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Emma Seery

Tino Showing off her Reading Skills

By | Tino, Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children | 3 Comments

We first met Esther‘s little sister, Tino, seven years ago. Living in horrendous conditions, her mother was dying of Aids. Tino’s future looked like it would be sad and short.

But with the donations that flooded in for Esther and Tino, we were able to help the two orphaned sisters find a new home in the SOS Children’s Village Bindura.

Here is Esther’s “little” sister today, showing off her reading skills from her own book filled with beautiful handwriting!

This is all thanks to our sponsors and loyal supporters! Thank you for making this possible, and for transforming Tino’s life! Enjoy…

Feeding Programme Expanded to Reach 1,900 Children

By | Feeding Programme | No Comments

We recently had an amazing visitor to our schools in Makonde District near Chinhoyi! The founder of Ruff’s Kitchens and Tamba Park, Jonathan Ruff, has agreed to continue our Feeding Programme into the future as well as expanding it to Chinhoyi Secondary school and our neighbouring school. That means we will now be feeding 1,900 children in total every day!

This is wonderful news for all involved. We are very grateful to Jonathan and all those who support Ruffs Kitchens and Tamba Park. We are sure Obert will be particularly delighted at the news.

If you are ever in Jersey, Channel Islands, why not visit https://www.tambapark.co.uk/

All proceeds from the park go to Feeding Programmes throughout Zimbabwean rural area schools.

Great photos by Tamba Park !

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MDG #1, Ending Poverty and Hunger

By | Millennium Development Goals | No Comments

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Since 2010, we have strived to incorporate the UN Millennium Development Goals into our work, and have made significant progress within the Chinhoyi and Hatcliffe Township communities. You can read more about the Millennium Development Goals here.

What have Zimbabwe’s Children done to achieve Goal #1, Ending Poverty and Hunger?

School Feeding at Chinhoyi Primary

According to UNICEF, education is the most effective strategy for tackling and eradicating cyclical poverty. Children who have the opportunity to learn have higher chances of being able to afford good food and healthcare, and to send their children to school. This help halt the intergenerational cycle of poverty and brings families out of poverty.

However, hunger stops children from completing their education. If a child is hungry, they cannot learn or perform well in school. Åsa Skogström, President & CEO of The Hunger Project, has noted that severe malnourishment directly impairs brain development, having the same impact as losing four grades of school.

Currently, Zimbabwe is experiencing the most severe drought in over two decades. According to the World Food Programme there are 1.5 million Zimbabweans who do not have enough food. In the remote, rural region of Chinhoyi, communities are experiencing the full impact. Many families struggle to survive and their children were going without food for periods of up to three days. In response to this crisis we launched a Feeding Programme at Chinhoyi Primary School, providing a vitamin-rich meal to all students every day.

School feeding programmes are much more than just food-giving, particularly in times of hardship. These programmes promote a combination of education and nutrition that contributes to the cognitive development and physical well-being of children.  They also concentrate on breaking the vicious poverty cycle by using food as an incentive to get children to school, and to keep them there so that they can learn the skills they need for future prosperity.

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Creating Jobs in the Hatcliffe Township

Zimbabwe is also facing a soaring unemployment rate of 90%. Unable to find work, millions of Zimbabweans cannot afford basic food, healthcare or school fees, forcing their families into hunger and poverty.

Just outside of Harare, the Hatcliffe Township has been badly affected by this. Life here is constant struggle, and families have little access to food, sanitation and health care. Their reliance on donations and external aid was only a short-term solution. In order for these families to escape poverty and support their children, as well as the orphans left in their care by relatives who have died from HIV/AIDS, they needed to begin generating their own income through small businesses.

In 2012, we began working on a one-to-one basis with 24 families to help them become self-reliant. These families were failing to send their children to school, as well as provide basic food and healthcare. Since then, we have supported them in setting up a range of small scale, income-generating projects using their dormant skills. Families were provided with start-up funds and received training in how to write project proposals, set objectives and budgets, and undertake the day-to-day running of their businesses.

