Monday, August 6, 2007

New Hope in Zambia

This past Friday marked the opening of our latest Children International community center, located in the impoverished neighborhood of Chibolya, in Lusaka, Zambia. A number of distinguished guests attended the festivities, including the Patrick Olson family, Jodie Emmett and various Zambian dignitaries -- including the vice president of Zambia, Rupiah Banda. Clementina Chapusha, our communications coordinator in Lusaka, wrote the following account of the inauguration ceremony:

"The newly built David Emmett Community Centre in Zambia’s Chibolya compound was a hive of activity on Friday when people from all walks of life met to witness the official opening of the centre.

Among those in attendance were children, parents/volunteers, sponsors, government officials, heads of departments and institutions, the mayor of Lusaka City, the area member of parliament, CI staff and the vice president of Zambia, Rupiah Banda.

As a way of showing their appreciation, the children performed a lot of dances and recited poems, much to the amazement of the crowd. The children highlighted the need for government and its cooperating partners to work together in the fight against diseases such as AIDS which had left most of them orphaned.

The sponsors were also taken by surprise as they did not expect to see what they were seeing during the inauguration. Guest of honor Patrick Olson was visibly touched by the performance from the children and their plea to the public about their rights.

The sponsors then joined the children in their dance to show the children that they were loved and therefore were not alone.

Zambia’s vice president, Rupiah Banda, could not hide his joy.

‘There is something very unique about Children International and I think it is important to acknowledge this publicly. The funds this non-profit organization uses for such programmes, including the construction of this centre we are opening today, come from ordinary people in America who give willingly without wanting anything in return.”

The vice president then asked the sponsors to stand and be recognized for their benevolence.

After the inauguration ceremony, the mayor of the City of Lusaka, Stephen Chilatu, invited the sponsors and CI's vice president for development and marketing, Brian Anderson, to his office to sign the visitors’ book.

Brian Anderson took this opportunity to appeal to the mayor to assist CI with acquisition of land for the third centre."

The Children International David C. Emmett Center is bringing new hope to thousands of poor children in Zambia. We extend our sincere thanks to all who have worked and contributed to make this and other centers like it around the world possible.

Zambian Vice President Rupiah Banda cuts the ribbon.

Vice President Banda (center) poses with the children and the guests of honor.

The children presented some typical Zambian dances, and some of the guests joined right in.

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