By Sophie Astles
Share the Light is based on the vision of St John Bosco and his four key areas defined for working with young people: Home; School; Church and Playground. Although Share the Light only became a registered charity in 2016, it has existed as a concept at Salesian College Farnborough for many years. Sean Devereux was School Captain at the Farnborough college from 1981 to 1982. After leaving the college, he went on to dedicate his life to serving others, working with several charities across Africa. In 1993, he was killed while working in Somalia on a UNICEF aid programme. His ethos and mission to help those less fortunate underpins the work done by “Share the Light”.
The college’s links with Mazabuka, Zambia, are a little more recent and stem from the head of Sixth Form, Richard Maher. Richard spent several years living and working in Zambia after leaving university, and while he was there, he met Mrs Mweete, who has been instrumental in founding Share the Light. While working as head teacher at Luyobolola Community School, Mrs Mweete noticed that an alarming number of students were dropping out of education due to a lack of sponsorship, and it was through her intention to combat this that “Share the Light” was born. The charity has grown in recent years and now encompasses a Scholarship Programme, a Porridge Club, and the City of Joy.
The City of Joy is an orphanage in Mazabuka run by the Salesian Sisters. It is home to an ever-growing number of girls and young women who, for a variety of circumstances, are unable to live with their families. Share the Light aims to help cater for the medical requirements of the girls and young women, provide clothing and school uniforms, school equipment, and help to meet their nutritional needs. In addition, it helps to provide transport to enable groups from the City of Joy to travel out together and in safety, as well as in the maintenance of fencing to keep their boundaries secure.
The Scholarship Programme focuses on providing children and young people with stable access to education, in order to enable them to achieve their goals and reach a brighter future. The charity offers both financial and practical help to students at all levels of education, including primary, secondary and further education.
The Porridge Club is the longest running of Salesian College Farnborough’s links to Mazabuka. Its concept is simple: to provide as many of the 700 pupils at Luyobolola Community Primary School as possible with a nutritious meal every day. The porridge provided at school not only gives the children vital nutrients, but has improved attendance, as well as students’ ability to concentrate and learn. The Nutrition Programme also works to support the community in Mazabuka by providing essential food items, clothing and blankets for those who are sick or out of work. It is an essential lifeline for those in need.
“Share the Light” is a charity with an emphasis on empowerment. It aims to support young people in achieving their ambitions and bettering their futures, with a central focus on education as a key tool for change. In 2012, the first group of advocates spent two weeks in Zambia. They had the chance to experience first-hand the value of the work being done by the City of Joy and in the wider community. This experience inspired all twelve students and cemented the links of friendship that became the foundation for the Advocates Programme. The long-term goal is for the charity to be run by the advocates, and a growing number of ex-students meet every year to share their experiences, ideas and objectives for the charity’s future.
Source: Salesians GBR