Zambia: Ending our activities at the Lusaka Office. We appreciate your support throughout all these years.

As of March 2019, we ended two activities (measures against HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child health care) which had been conducted at the Lusaka Office. Masaru MIKI, the last AAR Japan staff stationed at the Lusaka Office reports.
Clinic staff members, local volunteers, AAR Lusaka Office staff and Masaru MIKI (center, front) (March 11, 2019)

“We are grateful to everyone in Japan.”

Since we started the HIV/AIDS programs in September 2000, we had promoted awareness activities to prevent infection and manage patient care with the construction of medical centers and their maintenance. We also conducted medicinal support, training for medical volunteers, and educational aid for children who lost their parents to AIDS so they would be able to continue their studies.
Many orphans, who were in elementary school at the time, have since graduated. Two of those children, Cecilia Chipeta and Salome Tembo have been working as staff members at the Lusaka Office since 2015. Both of them lost their parents when they were little. They continued their education with the support of AAR Japan and finished high school. After that, they became AAR’s staff members to help children who were in the same situation as theirs. The following is their message to everyone who aided them.
a photo of Salome Tembo (left) and Cecilia Chipeta (right) taken in 2011. They have been close since they were students.
 “I thought that it would be my only chance in life, so I studied very hard.” Salome Tembo
“I got into a difficult financial situation when I became an orphan. I didn’t think that I would be able to finish school. But, fortunately, AAR Japan was there to support me and their help made me stronger. Keeping in mind that this could be my only chance in life, I avoided bad friends when they asked me to hang out with them and I studied harder than before.
Being employed by AAR Japan, I was able to not only help my family financially, but go to college and study while working. I am thankful for being able to gain experience as an assistant field coordinator in AAR Japan’s activities.”
Salome Tembo (right) listening to a mother who came to the mobile health clinic of our maternal and child health care project.

 “I studied with AAR Japan’s support and I’m now helping my family.” Cecilia Chipeta

“I received AAR Japan’s educational aid from fourth to twelve grade (the third year for Japanese high school). I lost my father when I was eight years old and I had to look after my sick mother. My grandmother also fell ill, so it was very difficult for me as a child. However, I was able to finish high school with AAR Japan’s support. I didn’t want to betray their help, so I never missed any classes.
My mother passed away in 2017 and I had to pay my brothers’ school fees and our living needs. Working for AAR Japan made that possible. Furthermore, I learned how to communicate with others through my job which involved local people. I had the experience to work with others more efficiently and gained this skill as a result. I am very grateful to everyone in Japan.”

A mother who visited the mobile health service of our maternal and child health care project, and Cecilia Chipeta (left) (March 2019)
 Salome and Cecilia’s success was very encouraging for us, since we supported them, and also for the orphans who received help from AAR Japan. Right now, there are two orphans studying in school. For their educational support and aid for their guardians’ living needs, the NPO  Cornerstone of hope, who helps children orphaned by AIDS, will take over the project. Zambia local coordinator, Ms. Ohko Mutale said to us, “I will continue the project that AAR Japan began and carefully nurtured. I would like to cultivate it as a source of hope for these suffering orphans from now on.”
Ms. Ohko Mutale (third from left), a Zambia local coordinator of ‘The Cornerstone Orphanage’ and Masaru MIKI, AAR Japan (fourth from left) (March 2019)

Protect lives of mothers and children

At a mobile health clinic, they weigh babies with a scale hung on a tree. (June, 2018)

Since February 2016, we had worked to decrease the high maternal and infant mortality rates in the area of Kafue near Lusaka, where there was a shortage of medical services. We built a clinic, a waiting room for childbirth and a staff residence in the area where people don’t usually have easy access to health services.

We provided medical equipment and also trained volunteers to promote maternal and child health care. In addition, we assisted the mobile health clinic with their rounds for gynecological checkups and vaccination in distant areas.
On March 15 of this year, the mothers who visited the mobile health clinic shared their stories with us, “Before, we had to walk to the clinic when the contractions started. Now, we can wait for our deliveries at ease since the waiting room was built. The number of deliveries at home (which have many risks) has decreased.” “With the aid of AAR Japan, the quality of the mobile health services has improved and now we are able to have a health checkup for children near my house.”

A look at a local volunteer (right). Visiting a home of an expectant mother and explaining the warning signs of pregnancy to a father. (June 2018)

“I don’t have to walk long distances anymore with AAR Japan’s support.” says Ms. Grace who visited the mobile health clinic (right) (March, 2019)
Because of our three years of activities, the users of the mobile health services have increased by 70% and the number of deliveries at the clinic has increased by 80%. Moreover, we were able to improve the medical environment for approximately 2,100 women and 2,300 children under the age of five.

 After ending our activities, the clinic staff volunteers and the provincial health department will continue maternal and children health care in Kafue. We are very grateful for all of your support for the activities operated at the Lusaka office until now.

In addition to the donations from all of you, these activities for maternal and children health were conducted by receiving a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lusaka office, Masaru MIKI
After finishing university and working at a private company, he engaged in volunteer activities in Kenya. He started working for AAR in July, 2015 after returning to Japan. He worked for publicity and emergency assistance at the Tokyo office, then, went to Zambia in March, 2018. He is from the Kumamoto Prefecture.

Japanese-English translation by Ms. Yukari Onda
English editing by Ms. Laura Peters

This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.