The charity, Mpongwe’s People, as we are now known, was the inspiration of a group of ordinary people who visited Mpongwe Mission in Zambia in 2007. For some in the group it was their first experience of Africa. After spending three weeks out there living alongside the people and seeing firsthand many of the day to day struggles that are faced by the locals, the group wanted to do something to make a difference.
A few months later Mpongwe’s People was registered with the Charity Commission in March 2008. Since then about seventy individual visits have been made to Mpongwe by folks from St. Cleers Chapel, Somerton, Somerset, other churches in the area and members of the community. Visitors have got involved with lots of different projects which have varied from maintenance in the hospital to encouraging local women to form sewing groups. Although much has been achieved to support the work of Mpongwe Mission during this period, visitors have also been greatly helped and encouraged by their time spent there.
In addition people who have been unable to visit personally have got involved with other means of support back at home and it has been wonderful to see the effect our involvement with the folks of Mpongwe has had on us as a church and wider community. Relationships between visitors and local Zambians have strengthened and friendships made. From the perspective of the Zambians they are encouraged by people coming to share in their daily lives and request that we continue to visit.
The mission, originally founded by Swedish missionaries in the early 1930’s has been involved in medical and church work throughout its history
In 2007 the ownership of the mission was formally handed over to the Mpongwe Baptist Association and the local Zambian leaders inherited a great task to keep things running. A one hundred bed hospital, sixty properties on the mission and one hundred and seventy plus churches, make up their legacy. The task was daunting but over the past few years the Zambian Board has been drawing together various partner organisations to help them in their task.
As a result of this decision we are now collaborating on a regular basis with groups from Sweden to support the work at Mpongwe in a more strategic way.
What does the future hold for Mpongwe’s People? We have a great team of trustees and other supporters and people are investing a lot of their resources, gifts and time.
We know we are in a long term relationship with the people of Mpongwe. For example when you start supporting orphans you know you can’t just walk away if you get bored or tired and so rather like the long distance runner we’re digging in for the long haul.
Dr. Ant Webb (chair of trustees)