Spark of Life Projects

Spark of Life in Africa

Who would have thought that a chance meeting at the international IAHSA Conference in Perth in 2015 would lead to four outstanding people from Africa completing the International Spark of Life Master Course? As certified Master Practitioners of the Spark of Life Philosophy, they are now taking this gentle and internationally awarded philosophy to dementia care back to their communities in Uganda and Zambia.  

Richard_jescaIn November 2015, Richard Semanda, Founder and Director of the Geriatric Respite Centre in Kampala, Uganda attended the International Spark of Life Master Course together with Jesca Nakibirango, Founder and Executive Director of Rise and Shine Dyslexic Organisation.

Richard and Jesca have developed a unique and helpful partnership in that Jesca is a special needs teacher for children with Dyslexia and at the same time is a trainer of carers at Geriatric Respite Care Foundation. The children that Jesca educates get an opportunity to care in a volunteer capacity for the older people connected with Geriatric Respite Care Foundation. They have purpose and meaning in their lives and are able to give so much love and joy to the older people they care for.

In May this year, Anderson Simfukwe,  Founder and Executive Director of Aged Care and Service Centre, Nakonde, Zambia also attended the International Spark of Life Master Course together with Mary Mutambo, Enrolled Nurse at the Nakonde District Hospital, who volunteers her nursing experience for the people receiving support from the Aged Care and Service Centre. The 25 volunteers connected to the centre support 950 older people and their families in 10 surrounding villages, some as far away as 70kms,which can only be reached by motorbike.


Both Richard from Uganda and Anderson from Zambia have had parallel life journeys. Through personal experiences of close family members having dementia and being misunderstood and mistreated, both men recognised an urgent need for education and support for people with dementia in their communities.  This led to both giving up their paid jobs as teachers to set up their volunteer centres in their respective countries.

At home in Uganda and Zambia, all four Spark of Life Master Practitioners are now focused on educating their own teams of volunteers, family members, health professionals and communities on how they can care for people with dementia using the Spark of Life Philosophy.  In their everyday they are implementing Spark of Life as a deep heart-to-heart connection. Such connections have the power to enrich the lives of people with dementia, their families and entire communities.

The four Spark of Life Scholarships for Richard, Jesca, Anderson and Mary were all funded through Dementia Care Australia and funds raised through the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.  

Thank You

olyankacounsellingsessionOn behalf of the people of Zambia, we would like to give our heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you who made a special contribution towards enabling Anderson Zimfukwe and Mary Mutambo from Nakonde, Zambia to attend the 3-week International Spark of Life Master Practitioner Course in Perth, WA held in May 2016. This support has enabled them to enrich many lives by bringing the Spark of Life Philosophy to Zambia.

Our special thank-you goes to the following contributors (in no particular order):
  • Jo Marshall for donating her Mount Kilimanjaro climb to the crowdfunding campaign
  • The Capella group ‘Hoohah’ for writing & performing the song, Spark of Life in Zambia
  • Bianca Briggs & her family for hosting Anderson and Mary & giving them such a wonderful experience in Australia
  • The generous community contributions of laptops and mobile phones for use at the Aged Care and Service Centre back in Nakonde, Zambia
  • Barbara Reed for her fundraising walk
To every individual who donated to the crowdfunding campaign we would like to sincerely thank you for your generous support.
We would also like to extend our warmest appreciation to those organisations who contributed financially:
  • The Kirribilli Club, Sydney Australia
  • Pathway Senior Living, Chicago USA
  • Adriel House, Amberley New Zealand
  • Resthaven, Wayville, South Australia

olyanka1By enabling more people from developing countries to attend the Spark of Life International Master Course,  they can return to educate their communities on the gentle Spark of Life Philosophy and enrich the lives of older people and especially those who have dementia.