0SOCIETY of Jesus, Zambia-Malawi Jesuits COVID-19 Response Team (ZAM COVID-19) says since the commencement of the COVID-19 project, there has emerged an increasing demand for psychosocial counseling.
Coordinator of the initiative Fr Andrew Simpasa, speaking on behalf of the Provincial of the Society of Jesus of Zambia-Malawi Province Fr Leonard Chiti, said the adverse socioeconomic conditions wrought about by COVID-19 on households have been a contributing factor to the upswing in the demand for psychosocial counseling.
The ZAM COVID-19 response has donated food hampers to nine recipients to help in mitigating the adverse socioeconomic effects of the pandemic on vulnerable and poor households.
Fr Simpasa noted during the event that poverty levels and margilisation was extremely high in various communities in Zambia on account of the sluggish performance of the economy in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, hence the response from the Jesuit community of Zambia and Malawi.
Fr Simpasa said the intervention by the Jesuits in mitigating the socioeconomic deprivation of some households, on account of the effects of COVID-19 in Zambia and Malawi was premised on two pillars of containment and mitigation and in this particular case, the Jesuits’ response was on mitigation.
He noted that the intervention by the Jesuits in Zambia and Malawi was consistent with the universal apostolic preferences of the Society of Jesus, in particular pillar no. II which exhorts the Jesuits to “accompany and walk with the excluded.”
“As Jesuits we realised the need to find a way of mitigating the suffering of the people. Poverty levels are already high in our communities and then came in the COVID-19. We have partners from within and outside who are making these donations possible. We have a total of 1,500 hampers under this phase,” Fr Simpasa said. “Let me thank you all for coming to collect these food hampers and on behalf of the Jesuit community for the Zambia Malawi Province, let me take this opportunity to assure that this kind of assistance shall continue so that we continue lessening the burden of the poor, the vulnerable and marginalised brothers and sisters in our communities during this time of COVID-19.”
The parishes and institutions that received the donations during the event included Kazimva Parish (150 hampers), St Kizito Parish (200 hampers), Lilanda Parish (150), Seko Orphanage (50), Radio Maria (50), Bwacha Parish (300), St Joseph (Chilenje – 200 hampers), St Joseph Kanyama Parish (50) and St Joseph Hospital in Luangwa (300 hampers).
Each food hamper comprises a 25kg bag of mealie meal, a bag of Soya pieces, a 2.5lt container of cooking oil, a 2kg bag of sugar and some detergents.
This is according to a statement issued by Enock Ngoma of the media team at ZAM Covid Response.