tampa, Florida, and Disciples General Assembly in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church has over thirty-six congregations located in Swaziland and South Africa.  They are actively involved in church building projects, preschool education, food programs, and HIV/AIDS education programs within the congregations.  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. 

Since its beginnings, the Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church has served poor local communities.  At its headquarters church in Manzini, Swaziland, (the industrial capital of Swaziland and largest city in the country), there is an expanding and large youth membership.  Due to the growth in youth membership as well as needs of the youth in the surrounding community, the construction of the Youth and Community Conference Center in Manzini is extremely important.  The church and surrounding area will benefit in many ways from the youth center including: church youth programs for all thirty-six congregations, community youth programs, preschool for children under the age of six for both church and the community children.   Facilities also will be available for rental by other churches for conferences, weddings, and other events, generating income to serve more KZC programs. 

The Youth and Community Conference Center will address all these needs while remaining focused on the five key performance areas defined by the church which are: 1) Spiritual growth for the church, 2) Growth in church membership, 3) Financial and material sustenance, 4) Love and care for others, and 5) Administrative strength and sustainability.

The Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church has purchased a piece of land adjacent to its headquarters in Manzini.  The church plans to make use of this land by building the youth center and other new facilities to further its mission and ministry.  The building project is long term, planned in two phases:

Phase I – YOUTH CENTER

The first phase of their building project will be a Youth Center.  The site of the Youth Center on the purchased land already has been chosen and the church is currently in review by the city council to build the facility.  Maintenance and operational costs will be sustained by the church members; however, financial contributions are needed to begin the project.  Start-up monies also will be raised by charging minimal fees for training workshops, preschool, and conferences/meetings, and from the income for leased office space and a catering service that will operate out of the facility’s kitchen. 

Phase II – COMMUNITY AND CONFERENCE CENTER

The plan for the second phase of the construction project calls for a two-story building, which will serve as a Community and Conference Center.  The building will contain three conference rooms, a dining hall, laundry facilities, and guest rooms.  The church plans to rent out this facility for local conferences, workshops, and meetings, thereby providing much-needed employment for church and community members and a sustainable source of income for the church, enabling it to more fully meet its social objectives. 

Much of the generated income will enable the remainder of the building to be used as a community service center, especially for community support in response to the effects of HIV and AIDS.  A mini-clinic will supply basic medication, HIV/AIDS counseling, and an HIV voluntary testing facility.  Plans for a food pantry are also underway.  Additionally, a component of the project will focus on training young people in business skills, enabling them to start their own small businesses and make a living wage.  Over time, extra income from the project will be used to create and sustain a number of other humanitarian projects, especially those related to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care.

Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church is very excited to begin construction of these new facilities.  The full project is estimated to cost approximately $550,000 to complete over a number of years.  However, bank loan interest rates in Swaziland are very high, and the church is in need of funds in order to reduce the amount it must borrow from the bank.  The church is relying heavily on donations from church friends and donations from the church youth. 

Cost for construction per square meter is estimated at $365.  Furniture and equipment are estimated at $500 per room.

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