AUDREY MWAPE writes
Lydia Chisanga Sakeni-Luka’s story began in the small town of Chililabombwe, on the Copperbelt Province, where she was born. Raised among her 9 siblings Lydia’s passion for helping others was identified by her siblings who later nick-named her “mama waluse” meaning mother of mercy because of the way she treated other children from the neighborhood.
Born from the late Mr Paul Sakeni and Beatrice Chapela-Sakeni, Lydia was among privileged children in her community whose father was a foreman in the mines and mother was a teacher.
Being raised by working parents Lydia always felt the need to help other children who did not have the things and opportunities she had, she ended up giving up her clothes and shoes to the less fortunate at a tender age, from those acts of kindness she found her purpose in life.
She completed her secondary education at Kasama Secondary School, she further went on and got her diploma from Faith International Bible College, in which she majored in Psychosocial Counseling and has a certificate in Monitoring and Evaluation which she got from the University of Zambia, she is also accredited with the International labor organization with a certificate in HIV education and sensitization, business administration and entrepreneurship.
After graduation Lydia got married to Rev Bright Luka and worked as a credit collector for supreme furniture in Ndola and her husband was in college at that time at Northern Technical College (NORTEC) Unfortunately Lydia’s husband fell sick and that was when the harsh reality hit.
The husband had to be transferred to the university teaching hospital to seek special treatment and that how she stopped her work and her family relocated to Lusaka.
Having relocated to Lusaka, husband on recovery and out of employment Lydia’s family had to struggle for survival. Upon recovery the husband got into employment as a casual worker whose pay was k180 per month and their house rental was close to the very amount where they were staying in kalingalinga.
Many nights and days they slept on empty stomachs and being conjoined to another house did not make things easier because the children would go begging to their next-door neighbors and this made Lydia cry herself to sleep and at this point, she asked God to use her talents and gifts to help sustain her family.
Lydia sold her only pair of shoes at K25. From that money, she bought flip-flops (patapatas) at K15, in the K10 change bought flour,cooking oil and made fritters, this was her capital.
She made a vow to God, that if He blessed her business, she would in return be a channel of blessings to others from day one of her sales. Lydia has since then been a blessing to many people’s lives.
Today she owns two shops with her husband and is the founder/Executive Director of Bukata Empowerment Foundation. She founded Bukata Empowerment Foundation because she had a vision which was realized in her childhood, which was to help the community and less privileged. Because she knew exactly the problems that exist in some of the lowest echelons of societies in Zambia and because of her love for her fellow country men and women.
Lydia through Bukata Empowerment Foundation has helped about 4000 people in different ways since the organization’s inception. She has helped vulnerable people of Zambia from different towns that have cancer and tumors who cannot afford medical treatment.
Her organization has managed to help 200 children who dropped out of school due to difficult circumstances and hardships and have taken them back to school with her movement “Go Back to School Campaign.” These children are from Kalikiliki, Mutendere, Mutendere East and Kalingalinga. She bought them desks, uniforms, shoes and all the basic tools for education.
Lydia is big on empowerment; as a result, her organization aims at empowering people. She has so far helped youths to get jobs in order to raise money for their business enterprise so that they can go back to school.
She has taught them entrepreneurship, furthermore she has helped other members of the communities in Lusaka to get jobs and runs entrepreneurship workshops with them, teaching them the importance of saving.
Lydia as another movement called ” Mayo Mpapa Naine Nkakupapa” Movement by BEF, through this movement she is taking care of 690 senior members of society from different compounds.
Lydia aspires to see her country and its people prosper in peace, love and joy. She is truly is Mama Waluse. A name that started as a tease by her siblings now has been given to her because of the work, love and care she shows for the communities in Zambia.