The Hatcliffe Township is not yet a fully developed area and its inhabitants depend on small traders such as these families. The performance of the projects has been impressive as evidenced by profits made, efficiency, innovativeness and hard work demonstrated by participating families.

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Conservation Agricultural Programme

As a result of the prevailing drought, the fields in Chinhoyi are dry and bare, and cattle grazing areas have become parched. To help break the cycle of hunger and poverty, we needed to train families in farming methods that would protect their livelihoods and enable them to grow crops in spite of the dry season.

Working with Foundations for Farming, we delivered a three day, agricultural training programme aimed at helping the community become self-sufficient. The training was focused on reducing water loss from soil and protecting crops against extreme temperatures, using local resources that can be obtained easily. With these methods, a family of six can feed itself for a whole year from a very small plot of land. That’s one bucket of maize per week, for every week of the year!

Despite poor rains and the driest season in many years, those who have been following instructions from the workshops have harvested successfully. They are escaping the severe hunger that many of their neighbours face, and many even have surplus yield to sell in order to pay their children’s school fees.

MR Gungungu

 

Meet Chipo Yotamu

By | Chinhoyi School Community | No Comments

In 2015, Fredrik Eklund and Derek Kaplan generously sponsored 55 students, funding their high school fees and enabling them to complete their education.

Chipo Yotamu is one of those students.  Here’s how it has changed her life.

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Chipo is a smart and fiercely determined 16 year old. In fact, her teachers once said she was one of the most intellectually gifted and hardworking girls in the entire school.

But this drive to succeed doesn’t always go very far in the poverty-stricken, arid regions of rural Zimbabwe. Before Fredrik and Derek’s funding, Chipo had been forced to miss two years of school. Despite her talent and intelligence, her future once looked hopeless.

At home, Chipo carries more responsibility than any 16 year old should ever have to. She lives with her elderly grandmother and her mentally ill mother who is a single parent. Both are unable to work, and require a lot of care. Every day, the family must struggle with acquiring enough food just to keep them going. Her grandmother often has to set out in the scorching heat to find food for them. When her granny is away, Chipo must stay at home to study while also looking after her sick mother, who disappears whenever she is left unattended. It is such an incredibly huge burden for a young girl to have to carry, and she dreads the day her grandmother will leave this earth.

It is because of this incredibly financial struggle that Chipo has fallen behind in her education. Her primary school years were once sponsored by UNICEF, who saw the potential Chipo had. However most of that funding has now come to an end.

Yet Chipo remains desperate to learn. She understands that only through education will she be able to support her mother in the future, and create a better life for the two of them. Today, thanks to Fredrik and Derek’s incredible support, Chipo is back in school and working as hard as ever. She is now in Form 2 (the second year of high school), in a class made up of children much younger then her. Although she is impatient to catch up, Chipo is progressing well and her teachers have no doubt that her determination will now finally pay off.

 

Chipo’s future has been changed for the better. But there are still thousands more children who are forced to leave behind their education for a life of poverty and struggle. It costs just £30 to put a child through an entire year of school in Zimbabwe. Whose life will you change?

Donate here.

 

 

Chinhoyi: Then and Now

By | Chinhoyi School Community | No Comments

You often hear of schools in Africa being built by donors and volunteers. But do you ever stop to think about the impact that building has on a child, a teacher, a parent, a community? 

In the remote and forgotten area of Chinhoyi, over one thousand children are registered at the local school. But this school had nothing when we started working together back in 2010, save for a few dilapidated, bare and unsafe buildings. There were no facilities, no learning materials. Only 90 children could even afford to attend.

Many of them had to walk long distances to get there, sometimes on an empty stomach and with a dry mouth. Once they arrived, they had to squash up with others on a hard stone under the shade of a tree. If they weren’t early enough, they had to sit in the scorching 30 degree heat for as long as they could endure it. An old blackboard lent against a tree and hardly any of the children could even make out what the teacher was writing. If it rained – lessons were over! They may have been going to “school”, but this kind of environment was just another struggle as they tried desperately to focus and learn a little something before the long walk home again.

