Dear friends of Zimkids,
We at Zimkids want to extend our deepest gratitude for your support and kindness. We welcome our newest donors at Lilly who put your faith in us. Be assured your donations will be used wisely and directed entirely to benefit the children at Zimkids.
We continue with our food distributions and activities as described in our website at www.zimkidsorphantrust.org.
And we are still paying school fees for those who are at the top of their class. (Paying for everyone would cost us $50,000, so that is not an option, and our system seems to encourage the children to work hard.) This year one of our most active members passed her O-level exams with flying colors, a real accomplishment given how frequently her teachers were on strike for the past several years. Thus far, she is the only Zimkid to have made this achievement, so we are paying to send her to a wonderful boarding school in Matopos for her A-levels in the hope that she’ll finish well, be accepted into the United States Achievers Award (which helps disadvantaged kids find scholarships to U.S. universities) and fulfill her dream of going to medical school. We are all very proud of her. Kudzai Sithole and Lindiwe Mabhena, both 15 years old, are always at the top of their classes and we are hoping that they will follow Pauline’s example.
Construction on the Zimkids Center continues apace. The children of Zimkids, under the supervision of our Council of Elders are currently designing the interior murals that they will paint on the interior of the wall. In a few weeks, the children, Seniors, Elders and our Director Tinashe Basa will be painting classic Ndebele designs on the front wall of the site. And the children gather periodically to continue to clean the site and assist as needed in whatever ways are appropriate to their ages.
Once the first building is up, we will begin to furnish it. A clothing manufacturing company went out of business and sold us chairs and tables at rock bottom prices. The Bulawayo public library has agreed to sell us children’s books for $6 per large box that we’ll add to our library. We have received two more donated laptops for the eventual tech center. And we seem to be on the verge of free shipping for donations.
All in all, we’re feeling extremely proud of how far we have come – thanks to your kindness, assistance and good wishes. We will continue to work hard to deserve it and use it in the most cost-effective, focused and positive way to assist our children.
First, we at Zimkids want to extend our deepest gratitude for your support and kindness. It has not only allowed us to continue our work but has given us enough stability so that we’ve been able to begin building our new home, which will give the orphans we work with a classroom and clinic, a computer lab, library, playing fields and a full kitchen – all powered by solar energy!
The building project is not only giving us the space that we need but is providing the older children we’ve worked with for years with training for their own futures in a country where unemployment now tops 90 percent. Several years ago, we turned Zimbabwean tradition on its head by appointing these older children to a Zimkids Council of Elders and teaching them to run activities with the younger kids – from chess to traditional dance and choir - and even to provide first aid.
Before we broke ground, those Elders (aged 17 & 18) – all of whom have finished school but cannot find jobs – became our Seniors and are now hard at work under the supervision of professional builders who are training them in every aspect of the process, from preparing the foundation to building walls, thatching, plumbing and electricity. If all goes well, we hope that by the time we’re done, they’ll be ready for some training in running a business so that they can spin themselves off into Zimkids Builders!
There’s still a huge amount of work to be done, of course. The wall encircling the 2-1/2 acre building site is almost complete – and it has been an enormous job! The Senior boys and girls have not only been laying brick and pouring concrete; the boys have been living on the site to provide much-needed security and have already chased off men in donkey carts with their eyes on our bricks, blocks and sand! They’ll be taking a break soon to go to a nearby national park to harvest thatching grass. Then it will be time for the construction of our buildings! We are working closely with Dr. Sashka Maksimovic to make sure our clinic/first aid room has what she needs to serve our kids and their families. All of our children were tested for HIV last year. Those HIV+ children are closely monitored.
Meanwhile, our new Council of Elders, having grown up under the influence of our Seniors, have taken over our activities with great skill and have begun learning computers, for themselves, so they can in turn teach the younger kids and as part of our long-term goal of opening an Internet café. That is just one element of self-sustainability plan. The other two elements include a market garden based on environmentally sound drip irrigation processes and a project to raise chickens. Fortunately, a local chicken farmer has promised to train our Elders and Seniors to raise both layers and broilers and to recycle their waste so that we can avoid the use of chemical fertilizer in our garden.
We have many new children who have joined us over the last 2 years so in an effort to bring them together in a shared experience all the kids and the Seniors went to Masiye Camp for 6 days of fun, games and barbecues in April. They had a great time making happy memories that will last a long time and returning to Bulawayo as a Zimkids family.
Life is frantic, then, at Zimkids. But, immodestly, we believe that we’re creating a model center for orphans that will allow us to care for their educational, social, medical and personal needs even as we help train them to become leaders and business owners that will equip them to care for their families, their community, their environment, and their nation’s future.
