The Maryknoll Sisters in Zimbabwe are proud and happy to announce that a community library in Mabvuku, an urban township on the outskirts of Harare, has been named after Maryknoll Sister, Sr. Kathleen Barbee M.M. This honor is due to Sister Kathleen’s amazing mission work, she is a teacher and the majority of her students are HIV/AIDS orphans. She not only teaches this group of kids, but motivates them to remain in school after their parents have died.
Throughout the years, Sister Kathleen saw the increased need for aid and education for the children in this area and in 2001 founded the Mavambo Project, which offers an accelerated learning program to youth who had dropped out of school, or who had never attended. It enabled them, after a two-year crash course, to catch up to their grade level and be inserted into the formal education system.
Mavambo also provides counseling to the children and to the care givers who have ‘adopted’ them, usually members of the extended family. Thousands of children have passed through this program that is a model and prototype for early childhood learning and care of orphans.
The Sister Kathleen Barbee Community Library will officially have its opening ceremony on May 13th. Hundreds of township residents, teachers, students, parents, priests, religious and the Maryknoll Sisters will attend. The work of Mavambo continues and has been extended to other areas of the country. Many of the original staff are still with this creative initiative that has enjoyed the support of the Redemptorists and many local and international donor partners.