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Today, over 1000 children are attending the school each day. Many still have to walk to the long distance, and many are still hungry. But they all arrive to a new school. Classes are held in new, concrete buildings, providing safety and relief. These rooms are filled with the necessary learning materials to stimulate and inspire. There is clean water flowing from the borehole pump, readily available to drink all day. Green vegetables are growing in the field, which the community have planted themselves. Lunch is served each day and there are clean toilet blocks to use.

Now the children feel a part of a real SCHOOL – giving them a sense of self-worth and hope. Today, the school is the centre of a community, where children can uncover knowledge and discover their creativity, teachers feel valuable, and parents come to meet for prayer and entertainment.

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Water Pump Continues to Improve Health & Learning in Chinhoyi

By | Chinhoyi School Community | No Comments

In 2011, Fredrik Eklund donated enough funds to install a borehole and water pump on the Chinhoyi school premises, for the children and wider community to use.

Children, teachers and parents now have a permanent water source that they can readily access.

The addition of clean water to the school has had immeasurable benefits and has truly transformed the life cycle of the entire community. It’s remarkable to see the difference clean water, washed hands and a quenched thirst can make to remote rural schools!

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How is the water pump helping the Chinhoyi community today?

  1. Improved Learning

The children of Chinhoyi now have clean water to drink in between their classes. This has had such a positive impact on pupil’s performance as enduring thirst makes both teaching and learning very difficult, affecting concentration, motivation and ability. The school’s water source has also contributed to an increase in the overall attendance at school. It is known throughout the community that there is a reliable source of clean drinking water here, which most families do not have at home.

  1. Better Health and Hygiene

The water source has provided better hygiene and sanitation amongst the community. As well as fresh water to wash with, families now have clean water to use for cooking and preparing food. This has reduced the risk of water-borne diseases that previously forced many children to be absent from school, if not threatening their lives. There hasn’t been a Cholera outbreak since the water pump was installed four years ago!

  1. Community Harvesting

Good water harvesting by the community means that any excess is used for the agriculture plot, turning dry dirt into flourishing vegetation. The produce is given out on harvest day to families with many orphan children in their care. Being able to grow nutritious food means that families can now provide for their starving children, many of whom are HIV positive.

Thank you Fredrik Eklund for your incredibly generous support within the Chinhoyi community!

Water harvestingReceiving veg from garden

Impacting communities through conservation farming

By | Update | No Comments

After last year’s agricultural workshops, our Community Officer, Peter Kazembe, travelled out into the community to assess the impact of  the programme and find out how participants are doing on their own plots. These are just a few stories from over 30 families who will have food for the next year. After these amazing results, we anticipate that many more families will be signing up for the programme in 2016. 

“This programme has been welcomed by so many from the community. Participants have learned a lot, especially about the importance of mulching (applying a thick ‘blanket’ of fallen leaves and grass which helps reduce water loss from soil, suppresses weeds and protects against extreme temperature).

This season has been the driest in many years, but those who have been following instructions from the workshops have successfully harvested and are escaping the severe hunger that many of their neighbours face. Those who did very well on the demo plots have seen an overwhelming admiration from their fellow neighbours, who have promised to join them next season.

Many participants have fallen in love with this programme, as they are now discovering the greatest secret behind it. They have learned that conservation farming is achievable no matter what type of rain patterns may come. It is quite obvious that in the next ploughing season the number of people engaging in conservation farming will increase. Truly speaking, this programme came as an eye opener to many people in this community.”

Mr. Gungungu with his well-mulched plot

Despite poor rains and the dry spell, Mr. Gungungu is a hard worker. He proved his this by mulching close to three hectares (his entire plot!) and making lots of planting stations. His crops are not suffering moist stress but are growing just as well as they would in normal rainfall. He worked tirelessly all summer and his neighbors are stunned by his incredible plot.