We are incredibly excited and proud to announce that in honor of our board member Adrian Suskin, two generous donors have given us enough money to build Zimkids its own home. Adrian has been in a pitched battle with cancer the last few years. In spite of monthly chemo he tirelessly assists us at Zimkids. Attached you'll find drawings of what the Adrian Suskin Center for Zimkids will look like when we finish building, hopefully by the end of the year. As you know, we've been operating out of a classroom and on the playing fields of a local primary school. Now, we will have our own multipurpose classroom, a future internet café stocked with laptops donated by the Town School for Boys in San Francisco, a clinic, storage facilities, and a performance gazebo. We are using the surrounding land not only for playing fields but for a market garden and chicken coops to move us toward self-sustainability. We are installing a well for irrigation. The center was designed by a local young architect pro bono and features Ndebele/Shona designs and thatched roofs - a updated version of a typical rural kraal.
The children are, of course, wildly excited about the plans, and the Elders are keen to begin building because we have arranged with the builders and other tradesmen for them to work alongside the professionals to gain skills in laying brick, installing plumbing and electricity, and preparing a modern drip irrigated market garden - skills that are actually marketable in Bulawayo.
In the next week or so you'll notice that we have added a new project page on globalgiving to help in buying desks and chairs for the classroom, bookshelves, clinic supplies and the like.
Join us, please, in giving an enormous thanks to Adrian and his wonderful friends!
NOTE: Global is holding a matching funds campaign on Wednesday, March 16. For every dollar donated Zimkids gets $1.30! Also there is a prize of $1000 for the project with the most donors.
All the best! and Thank you again for your support.
We have a lot of news to report!
First: Global Giving will match all donations with 30% up to a $1000 per donor on March 16th. They also will award the project with the most donors and/or the highest amount of donations with $1000. So Please you mark your calendars and think of us on March 16. Last year Zimkids raised over $20,000 in matching funds alone! That will feed all our children and their families for 5 months and pay for medicine and some school fees! Thank you so much for you past support.
In April we are taking all of our 160 orphans to Masiye Camp for 6 days. The camp, run by the Salvation Army, provides leadership training and a multitude of meaningful activities, team building, workshops and just plain fun. It’s been four years since we were there.
Five of our 16 year olds took their O level exams and two passed, one with very good scores. Pauline Mhendo, one of our superstars, a 17 year old young woman who lost her father in 1995, her mother and her grandmother in 2005, and joined Zimkids several years ago just defied the odds by passing her high school graduation exams. Her scores were a real tribute to her intelligence and tenacity since she'd spent most of high school not in school due to strikes and, when opened, without any qualified teachers. Zimbabwe has a second level of high school for the most serious students, and we went searching for a good yet affordable place for her. We're pleased to announce that she is now enrolled in the science program at Matopos Mission School. Thanks to our donors we are able to pay for her schooling. They have a 94 percent pass rate on the examinations for what are called A-levels, and we are confident that Pauline will do them, and us, proud by emerging at the top of her class. She wants to be a doctor. Following medical school she wants return to Zimkids as our physician.
Re Land Project: The site is now cleared of all trash and our Elders are working on the preliminary efforts to set up a viable market garden. A well will be drilled in March that will supply the complex with water and irrigation.
We continue our food distribution program and visits by our volunteer doctor. Since November we have had no deaths and everyone is in good health.
A special thanks to Tinashe Basa whose tireless efforts make Zimkids hum.
All the best and thank you from all of us at Zimkids Orphan Trust
Dear Friends of Zimkids
As I mentioned in our last update Zimkids has produced a video to compete for $10,000 in the Ford Focus Global Drive. After much work it is now posted entitled “You Can’t eat a Ford Focus” (right now it’s the first in the upper left corner) and all we need is your vote by clicking on the “Love It” button so could you take the time to go to this site: It has to be done by midnight December 31!
Click on the “Love it” button.
The more Love Its we get the better chance we have of winning. And we need A LOT! We are up against some stiff competition.
So make it your New Year’s resolution to Click and please ask your friends and family to join in the clicking!!!
Here’s the blurb on the video:
Everyone has heard about the misery of Africa, about the violence, death and dying. But no matter the hardships, just like their counterparts in the rest of the world, African children like to have fun, especially the children we work with. Every one of them would love to have a shiny new Ford Focus since trekking kilometer after kilometer on foot to get water and food is exhausting. But what the children we care for really need is security – and we’re trying to provide them with that possibility by establishing a garden and chicken coops to help feed them. We at Zimkids have the land to do that, and with $10,000 from Ford, we can dig a well, install a solar-powered pump, build chicken runs and teach our kids to grow their own futures. And if we do our jobs right, in the future, they’ll be able to buy their own Ford Focus.
Thanks SO much!
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Chair, Board of Trustees