"Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."  Matthew 25:40 

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 ZIMBABWE
Liaison to Ethiopia

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in south-central Africa. It lies between the Zambezi River in the North and the Limpopo River to the south. The country has land borders with Mozambique to the north and east, South Africa to the South, Botswana to the southwest and Zambia to the northwest and north.
 

Meet Our Liaison to Zimbabwe

 

 

 


PROVIDENCE ORPHAN AND CAREGIVERS PROJECT 2004 MILESTONE REPORT

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of the God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their trouble…” James 1 vs 27

INTRODUCTION

The year 2004 was challenging but with God’s help and guidance and the support of friends we managed to achieve a lot.  This milestone report highlights some of Providence Orphan and Caregivers Project’s major activities for the year 2004. During the year, the  project worked with  1026 children in Bulawayo, Avoca, Lupane, Mzinyathi and Matjinge.

PROVIDENCE ORPHAN AND CARE GIVERS PROJECT

Providence, though operating on a shoe string budget managed to organise and hold two Christian Community Camps in Bulawayo.  One was held at MacDonald Hall held during the Easter holidays and the other at Paddonhurst Methodist Church August 25 –27.

Activities

The camps, which were meant to cater for 80 children, ended up with 120 children.  Our problem was screening of the children, as all deserved that weekend.  The high attendance affected our budget from our sponsors.  We had budgeted $ 4 million per camp but each camp cost $5,6m and $6,3m respectively.  The purpose of the camps is to give children a chance to be loved and also demonstrate love to other children by doing things together, sharing experiences and educating each other to be responsible.  Our theme for the camps was God’s answer to HIV and AIDS and Zero Grazing”.  During the camp, children do clean up activities at specific areas identified by community leaders.  This was done in Mzilikazi at three shopping centers namely Madhamara, Mzilikazi and Hlalo.  Some children also take the time to raise awareness by talking to others and sharing responsibilities as God’s children.  In these camps, the children are well fed and have a volunteer doctor and nurse on 24-hour call though the Almighty has protected us all the time as none of the children have fallen ill during the camps.

Children also have a chance to expose their talents in music, poetry and in role plays at the Hope Of a Child In Christ relaunch which was held at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel.  It is always a blessing to listen to them sing messages of love for everyone even if they are infected. 

The Kids Club leaders visited Mpopoma High School Interact Club to learn how they do charity work through fundraising.  The children watched as Interact members planned their fundraising activities. They appreciate the debate whose topic was “Abortion must be legalised.” A trip to Chipangali Wildlife Oprhanage was organised as a Christmas treat for the children.  The day was memorable for the children some of whom had not seen a live animal since they were born.  This trip was also meant to educate them that the animals at Chipangali are orphans and some people had picked them up and looked after them as they value love and life.  They were reminded that there is need for people to donate in cash or kind to help in the running of the orphanage otherwise, it would close down.

The trip to Avoca scheduled for the August holidays failed.  Children had volunteered to lend a hand toward the completion of the Methodist Church.  Efforts to get sponsor were fruitless despite approaching individuals and the church.  We are still trying to go ahead as we will be working in that area.

Debate and Christian Modelling contest was held at MacDonald Hall in Mzilikazi on November 27 2004.  Some invited schools did not turn up as the town had a lot of activities that weekend.  PrinceTop College went home with a lot of prizes for the school and individual students.  For modelling a nine year girl, Jacquline Mzombi was crowned Miss Providence.  At her tender age she was able to answer questions on scriptures, prevention of spread of AIDS and responsibility as a child of God.

On December 17, the children also took part in the Zimbabwe Council of Churches march in Mzilikazi.  They entertained the crowd by singing messages on prevention of the disease and the breakdown of families, which result in children fending for themselves. Providence members were colorfully dressed in T-shirts with the project’s logo that were sponsored by Bulawayo Rotary Club.

The Kids Club leaders have been visiting bereaved families and peer counseling though they do not do it professionally as some of them have not received any training.

The project also fundraised 52 pairs of women, men and children’s shoes, 50 machine-knitted jerseys, 36 Bibles, exercise books and pens after consultation with the Khami Prison superintendent. The idea came from children who felt that this past June it was too cold and they remembered those in prison and living on the streets. 

THE HOME BASED CARE GROUP

Strive and the Methodist Church trained the group.  Members are due for a refresher course, funds permitting.  The caregivers, visit the sick and offer relief to those caring for the sick.  They network with other organisations when there are issues or patients to be attended to.  They have allocated each other areas to do their fieldwork that is caring for the sick.  The major problem now is we do not have adequate kits to protect them when they do their work.  They also visit homes where there are orphans especially those in our Kids Clubs since some of the orphans come to us with horrifying stories.  The regular visits have reduced child abuse in the area because the community now knows that there are people monitoring the welfare of the children and cases are reported to the police.

