The world renowned Victoria Falls forms the natural boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
A place of great natural beauty and inspiration.
In 1971 the Mercy Sisters set out for Zambia to devote their time and energy in supporting the Zambian people in the areas of health and education.
Looking back over the years we saw Zambia emerging from colonial times and facing major challenges. Domestically, there were few trained and educated Zambians capable of running the government and the economy was largely dependent on foreign expertise. There was also a dearth of teachers and nurses and this was offset by many young professionals from Ireland and elsewhere coming to Zambia at that time.
In the mid 1970s, the price of copper, Zambia’s principal export, suffered a severe decline worldwide. Zambia turned to foreign and international lenders for relief but as copper prices remained depressed, it became increasingly difficult to service its growing debt and this was the beginning of Zambia – once a middle-income country-sliding into poverty.
Added to this was a severe famine in 1983 and 1989, the cattle corridor disease in 1981 and 1987 and the influx of refugees from the neighbouring countries who were fighting for their independence.
The greatest tragedy of all to befall Zambia was HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s. No words can describe the suffering and hopelessness of people at that time and it still continues to ravage Zambian economic, political, cultural, and social development for the foreseeable future.
*About two-thirds of Zambians live in poverty. Zambia is also one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most highly urbanised countries. Over one-third of the country’s 13.5 million people are concentrated in a few urban zones strung along the major transportation corridors, while rural areas are under-populated. Unemployment and under-employment are serious problems.
‘Faith without good works is dead’ (according to St. Paul) and these words have inspired us to work for integral human development and to use our God-given talents in co-creating a haven of peace and prosperity in Zambia.
It is now 40 years since we, the Sisters of Mercy, came to Zambia. The years brought many changes in our ministries. Once we were twenty sisters and now we are seven. We moved from structured ministries to unstructured ministries.
Click here to read about our work in Zambia