Presentation Sisters’ African Mission
“It is with both a sad and grateful heart I’m writing to you today. My heart is sad, because I need to tell you that I will be leaving Zambia the end of December (2016). However, I’m filled with great gratitude for the past seven years of living and ministering in this wonderful place that is so graced by God’s presence! I’m grateful for each of you who have enabled this ministry to continue and prosper!
We thank you so very much for your interest, your donations, and especially your prayers throughout the years. All of the development we have been able to do is because of your generosity. May God continue to bless you in abundance for your beautiful and caring hearts. Let us all continue to keep the people of Kalomo and all those made poor in our hearts and prayers. God bless you all!” Sister Deb Nelson
In December 2016, due to the rising ages of Sisters and a declining number of Sisters in the area, a decision was made to close the Mission in Kalomo, Zambia. Throughout the past 23 years, Sisters from Ireland, India, New Zealand, Zambia and the United States have graciously served the people of this region. Responsibility for the sustainability of the projects has transitioned to the local Zambian people, who have been working alongside the sisters.
Although we are no longer accepting donations for the Kalomo Mission, we are grateful to all of our partners who have joined with us, as together we have changed, and continue to change, the lives of those across the globe.
Listed below is an overview of the outreach, development and projects you have enabled Sister Deb to administer during her time in Kalomo over the past seven years:
Construction of our Skills Training Center
The largest project completed in Kaoma has been the building of a Skills Training Center. The center, for youth and adults, includes a modern computer technology area where computer skills are taught internet access available to individuals. This Center has been especially beneficial for school students, those wanting to attend university, teachers, police officers, ministers, business people, and those hoping to obtain a government job. There is also a classroom for teaching adult literacy. Many adults in Zambia have never had the opportunity to attend school, but because of you, we are providing them this opportunity! Students learn how to read and write along with other basic things most of us take for granted. One student recently said that he wants to be able to go into a bank and know what to do! There is also a conference room to hold meetings and various kinds of educational workshops.
With your assistance, over 500 students from preschool through university have been able to attend school. Education is supposed to be free, but the schools can’t function without charging some fees. If the students don’t pay, they get chased from school until the fees can be found. Education is really the only way out of poverty, so many of the Kalomo efforts have revolved around education, which has always been one of the main mission directions of Presentation Sisters throughout history, beginning with our foundress Nano Nagle.
Child Headed Homes Building Project
Together, we have joined together and built several homes for young people living alone without any adult to guide them. This project began because of the story of Kenny, Danny and Nipo, the young boys who were living in a small one room mud hut that collapsed in the heavy rains. They were sleeping on the dirt floor at night with one blanket to keep them warm during the cold season. We approached you, our friends, donors and partners with the hope of building homes for children such as these. Your responses were abundant and generous!
Kids Against Hunger Food Relief
Your generosity has allowed us to receive at least four containers of Kids Against Hunger food relief for the malnourished, vulnerable and sick. The food that arrived from both South Dakota and Illinois was enough to feed several hundreds of thousands of people. Visitors come to our door everyday looking for rice.
Housing and Clean Water
We have built a house for very poor farm workers on the Home Based Care Farm and drilled a well for clean drinking water for all the neighbors around. We have also provided many other necessities for all of our workers, including food and education for their children.
Presentation Sister in Ministry
Sister Deb Nelson graduated from Mobridge High School and attended Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota, earning an Associate’s Degree in Child Development. She went on to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Creighton University and a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Loyola University. She previously served in ministry with youth and adults in both Sioux Falls and Aberdeen, South Dakota. She also served as director of youth ministry and religious education for two parishes, Miller and Brookings, South Dakota. Since April 2010, Sister Deb ministered in Kalomo, Zambia, Africa. Sister Deb is now in prayerful discernment of her next ministry.