Among the ten volunteers for the children care group we lost two women and one man.  Two of the late members had completed and received certificates on Early Childhood training Course.  They were active in running the Day Care Centre. There are plans to recruit and train other members should funds be available.

TOUCH THE SEAM SUPPORT GROUP

The support group was an initiative that came from working with children who spoke constantly of the pain of watching helplessly as their parent fell ill and wasted away.  The group has proved to be a strong support system as members are accepting their status and spiritual growth each day. Our motto is “Cleanliness if next to Godliness.”  The members have really taken the motto seriously and are now very responsible for their bodies and families.

Activities

The project has assisted members to develop hope for themselves and their families by understanding that they can live longer if they are responsible.

Touch The Seam has its own leadership to make things happen.  They plan their activities and share with the project.  The group had three big events during the year:

  1. They hosted a luncheon where nutritious dishes were served. This was done to encourage those infected to eat nutritious foods, which are readily available and affordable.  This also gave a lesson to other people that behaviour change should be all round.

  2. The modeling competition was held to revive the spirit of those who doubted that they are still beautiful.  The judges were from the Methodist Church, Zimbabwe AIDS Network and a Pastor from South Africa.

  3. The third luncheon was for family members. Each support group member brought his or her children or spouses.  The purpose was to encourage the family to support preparation and consumption of traditional dishes. 

The fellowships have proved very successful.  A well wisher Mrs Myandu who was touched by some of these events has so far donated four million to assist the members.  The support group members are the direct beneficiaries of the fund.  When received, the money is distributed as per members’ requests for rent, medication, food and help with children’s education.

Several ladies that are gifted in producing handicrafts are contracted to do wares for Providence Orphan and Caregivers Project and are paid for labour.  The money helps the women with their daily needs.  Several of the members have accepted Christ and worship in their respective churches. 

NETWORKING

Providence is benefiting from interacting with a number of organisations by attending workshops.  The organisations are Zimbabwe AIDS Network, SAfAIDS, WASN, Vulindlela Orphan Care, Childline, Girl Child Network, HOCIC, Masiye Camp, PSI, Lighthouse Foundation, DP Foundation and Rotary Club of Bulawayo.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS/INDIVIDUALS 

Below is the list of donations that the project received: 

NAME OF DONOR

AMOUNT RECEIVED

Rev. Martine

$5 990 000,00

Rosemary Carol

  4 200 000,00

Mrs Blythe

     185 000,00

Chichi Nyashanu

     200 000,00

Suseela

     600 000,00

M. Maburutse

     111 400,00

Patience Phiri

  1 000 000,00

Miriam Madziwa

       50 000,00

Main Street Choir

     195 000,00

Main Street Woman’s Association

       30 000,00

Wendy Deuring

    500 000,00

Dr Musiya

    200 000,00

Basic Trust

 8 500 000,00

Mr Zwelani G. (for Avoca seed)

 2 040 000,00

Carol Gibson/Lolly and Friends

3 000 000,00

Alan Wilkinson

 2 000 000,00

 

 

A. Myandu (Touch the Seam)

  4 000 000,00

TOTAL

$33 190 000,00

 

NAME OF DONOR

GOODS RECEIVED

Chichi Nyashanu

Two large suitcases of clothes valued @ $800 000.

Judy Dlodlo and the girls

One large suitcase of clothes valued @ $300 000.

Femina Garments

Prize vouchers for debate and modeling contest @ $300 000.

Hayward Trust Hillside Church

-         400 X 5 kg mealie-meal

-         240 X10 kg mealie-meal

-         matemba

-         beans

Mrs von Riesen

Mrs B. Lawrence (SA)

40 teddy bears for children and baby jerseys @ $400 000

Rotarian Maureen

Sample cut pieces of material @ $250 000

Rotarian Julie

One large box girls clothes @ $500 000

Rotarian Club  of Bulawayo (9210) Disaster Relief

300 X20 kg mealie-meal @ $ 9 000 000

Leslie Parkins

I big box used clothes  @ $600 000

Label Clothing

I box new boys clothes @900 000

The donations benefited the orphans directly and indirectly in education assistance, medication for both the PLWAs and orphans’ food and clothing.

OUTLOOK FOR 2005

With government agreeing to an increase in school fees, the planned budget towards education assistance falls away as a new budget will have to be drawn up after the schools and getting the new figures. For primary schools, so far the minimum fees is $60 000 per term and for secondary schools the fees range from $300 000 to one million dollars per term.  For those in boarding, it is from $1,5 million to $2,5 million.  The figures given apply to schools where Providence has beneficiaries.  The new schedule for school fees should be ready by January 3 2005 and will be sent out for appeals on behalf of the children.

