A Catholic Priest has challenged young people in communities to belong to benevolent associations which will support them and their relatives in case of death.
Father Emmanuel Ngugi of St. Peter Claver’s Catholic Church in Nairobi County advised young people to belong to welfare organizations at their workplace and the communities where they live.
The Catholic cleric while contributing to the benevolent issue during the 22nd Annual General Meeting at the Holy Family Basilica said it was important for all and sundry to belong to some welfare organizations without thinking that other people with families will benefit more incase death came knocking on their doors.
“We must in the first place ask ourselves this question. Will I also die? Then after realizing that death was unavoidable to the old and the young, belong to all welfare organizations and contribute willingly without looking back since even the young were not immune to death” Father Ngugi said.
The man of the cloth told young people to be in the forefront in putting up proper structures for the communities which would cushion them against poverty and suffering bearing in mind that our communities had extended relations.
He regretted that while young people comprised a larger part of Kenya’s population but when it came to contributing towards a worthy cause that could help bail out their communities, some looked back saying “I am alone, and since I have no family I will not contribute”
Father Ngugi made the remarks after two young people interrogated the meeting to explain to them how they will benefit from belonging to the benevolent fund which is currently optional at the Catholic Welfare Association. Mary Kariuki in her contribution posed “Now that I am a youth, who is my family who will benefit from my membership?” she asked to the astonishment of the members who had attended the function.
The Catholic father explained to the meeting that he did not have his own family but that he had siblings who comprised brothers and sisters and he also had parents who could benefit from the fund meant to give a decent sendoff to deceased member of the family.
He gave the example of a colleague in another parish whom he had advised severally to belong to one they had started but he was reluctant until when he lost a sister and started regretting that he had continued to pull his feet in joining the welfare which could not assist non-members.
He said it was the member who was going to list their beneficiaries that could be considered in case of death and that they should not fear to belong to an organization which only comes in to help you give last respects to your relative.
The co-operative begun a benevolent fund some 10 years back but it has remained voluntary thus making it difficult for members to seek assistance through loans when they lost their beloved ones, thus the need for the management to bring it as an agenda for the members.
During the meeting, members discussed at length if men with polygamous families would have all their children covered with a paltry 100 shillings per month for the member or they would pay more.
“Some children sired through their mpango wa kando and will want them covered” while others felt that their guardians like the grandmothers who raised them should be considered and other members wanted to be told if a couple could benefit individually if they were affected or if it would be considered as one family.
During the meeting, about 74 members voted for the benevolent fund to be made compulsory while 171 members said it should be voluntary. The decision of the AGM is subject to a universal one which will be made on March 14 at a leader’s conference for managers of Self Help groups in all Catholic churches.
Members are required to pay Sh. 1200 at the beginning of the year which translates to Sh.100 monthly. Prior to the discussion, the fund has benefited some members who have been bereaved by giving them Sh. 50,000 for their spouses and Sh. 100,000 for the principal members. Currently the funds stands at Sh.1,866,517.00 since inception.
Membership to the Self-Help group is open to people from all denominations but office bearers is reserved for strictly Catholics
By Lydia Shiloya