Sister Celestine Daly

Sister Celestine Daly is a Sister of Mercy that left Ireland in 1988 to work in Africa in Southern Zambia. Zambia is a country of ten million people. It has had a peaceful existence since gaining independence in 1964.

When we first met Sister Celestine, she was in great need of material support to help these children. While some children still have one or both parents (although frequently ill from AIDS or other medical conditions), many are orphans being cared for by relatives and help from Sisters of Charity. The needs greatly exceed the resources available and too many go to bed sick and hungry.

Life expectancy is only about 35 years. The biggest health care problem in Zambia today is AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome caused by the HIV virus). It is estimated that 3 out of 5 Zambians are infected with the HIV virus. The AIDS epidemic is affecting predominantly the young adult population, the group upon which the social network relies on: teachers, nurses, policemen, farm workers and other civil servants. Frequently the surviving parent is also sick of AIDS or from other endemic diseases common in Zambia (i.e., tuberculosis, malaria). Children are left orphan and/or abandoned with no resources. There may be up to 700,000 orphans in Zambia now.

Our ministry is in the Mazabuka area, 125 kilometers south of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. We work improving the infrastructure of schools, providing training for teachers, and feeding, clothing or providing what may be needed so many poor children may achieve a basic education. Home-based care for AIDS patients is an important aspect of our work. Every effort is made to improve the quality of care for patients in the local district hospital.

Finally, as we care for feeding the hungry and treating their many diseases, we are involved in a prayer ministry, parish ministry and catechetical work in response to the great hunger for the Word of God in this area stricken by extreme poverty.

Children in Need has provided new hope for children to attend school and receive care at the Mazabuka District Hospital. The community is extremely grateful to Children in Need for all they provide to keep many schools and the district Hospital working to serve their communities.