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Bridget’s story

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Bridget lives with her mum and little brother (nicknamed Biggie) in a tin shack in a township just outside Harare.

Bridget and Biggie have excellent school reports!  Their mother is very passionate about education and takes them to school herself every day.  They were skinny, severely malnourished and Bridget has been extremely ill many times due to dehydration and starvation. However, she still insists on going to school and on many occasions her mother has carried her to school on her back.

Since we have managed to support Bridget and her family with donations received which include healthcare, consistent payment of school fees at a better school and nutritious meals twice per day, their health has improved dramatically – they are now hopeful, feeling more energised, happier and healthier.  Look how much Bridget and her brother have grown!

Every rainy season Bridget’s mother has to rebuild their shack several times which brings much distress to them all.  We are delighted to report that we have received funding from 3 very generous donors to build a small two room brick house for Bridget and her family which cost US$3,000 (excluding the stand/land).  Through her hard work and her mother’s dedication they will be a part of changing a destructive cycle for themselves and future generations.

Thank you to everyone who supports Bridget and the many children like her!

Emmanuel

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Two years ago, we were able to finally buy 7 year old orphan Emmanuel a wheelchair with the generous donations sent by our supporters. Emmanuel suffers from cerebral palsy and was left in the care of his elderly aunt, Mrs Muzondo, who has struggled to look after him.

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Emmanuel’s original wheelchair which is now far too small for him

We spoke to Emmanuel’s aunt, who shared with us the impact that the wheelchair has had on both of their lives:

“We are so very grateful for the help which we have been given. My cousin, Emmanuel was unable to either wake up for himself or do anything. It was difficult for us to move him from one place to the other and he was isolated from other kids. Thanks to you and your friends who helped us with a wheelchair. Now Emmanuel can sit in the wheelchair and it is much easier for us to move him from one place to the other which was not possible before. I used to carry him on my back every time we had to go somewhere and he is now growing up and getting heavier which made life very difficult for us. Other kids can now play with him too, moving him around in the wheelchair as they play. I thank you and company for the job well done and may they extend their help to other people who have the same problem as us. Thank you very much.”

Since then, we have continued to support the family with food, nappies and other essential items.  However, Emmanuel will soon be turning 10 and he no longer fits in his wheelchair. Sadly, Emmanuel is slowly losing the small glimpse of independence that the wheelchair gifted him with. He can no longer move about or play with other children. Instead, he is becoming more and more isolated.

We desperately need to raise funds so that we can buy a new and bigger wheelchair, and help Emmanuel live a better and happier life in spite of his illness. A wheelchair costs £200 – an impossibly huge amount for his family to raise alone. However together, we can easily raise this amount!

Please help Emmanuel and his family by donating ….

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10 year old Emmanuel, who suffers from cerebral palsy, receiving porridge and nappies thanks to your donations!

 

UN Millennium Development Goals

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mdgs

What are the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and how has Zimbabwe’s Children successfully achieved many with their programmes.

Since its beginnings, Zimbabwe’s Children has worked closely alongside the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), supporting the global goals of eradicating global poverty and improving the life chances of the world’s poorest communities.

The eight Goals were set in September 2000 at the Millennium Summit, the largest gathering of world leaders in history. Together, their nations formed a new, global partnership that sought to reduce extreme poverty in its many forms – income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter and exclusion,-  as well as to promote gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability.

A deadline was set for 2015, resulting in a period of fifteen years which has produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. The world has since made significant progress in achieving many of the Goals, with the number of people living in extreme poverty declining by more than half (from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015). In September 2015, a global summit was held at the United Nations in New York, where world leaders committed to continuing the progress made in the new Sustainable Development Goals.

But the UN reports that these progresses have not been experienced worldwide. There are huge disparities within countries, where poverty is much more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas. Sub-Saharan Africa has also been referred to as the “epicentre of crisis,” facing a widespread shortfall for most of the MDGs. The region has seen continuing food insecurity, a rise of extreme poverty, high child and maternal mortality, and large numbers of people living in slums.

Zimbabwe’s Children works in the remote, rural region of Chinhoyi and the Hatcliffe Township in northern Zimbabwe, where communities have experienced the full impact of poverty. We have implemented a number of projects that ensure as many Goals as we can are met and that the families living here experience the benefits of our achievements. We have had much success in all areas of the agenda in this part of Zimbabwe, thanks to our funders’ generous and loyal support, and the hard work of our dedicated team.

