Sept. 21, 2005
By Andra Stevens*
Zimbabwe (UMNS) — United Methodist-related Africa University is
reaching out to assist displaced families in communities devastated by
The university, based in Mutare, has donated a
shipment of bedding, originally designated for ministries in Africa, to
ongoing efforts to care and provide for evacuees in Louisiana and
“We know how it feels to lose everything,” said Vice Chancellor Rukudzo
Murapa. “There are students, faculty and staff here who are and have
been refugees, so we know firsthand what those affected by Katrina are
going through and facing. We feel honored to be able, out of our meager
resources, to assist persons who need immediate help.”
donation, consisting of about 15,000 sheets and pillowcases, was a gift
to Africa University from one of its partners, Methodist Healthcare in
Memphis, Tenn. When Methodist Healthcare made the gift last December,
the shipment was sent to a warehouse operated by Christian Alliance for
Humanitarian Aid in Houston to await delivery by container to Zimbabwe.
The bedding was due to leave the United States in October, but the
university decided the evacuees needed it more.
Through in-kind support from Federal Express, the bedding is being delivered to Baton Rouge, La., and Jackson, Miss.
than anything, Africa University’s ability to be a part of this
humanitarian effort is evidence of the power and commitment of the
United Methodist connection,” said James Salley, the university’s
associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement.
United Methodists were among those who felt Katrina’s catastrophic
force, congregations in the affected states pulled together to offer
their churches and homes as shelters and to provide relief and comfort
wherever they could. They’re being supported by the United Methodist
Committee on Relief and through donations, the mobilization of
volunteers and other efforts throughout the church.
“This is an opportunity for us to show and give back some of the love
and compassion that has been shown to Africa University and Africa by so
many people in the United States, especially in Louisiana and
Mississippi,” Salley said.
Last June, United Methodist churches
in both Louisiana and Mississippi launched million-dollar campaigns to
assist Africa University in its mission to train professionals and
leaders for Africa. The campaigns were focused on providing scholarships
for disadvantaged students and facilities for teaching and academic
Communities that were poised for greater outreach to
Africa were crippled by the storm. Hurricane Katrina inflicted heavy
damage and left hundreds dead after it hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29 and
moved inland. As much as 80 percent of the city of New Orleans was
flooded, vital services were disrupted and people were cut off from
Africa University opened in March 1992 as the first private
university in Zimbabwe and the only university related to the worldwide
United Methodist Church by action of General Conference. The university
has a current enrollment of more than 1,200 young people from 22 African
*Stevens is director of information and public affairs at Africa University.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.