In 1959 a group of Dutch and Belgian brothers left for what at that time was South West Africa and now is called Namibia. They made a significant contribution to education in the country. Still now the (former) CMM schools in Windhoek and in Sambyu-Rundu are quite well known. In 2022, the Brothers CMM extended their mission to Zambia.
Brothers in Namibia
Right now there are two communities in Windhoek. The number of vocations in Namibia is diminishing, but from the neighbour countries, such as Zambia, we receive more and more postulants. The last Dutch brother went back to the Netherlands in 2016.
At the moment the brothers have no institutions in Namibia. The young brothers of Namibia are nearly all still in formation; besides their studies, they are also involved in pastoral work and in church building.
Tradition in education
The brothers in Namibia have a real tradition in education. In 1962 the brothers started a school in Windhoek: St. Paul’s College. Since 1991 this school is led by laypersons. However, the brothers still feel involved in this school.
In 1995, the brothers started a secondary school in the north of Namibia, in Sambyu. Also this school was taken over by laymen in later years, but some brothers continued teaching at this school. At the end of 2013 their involvement in the school stopped and the community in Sambyu was closed.
Shelter of abandoned children
In October 2010, the congregation took over the daily management of the ‘Children Education Centre’ (CEC) in Usakos, a project for the shelter for abandoned and neglected children. This project was started in the 1990s by a Dutch couple. After a year of running the project the brothers had to stop; there were at that moment not enough capable brothers to run the project. Currently the congregation is only involved in the administration of the project.
Brothers in Zambia
From 2018, the brothers explored opportunities to start a new mission in Zambia. The bishop of the Diocese of Mansa was very interested in the brothers’ work, and in early 2020, the general board received an official invitation from Bishop Patrick Chisanga O.F.M. Conv. to open a new mission in the Diocese of Mansa, in Kawambwa district, in northern Zambia. The new community in Kawambwa is dedicated to the patron saint St Joseph, husband of Mary.
There are relatively many young people in Kawambwa district, and they have their own questions and issues. So there is a need for people who can guide these young people through youth chaplaincy.
St. Mary’s Vocational Training Centre
Facilities in Kawambwa include a centre with facilities for a tailoring and carpentry workshop: St. Mary’s Vocational Training Centre. These facilities were not fully utilised, while proper training in these trades is an employment and income opportunity for young people. In particular, the carpentry workshop needed to be redeveloped. The new training in the carpentry workshop, led by the Brothers CMM, started in the beginning of 2023.