MR Gungungu

Mr. Daison and his soaring crops

Mr Daison has been working tirelessly with Mr. Gungungu as a team, and they are doing wonders! The height of his crops alone speaks volumes in this dry spell. He managed to prepare his whole field, almost three hectares!  He is one of our most successful participants.

Mr. Daison and MR Kazembe

Mr. and Mrs. Mahwendepi promise some fireworks next season

This couple worked very hard all summer making their planting stations, successfully planting close to three hectares of maize. Though they did not manage to mulch the whole area, they have a good looking plot and with better rainfall will certainly manage to get an even better harvest.

Mr and mrs Mahwendepi

Mr. Aaron anticipates a bumper harvest

He is a young man who has passion for farming and as seen in the picture he is standing right on top of thick mulch. He did a great job during summer collecting grasses for his plot as evidenced in the photograph and there is no doubt about it. His plot is quite health and come what may he is going to have a bumper harvest.

mr aoron

 

A state of disaster declared in Zimbabwe

By | Update | No Comments

A state of disaster has been declared in Zimbabwe due to the current drought that has been worsened by the El Nino weather phenomenon. An estimated 2.4 million people are now in need of food aid, more than a quarter of the population.

There has been abnormally low rainfall since last year and there is no sign of water in many rivers. Fields are dry and bare, and thousands of cattle have died because their grazing areas have become parched.

We are stepping up our efforts to give children in the Chinhoyi region relief and keep them coming to school through our Feeding Programme.

But it is not only children who are suffering. Last week our Community Officer was approached by this old lady pleading for help. She looks after many orphan children since their parents (her own children) have passed away over the last few years. She is overwhelmed, weak and has no other place to turn.

Please help us raise awareness of this desperate situation, or make a donation here to directly impact these families now facing a desperate situation.

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Chinhoyi Secondary School Classrooms

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The Chinhoyi Secondary school now has their first ever classroom block! The building, completed in 2015, consists of 3 large rooms housing 3 different year groups.

The secondary school is small when compared to the primary school (950 children vs 300 children). This is due to the rise in fees children face upon entering the high school. Unfortunately, many families are no longer able to afford school, and many young teenagers are sent out to work, or worst, become young brides and mothers.

We are working with the school and parents to educate families of the risks involved in taking these desperate routes. Encouraging them to keep their children in education is part of a long-term plan to stop the poverty cycle.

Thanks to our friends Fredrik & Derek, in 2015 we managed to fund school fees for 55 of these children. This has paid for their entire high school education!

The money received was then used to build their first ever classroom block, which was opened for use on 11th January 2016.2013-10-22 08.17.07revelation kazembe - 2013-10-22 08.15.50

Feeding Programme: Latest News

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We would like to say a very sincere thank you to all our loyal supporters! We have had such a wonderful response to our plea to continue and expand the Feeding Programme.

The children we work with in Chinhoyi are from very deprived families who struggle to survive. This means many children often arrive at school extremely hungry.

Our Feeding Programme has already brought relief to so many of these children. However, in 2015 we were only able to feed the very youngest children at Chinhoyi Primary. This meant that we had to turn away the older children, who were also hungry.

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However, the severity of the problem with all children attending the school was soon realised. The Headmaster found out that some children were going without food for periods of up to two days.

Because of your recent support, we are happy to say that we can now continue the programme into 2016. Not only this, we can now also make the programme available to the WHOLE primary school! Thanks to your donations, we can ensure the older children are also well-fed and ready to thrive in their learning!

2016 still looks to be another difficult time with more drought predictions. However with your loyalty and support we can bring light and hope to their lives!

Our aim is to expand the programme to the neighbouring schools in this deprived, rural area, where more children are faced with hunger every day. Providing food will help improve these children’s concentration and performance at school. It will also give them further incentive to attend their classes rather than going out to work or beg.

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