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The Sisters of Saint Francis and the Mama Bakhita Center

The Mama Bakhita Center was developed by the Sisters of St. Francis in 1996 to address the widespread problem of ignoring or hiding children with disabilities in the local community. They began with fifteen children with different physical and mental disabilities. Today the Center has 147 registered children.

Their services include physiotherapy, special education, outreach programs, medical referrals, a nutritional program, life skills and adult education for families with physically challenged children. If necessary, children are taken to Lusaka for free medical services at the Italian hospital there.

They do all of this badly needed work on a shoestring budget.

Each day new families present themselves, many of whom must be turned away. The need for The Mama Bakhita Center’s services is ever present and they are always looking for ways to increase their level of support.

Next February, 2021 the AACDP is planning a service learning tour to the Mama Bakhita Center in Livingstone, Zambia. Right now, the country has opened up because virus cases are Their guest house can lodge up to 10 people. If you have always wanted to see Africa but did not know how to go about planning a trip, come with us! Experience Africa beyond tourism.

Whenever possible we will recommence the Italian Tours, perhaps in April or September, 2021, if permitted and safe to go. Send your email to with "Tours” in the subject line and we’ll keep you posted about any and all upcoming tours.

100% of the profit from the tours goes to supporting the Mama Bakhita Center and other projects connected to children with disabilities Send your email to with “Service Tour” in the subject line and we’ll keep you posted.

You can make a life-changing donation today at our "How You Can Help" page..

Sister Immaculata, from the Sisters of St. Francisin Livingstone, Zambia

Here are the stories of three children:

Maureen Musungu was born with a cleft palate. Because of this she was unable to nurse as an infant and was slowly starving. Fortunately, the mission hospital in the remote Kazugula district where her family lived referred them to the Mama Bakhita Center when Maureen was three months old. The Sisters were able to convince the family to allow the baby to be operated on at the Italian hospital in Lusaka. The operation was a success and the baby is able to eat and put on weight.

Julius Siamate is from Mukuni Village, a large traditional village near Livingstone where wood carvers have been working since the 1300s. Julius lost both of his parents to AIDS at 17 years old. He has struggled with severely clubbed feet all his life. Unable to wear shoes, this shy boy rarely attends school. The Mukuni community did not trust hospitals or the big city six hours away and discouraged him from going with Sr. Agnes of the Mama Bakhita Center. Nonetheless, his first foot was repaired and he is scheduled for the second operation next month. He has resumed his education at Mukuni Basic School.

George Chilwalo grew up being teased by his peers because one of his legs was shorter than the other.

George was assessed at the Mama Bakhita Center and taken to Lusaka where he was fitted for a raised shoe. This simple solution allowed George to play normally and he is back in school.

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