Some four years ago, an infant boy was born to a teenage girl who had found a loving home at the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Lusaka, Zambia, and into the caring arms of its founder and director Angela Miyanda.
It was subsequently learned as a toddler that he was born deaf and with the inability to speak, but that doesn’t prevent him from learning as Angela reported recently that “He is the most intelligent toddler you can meet.
“He is so smart; his disability has not been a challenge to him,” Angela added, saying “he cares a lot for others. He loves cars and is always curious to see and experience new things.”
Not long ago, “he started crying to start school,” eager to learn, and following a medical assessment it was confirmed that he would need to attend a special school for hard-of-hearing children.
He started school earlier this year and is already showing talent in speaking utilizing sign language, Angela reported.
When he was born, Angela and the young mother agreed that her son needed a special name and chose the name “Michael” in honor of a loyal, longtime and generous supporter of Bread and Water for Africa®, and specifically the Kabwata orphanage, Michael Salkeld.
Mr. Salkeld and his wife, Delane, who are not only partners in life but also in business, developed a longstanding business relationship and friendship beginning in the early-to-mid 1990s with CRSC Residential, Inc., and Bryan Krizek, President and CEO of Christian Relief Services Charities, the umbrella organization of Bread and Water for Africa® and CRSC Residential.
Mr. Salkeld explained in 2022, that in the early 2000s he and Delane founded ParaWest Management-Apartment Investment Specialists, and then in 2012 founded ParaWest Group, which included CRSC Residential Inc., through its President and CEO Bryan Krizek as a principal, bringing to the table their decades of experience in multi-family investments and operations in select markets.
Michael and Delane, who supported charities locally, wanted to support a charity with a global outreach, and knowing Bryan as CEO of Christian Relief Service which supports charitable organizations in Africa, “but we really didn’t know what,” says Michael.
Bryan put Michael in touch with Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema to discuss the various programs the organization was supporting at the time in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“After a lot of consideration, Delane and I landed on Kabwata,” said Michael. “I’m thrilled to say we’ve supported them ever since.”
Michael explained that while they may have “started off small,” initially funding the construction of a water well “in a small dusty village just outside of Lusaka, but through the years we’ve done an awful lot” to include constructing a medical clinic and supporting medical and educational programs.
“But, most importantly, we’ve supported the orphanage and the kids, and met their needs through these years,” adding that “and over these past 10 years a lot of those kids have now grown up and become adults and live very successful lives.”
“We are very thrilled to be a part of the Kabwata orphanage and working with Bread and Water for Africa®.”
And as for little Michael, who without Angela, Michael Salkheld and Bread and Water for Africa®, our greatest fear had been – if he had even survived infancy (which currently in Zambia is nearly 40 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 7.2 in the U.S.) – is that he likely would have been used to beg on the streets for his “livelihood.”
But thankfully, today little Micheal is striving each and every day to overcome his lack of hearing and speech, which is quickly becoming no longer a “disability” for this young child who is just one of the thousands who have been blessed by true guardian angels such as Angela and Michael, and the thousands of supporters in the U.S. through their generosity to Bread and Water for Africa® year after year.