Past Projects

St Theresa’s Community Centre, Chainda, Lusaka, Zambia

Current Position
St Teresa Community Centre was opened in Spring 2014 by Bishop Mpundu Diocease of Lusaka, Zambia.

Bishop Mpundu made a special video message for the Spirit of Paul Mc Girr supporters. Click on the photo to view


The Journey

A short video of the journey to the completion of St Teresas Community Centre. Click the picture to view.


Background Information

The Catholic Parish of St Theresa’s is located in the district of Chainda on the outskirts of Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia and run by the SMA Fathers.  A landlocked country in sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia is a country of extreme poverty where the average wage is $50 per month and one in five suffer from HIV/AIDS. St Theresa’s Parish encompasses 20 sq miles in Chainda, a shanty compound with a population of 25,000 people. The area has 80% unemployment and access to water and sanitation is grossly inadequate.  Government assistance through social welfare is non-existent and the majority of people live in mud block homes with thatch or zinc sheet roofs.  HIV/AIDS has had a devastating effect on the local community as well as the wider society.

There are an estimated two million orphans in Zambia, with approximately 1,800 orphans in the Chainda compound.  The Aids pandemic has not only left children orphaned and vulnerable, but has meant children having to look after dying relatives and the elderly having to care for the young.  Many children are forced to live on the streets.  The social fabric of communities is greatly disturbed as there are fewer income earners and greater pressure on foster carers to find food for extra orphans.  Children cannot afford state education and so the vicious circle of deprivation and poverty continues.

New Parish Centre

The Catholic Church plays a significant role in trying to address the devastating effects of poverty and disease within Zambia.  For example, in St Theresa’s Parish, practical help is exemplified through the Parish Home Based Care program where community volunteers care for and provide basic medical needs and family support for 400 sick and infirm persons.  However this and other contributions are not enough, and therefore St. Theresa’s Parish completed a new multi-purpose parish centre in Chainda with the support of the Spirit of Paul Mc Girr’s volunteers and financial support.

The building comprises of a main hall, smaller rooms off the main hall for different activities, a small oratory for week day mass, and a parish office.  The centre caters for all members of the local community through its various programmes.

Centre Activities     

  • Medical Clinic to cater for the medical needs of the community
  • Pre-school to provide day care for orphans and vulnerable children.
  • Adult Education Classes covering areas such as literacy, numeracy, behaviour change, correct healthcare practices and Aids awareness and sensitisation.
  • Computer Literacy Classes to improve the employability of adults.
  • Dress making and tailoring facilities including sewing machines and knitting for women to make goods to sell at the market as an Income Generating Activity (IGA).
  • Hairdressing and Braiding (also IGA).
  • Home Economics to train men and women cooking, which will also be used for in-house catering for community functions.
  • Religious Instruction and Small Christian Communities (SCC’s) will meet to discuss the teachings of the Church and promote the involvement of Laity.
  • Workshops, for example, how to start and run a small business.

The Centre is used for:

  • Youth Activities
  • Plays, Concerts
  • Choir Practice
  • Indoor Games
  • Community Meetings
  • Sunday Mass will be celebrated in the main hall.

A small rental fee is charged to each small business to cover the administration costs of the centre, which will contribute to its self-sustainability.

Present Church and Grounds The existing Church buildings will receive basic renovations and be turned into a Skills Training Centre. Young men will learn carpentry, welding, motor mechanics, brick laying and arts and crafts (woodwork carvings).  In addition a course will also teach effective and proper agricultural practices.  Small Units and Loans will be provided to enable people to start their own businesses.