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Fighting for social justice and the well-being of African children in poverty

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Every day, Sr. Matilda and her congregation are working towards equality for all people, especially children. Here are some of the girls they care for, including two sisters, Margaret and Cecilia.

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Sr. Matilda discusses how being a "Good Samaritan" saved two young girls who were abandoned by their father at an early age.

Every human being faces challenges, pain and suffering in their lives. Our challenges are unique and we face them with different levels of resilience. Unfortunately, many children in Africa are facing hurdles that seem far too unjust to overcome. This was the case for two young sisters, Margaret and Cecilia. Abandoned by their father, the sisters had to grow up much faster than most children.

Sr. Matilda Komiwe Banda studied administration through ASEC’s Sister’s Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program. She and her congregation, the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (OP) in Zambia, work in social welfare and see cases of abandoned children like Margaret and Cecilia far too often. 

The girls’ father was a truck driver and would leave the girls for days on end. They often would not eat and lived in an uninhabitable home with no one to care for them. It was difficult to do well in school with hunger pangs rumbling in their bellies. Although they were forced to be adults, they didn’t think like adults and could not understand their desperate situation. The girls would often ask, “Where are the Good Samaritans?” that they learned of in the Bible.

But when a Samaritan on a journey came upon him, he looked at him and had compassion. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Luke 10:34

The Samaritan risked his life for a stranger because Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me’ Matthew 25:40.

Margaret and Cecilia went a long time without a Good Samaritan to save them. Their father left them for days without a thought of what they would eat. Their nearby neighbors had nothing to give them as they were also struggling to have enough.

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Younger sister Margaret (pink dress) and big sister Cecilia (stripes) pose for a photo. Because of the acts of Good Samaritans, Margaret and Cecilia are now thriving. Today the two sisters are very responsible, hardworking girls.

Younger sister Margaret (pink dress) and big sister Cecilia (stripes) pose for a photo. Because of the acts of Good Samaritans, Margaret and Cecilia are now thriving. Today the two sisters are very responsible, hardworking girls.

Thanks be to God, these children have been taken to institutional homes by Sr. Matilda and her congregation. Their new home is like an oasis in the desert where they have all of their basic needs provided. Because of the acts of Good Samaritans, Margaret and Cecilia are now thriving. Today the two sisters are very responsible, hardworking girls. They are both fluent readers and are academically gifted and very pleasant to be with. These girls are the lucky ones because the story doesn’t always end this way. In Zambia, there are still many children living on the streets.

Sr. Matilda (standing, left) with her fellow ASEC classmates during the 2018 annual alumnae meeting in Zambia.

Sr. Matilda (standing, left) with her fellow ASEC classmates during the 2018 annual alumnae meeting in Zambia.

Every day, Sr. Matilda and her congregation are working towards equality for all people, especially children. She uses the skills she's learned in the SLDI program to make a difference, but the fight for social justice takes its toll on her.

“We have a lot of disparities. The gap between the rich and the poor is so vast. Those who have more they are unable to eat and yet those who do not have the means are craving for their daily bread. Where is the social responsibility of the rich?” says Sr. Matilda.  “Jesus would say they have eyes but they cannot see, they have ears they cannot hear. Are the people unable to see the needs of their neighbor like the rich man and Lazarus?”

How can I be a Good Samaritan?

Perhaps providing educational opportunities for sisters in Africa is your way to be the Good Samaritan. There are so many sisters, just like Sr. Matilda, who are working for social justice and the welfare of children in Africa. The children are counting on them… but who will they count on to gain the skills they need to carry out their important work? You can be a Ray of Hope and join ASEC in educating African sisters and creating sustainable change to end injustice and poverty in Africa.

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This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

End poverty in all its forms everywhere End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning Reduce inequality within and among countries
Sr. Matilda Komiwe Banda, OP


Profiled in article
SLDI Alumna, Administration Track - Zambia  

Amy Fedele


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Web Content Manager  

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