Zimkids Orphan Trust

Zimkids Orphan Trust is a neighborhood-based safe haven for orphaned children in impossible circumstances. We are committed to ensuring that the children and their caregivers have access to food and medical care, as well as creative, recreational, vocational and educational opportunities and training in the tools essential for self-reliance so they can grow into productive, healthy adults who are literate, energized, assertive and ready to take initiative for themselves, their families and their community.
Jan 12, 2012

Zimkids update January 2012

Shaka Ndlovu teaching Elder Sanele wall art
Shaka Ndlovu teaching Elder Sanele wall art

ZimKids has been rocking and rolling over the past two months. All of the brickwork on the buildings for our new “home” is almost complete, and the roof structures are rising. Plastering has begun, and Zimbabwe now has its first two female plasterers, our very own Sithibisiwe and Thandiwe! The grounds have been landscaped with a dry garden of cacti and aloes. The paintings on the wall between us and the street have become such a local attraction that people constantly come by to admire and photograph them. Shaka Ndlovu is teaching our Elders who will teach our children how to paint wall art.The younger children have begun digging vegetable plots for their families. Students at Carmel, a local private school, raised $150 and bought us a solar cooker and some post and pans. We distributed glasses donated by an American medical researcher here on the Fullbright program. And thanks to the generosity of the Proctor and Gamble Alumni network, we’re in the process of purchasing a full solar array so that we can be independent of the crumbling electrical grid and operate without a monthly electric bill.

In terms of the building project, while the plastering team moves from building to building, the roof team hopes to have the buildings closed in by the end of February or early March. As we complete that work, the plumber will train our Seniors to connect the toilets to the sewer and the electrician will show us how to put in our wiring. We’ll still have a dozen small items to complete – putting the glass into the windows, polishing the floors, doing the final clean-up. But we’re on target to be done by the end of April.

As Tinashe and Dennis have worked with the Seniors at the building site, the Council of Elders have been continuing their wonderful programs with the younger children. Just this weekend, they began rehearsing with them for a special play for the Center opening!

Things are harder then ever here as prices continue to rise. Rents keep rising, and people now are paying $100 a month for two tiny rooms. Food prices for everything but vegetables are now well above what we pay in the U.S., and medical care is astronomically costly. We’ve managed to continue providing the safety net that was our first project and in December, Adrian Suskin, our ever-loyal guardian angel, sponsored a special food distribution. Our terrific doctor is still keeping people as healthy as possible when they live with water and electricity cut-offs and no money.

By the end of the year, we’re expecting that we’ll have an abundant garden and a functioning poultry project to help out our families and provide ZimKids with a bit of income. Once our solar panels are installed, we’ll begin networking our computers and training our young people so that we can open our very own Internet café and computer training center – the first one for miles around!

So, as we move into 2012, thank you again for all your support and encouragement. Every time officials stop by – from the community, the city, or from embassies – and admire what we’ve accomplished, we think with immense gratitude how far we have come because of the amazing generosity of our friends!

Foster, TInashe and Dennis put up roof structure
Foster, TInashe and Dennis put up roof structure
Gogo
Gogo's with their new glasses
First use of our new solar cooker
First use of our new solar cooker
Thandiwe and Sithibisiwe plastering
Thandiwe and Sithibisiwe plastering
Tinashe bolting gumpole to Tech center roof
Tinashe bolting gumpole to Tech center roof
Oct 25, 2011

October, 2011 Update

Zimkids Caregivers tilling the garden
Zimkids Caregivers tilling the garden

TO our donors:  Your generosity and support have been remarkable and deeply appreciated.

  The Building Zimkids a Home; The Adrian Suskin Center for Zimkids project is moving along swiftly now.  All foundations are in; the sub floor (5” quarrystone/cement mixture) is in place for the Resource Center.  The remaining sub floors for the bathrooms, gazebo, Tech Center and Office cottage will be poured in the next two weeks. The walls, windows and doors of the resource center are up. Once the sub floors are all in the walls of the Tech center will go up followed by the Bathrooms. A pump and piping have been installed in the well.  The water tank stand is built. Following my return December 2 the roofs will be installed.  Once the roofs are up then the final floor finish is poured and the walls are skim-coated inside and out.  Our six Seniors (18,19 year old orphans) are working at the site and have learned how to plan, mix and build with cement. Two of them have become so proficient that they could easily be hired by construction companies now.  They in turn will be training our Elders (age 15-17).

