A Light For Zimbabwe
A Light For Zimbabwe is a 501 c (3) tax exempt non-profit organization, registered with the State of New Hampshire. It is dedicated to the betterment of the lives of Southeastern Zimbabwean families, located primarily in Chipinge District in the Province of Manicaland. A Light for Zimbabwe, is focused on empowering people, instead of enabling them through education, Orphan Sponsorships and Sustainable Projects.
"The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step." [L.B. a college student]
In the hills and villages of beautiful Zimbabwe live a generation of children without parents. Because of poverty, many of these orphans do not have the opportunity to go to school. An orphaned teenager may be thrust into caring for his/her siblings in child-headed households as extended families are stretched way beyond their limits. Theirs are stories of resilience that give us reason to hope. A Light for Zimbabwe is challenged to look beyond what might seem impossible and say 'yes' to the opportunity to make a difference.
Sponsorships are available at all levels of financial commitment; every donation counts! Your caring gifts mean hope on the horizon where before there was none.
With the help of caring friends and donors we have more than doubled our orphan sponsorships to 75, from primary through secondary school.
We provide school fees, shoes, a uniform, school supplies as well as basic food and staple items to the most needy.
Ten of our sponsored students have graduated from college and are now employed as lawyers, bankers, accountants and others are teacher certified. Recently, some of our graduates now pay it forward by sponsoring young students in our program.
For others, technical training in fields such as, sewing, carpentry, wood and metal working, mechanics, etc. is more practical and gives a hand up out of dependence. Upon completion, these students will be employable, equipped to start small businesses, and able to determine their own futures.
Education is the key to breaking the cyclical nature of poverty. As these young people complete their education, they shine as beacons of hope to others. A Light for Zimbabwe believes that by reaching out to someone in need you can change a life forever.
The UN World Food Programme reported that millions will need food assistance especially during the hunger season. There are already signs of distress in both rural and urban areas. Contributing factors included erratic rainfall, drought, and limited access to seed and fertilizer. Manicaland Province, which includes Chikore and Mt. Selinda, is one of the worst affected areas. Giving small grants for sustainable agricultural projects both provides a safety net and preserves dignity.
Fashion and Fabrics
We have been augmenting the fashion and fabrics classes in secondary schools by providing hand-operated sewing machines. Hand-operated sewing machines are the best choice because of intermittent electricity in Zimbabwe. This program will provide students with a marketable skill; a step toward independence.
Small Farm Animal Projects
ALFZ has supported and funded sustainable, successful small farm animal projects in 5 villages and Chikore Hospital over the years. A local Agricultural Extension Officer provided the expertise, teaching and ongoing support. 5 Villages formed groups of 8-10 people who divide the tasks of caring for and selling chicks and goats.
These community projects have given villagers the ability to expand their farm projects to include other animals such as; pigs, turkeys and goats. These inititatives have sewed the seed of hope for future self-reliance.
(Photo: As a result of a self-sustaining poultry project, this father of 6 is now able to provide for his family including 4 additional orphaned children.)
Health and Diseases
Without basic medical care people are suffering and dying needlessly.
Facts: According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 45 for women and 46 for men. 60% of the worlds 40 million people with HIV/AIDS and 2/3 of the worlds AIDS related deaths are in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Zimbabwe, this means that 1.3 million are affected in a population of 11,600,000. Despite the fact that the overall incidence of HIV/ AIDS is declining due to increased awareness of cause, treatment and prevention, 34% of sexually active adults are HIV positive. One third of today's 15 year olds will die from this preventable disease.
Prevention: Education about transmission and prevention has increased at Hospitals, Clinics, Schools and Churches. Early Diagnosis, treatment and lifetime compliance with medication regimes is encouraged. Anti-retrovirals are now available at designated sites along with lab monitoring to measure effectiveness of treatment. Mt Selinda and Chikore Hospitals now offer HIV/AIDS clinics. Early treatment and diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death.
The second most common disease is Malaria which is carried by the Anopheles mosquito which is tiny, silent and has mutated to a more deadly variety which is resistant to drugs that were formerly effective. It claims the life of an African child every 30 seconds. It is a waterborne disease which thrives in the rainy season November to June . There are few mosquito control programs.
Malaria is curable if treated promptly. Left untreated, it progresses to the brain causing convulsions, delerium , coma and death. There is research at the international level to develop drugs that will be more widely available.
Zimbabwe was once the bread basket of Africa, but now drought and poor harvests have led to declining food security and increasing hunger. Maize production has fallen an estimated 46% in 2018 partly as a result of climate change. Rising world food costs and high unemployment compound the problem and make it difficult for many to afford even staple foods. Babies, children the elderly and those with chronic diseases are most at risk for death from malnutrition.
"Zimbabwe's children deserve better. They deserve to go to school, to drink clean water, to receive quality health care and to go to bed without feeling hungry." -
Cholera is a waterborne disease that causes acute, massive diarrhea leading to dehydration and death if not promptly treated. It is curable with with early intervention including re- hydration and antibiotics. It will remain a threat as long as water sources are unreliable. Cholera is highly contagious and spread by personal contact in addition to ingesting contaminated water. Prevention includes careful handwashing with soap, drinking water from protected sources or boiling clear water for 5 minutes. New bore holes [wells] are an ongoing and critical need.
Chikore is a 35 bed hospital in a remote area that is difficult to reach due to the poor condition of the roads. It serves a large catchment area of 44 villages some as far away as 40 km. Accessing healthcare is a huge challenge and family members arrive on foot pushing or pulling the patient in wagons or wheelbarrows. The more fortunate may have a donkey or ox cart but rarely, a vehicle. The distance and lack of funds are deterrents to basic care. Many patients succumb to readily treatable conditions. For example, by the time a grandmother reached the hospital, a child was dead from dehydration secondary to diarrhea. Those without money may pay for care in goods such as firewood, maize or a chicken or by service such as working on the hospital grounds or garden.
The Hospital has been without a resident Doctor for years. Currently a Dr. from Mt Selinda visits once a month. Cell phone service and email connections are inconsistent. Therefore, the nurses manage all cases that come to the door with the skills they have, compassion and grace. The recent acquisition of an ambulance can now provide emergency transport to Mt Selinda or Chipinge Hospitals. Medications and essential supplies are often scarce or unavailable.
Despite these challenges, the nurses and other workers do the best they can with hope for a brighter future. The Matron says that "we keep on keeping on".
The lessons to be learned are many. Life and success are what you make it. Beyond the poverty is everything important : the blessings of generosity, gratitude, welcoming friendship and love.