Thanks to scores of extremely generous donors, the Adrian Suskin Center for Zimkids is up and running. More photos and the latest news can be found on our facebook page search Zimkids Orphan Trust or our website www.zimkids.com. Let's start, then, with a tour:
The site is 2.5 acres, located right next to the local high school donated to us by the City of Bulawayo. Because security is a major problem all across the city, we walled in the entire plot – and kept the part facing the street from looking dreary with a series of murals.
Now, come inside:
The first building to your left is the lime green cottage that is home to Washington, who provides our security and will run our Library, and an office. Follow the brick path and you reach the heart of the complex. To the left, is our Light Blue Resource Center, where we will house our library, our games, and serve as the heart of our activities. Two small rooms are walled off, one to serve as a kitchen and the other as our clinic. The top of the Resource Center will hold our solar panels, which just arrived and are about to be installed. Around back, on a small patio, we built a massive table so that dozens of children can work, play and eat together.
Across from the Resource Center, you come to our amazing orange Tech Center, which will house the 15 computers we purchased to train our children and their caregivers in modern technology and, eventually, to provide Internet access to the surrounding community. One corner of the building holds a safe room where the computers will be kept at night and where our inverters and solar batteries will be kept safe as well. Our purple lavatories are to the left of the tech center.
Now, outside: First, take a look at our wonderful swing set, seesaw and merry-go-round, gifts from a local drilling company. Beyond, you reach the gazebo where the children can perform for themselves and their families. Next, you come to our sports fields, which are graded and ready for goal posts for soccer and a net for netball. Swinging around the property, you reach our greenhouse and garden, which use drip irrigation. The vegetables will serve the needs of our children and their caregivers, with the surplus for sale. Finally, you come to the toilet block, with separate facilities for boys and girls.
As most of you know, we didn't just build a Center, we also trained a group of young people who joined Zimkids when they were still small. Now out of school, they dug and poured the foundations, laid the block, plastered, painted, installed windows, welded shields and railings, installed all the electric wiring and solar panels, landscaped and painted. This is their Center – built by Zimbabwean orphans, run by orphans FOR Zimbabwean orphans! Our Seniors, Foster, Sithabisiwe, Collen and Thandiwe received Certificates of Completion of our 18 month construction training program. They now move on to training in all areas of management to run the center.
We're not done, of course: We have plans to raise chickens both to feed our kids and to earn money. We're hoping to plant fruit trees for our own mini-orchard. We need more books for our library, a few more solar panels, and a bit more furniture – and we plan to use the extra money we raised to cover some of those costs.
But the bottom line is that WE HAVE A HOME – and we are immensely grateful to all of you for making it possible!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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