During the year there will be need to train Kids Club leaders in counseling skills so that they can effectively help their peers. There will also be a recruitment drive for home based care group and Kids Club patrons.

There are also plans to intensify private tuition for the orphans, as some of them did not do well in their lessons due mainly to their home background.

“…For I was hungry, you gave me something to eat.  I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me.  I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these who are members of my family you did it for me… Jesus” Matthew 25

Background Information on AIDS Orphans in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has one of the worst AIDS epidemics in the world and it has so far left behind an estimated 980,000 AIDS orphans. It is believed that the worst affected children are those in rural areas, where there have also been shortages of drugs, food and other resources. The orphan crisis first came to national attention in July 1992, when Zimbabwe's Department of Social Welfare co-ordinated a national conference on orphans. It was recognised that compared to institutionalisation, community based care was cost-effective and kept children in a familiar social, cultural and ethnic environment and reduced their distress. In 1995, the Government of Zimbabwe developed a national Policy on the Care and Protection of Orphans, which was finally approved by the cabinet in May 1999. The Policy reaffirmed the position that orphans should be placed in institutions only as a last resort. As many journalists from number countries are not able to enter Zimbabwe, there is a lack of up-to-date information of many issues. The following examples of orphan care in Zimbabwe are some initiatives that have taken place.

In 1986, the Farm Orphan Support Trust (FOST) of Zimbabwe was set up as a community response to the situation of orphans in commercial farming areas. FOST aims above all to keep sibling orphans together, within a family of the same culture, and in a familiar environment. It operates foster schemes on farms, using farm committees to train caregivers, establish monitoring procedures, and raise community awareness. All the farms register orphans individually and send information to a centralised computer bank. This procedure helps with the tracing of relatives.

FOST promotes five levels of orphan care. It's preferred care is within the extended family. If that is not possible, orphans are placed within substitute families. The third choice is for small groups of orphans to live together on a farm, looked after by a caregiver employed by the farm for this purpose. The next most preferred type of care is an adolescent child-headed household with siblings remaining together, preferably in the family home. Here they are cared for by the eldest child with regular supervision and support provided by the farm's Child Care Committee, the community and the local field officer. Finally, if nothing else is available, FOST will arrange for temporary care in an orphanage, until a better solution can be found.24

The Zimbabwe Red Cross has launched a project called 'memory box' to help mothers to preserve their families cultural heritage and communicate with their children long after their death. Women who take part in the project make a memory box with their children. It serves as a 'keepsake' of family photographs, letters, stories and history. The Red Cross believes that the program helps to diminish the trauma of a parent's death and keeps the memory of the mother alive. The project also helps women empower themselves. A single mother of three believes her memory box will help her children fulfil her wishes.

"I want them to go to university so that they can teach other children that if you don't have a father at present only your mother, you can be someone." 25

Many children in Zimbabwe as in many other countries find themselves being cared for by their grandparents. Providing care and support for the orphans is hard for the elderly carers who are often in poverty and sometimes also in poor health themselves.

"Looking after orphans is like starting life all over again, because I have to work on the farm, clean the house, feed the children, buy school uniforms...I thought I would no longer do these things again. I am not sure if I have the energy to cope" 65-years old man who is a caregiver for three school-aged children 26

Many elderly carers rely and survive with the help of food distribution programmes due to the ongoing food crisis in Zimbabwe.

"It is hard to provide food for the children as I am unemployed. As a mother, I cannot let them go hungry, so I always try my best to provide for them" Agnes, grandmother aged 68 years 27

In a study that was carried out in Zimbabwe, it was found out that many older people who care for their HIV-infected adult children or orphaned grandchildren also face the harsh realities of stigma attached to the disease. The study recommends that the older people should be recognised as carers and should be offered adequate support.28

A new initiative has been planned by local orphanages in Zimbabwe. Every orphanage in Zimbabwe is to set up a clinic to look after the orphans in the home as well as those in their outreach programmes in the community. The clinics will provide medical care for the orphans who would otherwise have to suffer opportunistic infections without medical care. The orphanages find it difficult to rely on the state assistance to care for the HIV/AIDS orphans. So the orphanages have decided to search for funds to build the clinics. The representatives of the children's homes said they had a five-year plan that should lead to most of the clinics operating by 2007. But the project is likely to face problems initially with the cost of building materials and land and later on with the very high prices of drugs and medical equipment.29

 

 

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