  We have been chosen to be one of eight charities for the Barnert Temple Mitzvah Mall focusing on water projects.  Our plan is to install drip irrigation and to have caregivers and our children participate in the planning, implementation and care of the market garden.  Once the buildings are up we will enclose a space to raise broiler chickens and egg layers. Both the market Garden and Chicken project will both feed our kids and produce some income that will move us closer to self-sufficiency.

Our security walls are up and the children are working on developing their artistic skills under the Elders direction and a local outstanding artist, Shaka Ndlovu, who is volunteering his expertise.

Sithibisiwe, 18, is one of the seniors working at the site. She is the sole caretaker of her two younger brothers. She is installing a brick path up to the buildings so that our buildings are accessible to our children and caregivers who are wheelchair bound .

We have applied for a grant to purchase computers for our Tech Center which will be used to train our kids in the use of a computer and internet.  When the children are in school the tech center will become an internet café for the greater Pumula neighborhood. Again, moving us closer to self-sufficiency.

Thanks to you all of this is happening.  We are all very excited and are looking forward to the grand opening sometime in March, 2012.  

Resource Center under construction
Resource Center under construction
Sithibisiwe preparing path for brick. Her project.
Sithibisiwe preparing path for brick. Her project.
Foster, 18, laying block for the Resource Center
Foster, 18, laying block for the Resource Center

Links:

Oct 25, 2011

Update October 2011

Children designing murals for the inside walls
Children designing murals for the inside walls

 

TO our donors:  Your generosity and support have been remarkable and deeply appreciated. Thank you so so much.

  The children are involved with their usual activities including soccer, art, dance, song, chess,  and computer training. Every few weeks or so we take them to the site of our new center now under construction for cleanup day where teams win prizes for the most trash collected. They are also hard at work under the guidance of Shaka Ndlovu, an immensely talented local artist who donates his time to teach the children and is painting the front wall murals. He is working with our Elders (age 15-17) training them to develop and implement murals that they will paint on the interior of the security wall of our center that is under construction now.

The Zimkids building project is moving along swiftly now.  All foundations are in; the sub floor (5” quarrystone/cement mixture) is in place for the Resource Center.  The remaining sub floors for the bathrooms, gazebo, Tech Center and Office cottage will be poured in the next two weeks. The walls, windows and doors of the resource center are up. Once the sub floors are all in the walls of the Tech center will go up followed by the Bathrooms. A pump and piping have been installed in the well.  The water tank stand is built. Following my return December 2 the roofs will be installed.  Once the roofs are up then the final floor finish is poured and the walls are skim-coated inside and out.  Our six Seniors (18,19 year old orphans) are working at the site and have learned how to plan, mix and build with cement. Two of them have become so proficient that they could easily be hired by construction companies now.  They in turn will be training our Elders (age 15-17).

  We have been chosen to be one of eight charities for the Barnert Temple Mitzvah Mall focusing on water projects.  Our plan is to install drip irrigation and to have caregivers and our children participate in the planning, implementation and care of the market garden.  Once the buildings are up we will enclose a space to raise broiler chickens and egg layers. Both the market Garden and Chicken project will both feed our kids and produce some income that will move us closer to self-sufficiency.

We have applied for a grant to purchase computers for our Tech Center which will be used to train our kids in the use of a computer and internet.  When the children are in school the tech center will become an internet café for the greater Pumula neighborhood. Again, moving us closer to self-sufficiency.

Thanks to you all of this is happening.  We are all very excited and are looking forward to the grand opening sometime in March, 2012 to which you are all invited!  

One of the Murals by Shaka Ndlovu Front wall
One of the Murals by Shaka Ndlovu Front wall
Foster, 18, laying block for the Resource Center
Foster, 18, laying block for the Resource Center
Zimkids new Council of Elders ages 15-17
Zimkids new Council of Elders ages 15-17

Links:

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