Busy January reaching 4,100 children

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It has been a very busy January in Zimbabwe as it is the start of a new school year and the feeding program, with our partner Ruffs Kitchens, progresses and expands further within the rural area of Chinhoyi. The current rainy season has brought heavy rains on very dry land, causing flooding and making our mission of delivering food to remote schools an extremely challenging task. Our team have worked day and night to make this happen and we are proud to be a part of feeding 4,100 children with a highly nutritious mahewu meal every day at 7 schools and 5 ECD centres (nursery/preschool). Thank you to everyone who supports our work as this would not happen without you!

How are Esther, Obert and Grace?

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Our dedication to Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children is unquestionable.  With the support of our extremely loyal and generous donors throughout the world, we can reach many more children just like Esther, Obert and Grace – the 3 who started this, and will continue to champion our cause for thousands more children!

Speaking of which – how are Esther, Obert and Grace?

In one word – GREAT!  Can you believe it’s been 6 years since we were introduced to them in the film Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children?

Esther and her (not so little) sister Tino live at the SOS Children’s Village outside Harare in a safe, secure and loving environment. They are excelling in school as can be seen in this short film of Tino reading from one of her school exercise book.  Esther is a young teenager now giggling with her friends and asking when she can travel out of Zimbabwe to the UK to meet everyone.  We remind her that she has been a huge part of changing many lives and she simply replies” That’s good – it makes me happy”.  She really has no idea!

Grace still lives in her family home and Michelle has recently got married and had a baby son called Leo.

During 2016 Grace continued with her studies (thanks to you, our loyal donors) at Young Africa College where she has been studying for more O’level subjects.  Young Africa is the same college she attended to get her Early Childhood Development qualification to be a Nursery teacher.  She is presently looking for more volunteer or paid work as a Nursery assistant, whilst studying.

Obert is in the last stages of his A’level exams – thank you to everyone who sent him a message on our Facebook page, he was very grateful to receive your support.  We are in the process now of moving Gogo from her home in the rural areas to a small 2 room home nearer the town (thank you Fredrik Eklund and Derek Kaplan) as she requires constant medical attention after many years of working extremely hard farming land.  This is a big step for her and one she has wanted for so long so she can see more of Obert and be closer to our Community Field Officer, Peter, who has become like a son to her now.

Brief Preview of 2016

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Thanks to Fredrik Eklund and WTMD we started 2016 with a feeding program for the youngest children at our Chinhoyi school and were able to assist many grand-parent headed families in the community – the very elderly struggling to look after young children whose parents have passed away from HIV/AIDS.  We all remember Esther and Obert’s heart-breaking stories – there are just too many children just like them within this remote, rural community.

Our priority has always been to keep these children in school!  Hearing stories of children fainting, either on their way to school or during lessons, and attendance levels dropping are all totally unacceptable, especially after your loyal support and the hard work of our volunteers!

 

To complement the school feeding program, we piloted a family Conservation Agriculture program, whereby we provided training and specific inputs for families within the school community to start their own Pfumvudza (“new beginnings”) plot at home.

This plot is a mere 16x39m area making it easy to plant, mulch and manage, using only natural techniques such as composting, and a hoe! At the end of the season, during one of the country’s worst droughts, those who had correctly followed the principles not only achieved their goal to feed a family of 6 for the whole year, they exceeded our expectations by a long way.

 

With the feeding program and the Conservation Agriculture program we are on the way to children receiving 3 meals per day, improving their well-being and enabling them to attend school.  We will be continuing and expanding the family Conservation Agriculture program through this 2016/2017 season where we will encourage those who did so well to train and pass their knowledge onto their neighbours – many have already started!

Whilst this CA pilot program continues to grow we are extremely fortunate to have partnered with Ruffs Kitchens who committed to increasing the feeding program through 2016 and into 2017.  Ruffs Kitchens will be feeding an astonishing 4,100 children at 6 primary and secondary schools in the community we work in, as well as 4 pre-schools.

Our goal for 2017 is to not only feed the tummies of these children to keep them in school, but to feed their minds with a quality education. We will be partnering with Redearth Education to deliver training to their teachers using strategies to make lessons more engaging, exciting and effective.  The children will become more motivated and inspired improving the quality of their education and their life chances.

 

Chinhoyi Secondary School Classrooms

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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