Dear friends of Zimkids,
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!
I returned to Zimbabwe December 2 made a beeline to Pumula North to see all the kids. Tinashe Basa, Sipho Nyoni, Prosper Mhodi and our Council of Elders have done an amazing job keeping Zimkids thriving and moving forward.
As you may know, the City granted Zimkids a large plot of land in October. The site was littered with heaps of detritus: needles, broken glass and cement, rusted metal, plastic bags, feces and more. There is no trash pickup so people have to have somewhere to throw it and the nearest open spaces generally gets the worst of it. So the Council of Elders set to work cleaning it. The first step was to clean the trash on the surface then to dig and dig and dig to get the buried trash out. Then we are collecting all the scattered glass shards and rusty cans. So far we’ve removed 15 bucket-loads. That was a must do before our barefooted little ones can use the land. This week all our kids age 15 on up chipped in and got to work. It will take a good month before we are done cleaning. Next we will be planting our garden with hardy protein-rich plants like chimulia (a kind of kale) and spinach, secure the property with donated fencing, and get our building plans drawn and approved by the City Council.
We are trying to put together a video to compete in the Ford Focus Global Test Drive “Start Something More Than a Car” competition. The award is $10,000. Once the video is done and submitted I’ll let you know the site where you can see it and ask that you click the “Love it” button that will help push up our chances of winning.
Tinashe and Sipho like to save surprises for me. The first was how much they had accomplished cleaning the land. And the second was when Sithibisiwe, Mbuso and Nqabutho’s’s mother died in September all our caregivers decided to chip in 5 rand (about 75 cents) each to help pay the cost of the funeral. Considering they are all poor our message of volunteerism is seeping into the Zimkids Community. They are also providing us with tools to clean the land.
On the school front, Kudzai Sithole who lost his caregiver last year scored at the very top in his seventh grade exams. Bravo Kudzai! Pauline Mhendo, Ayanda Nkala, Thandiwe Mlotshwa, and Mqondisi Ngwenya took their O level exams in November and we are awaiting the results. Pauline has been consistently at the top of her class. Janice Mabudah continues her A level schooling but wasn’t doing as well as she should so we are giving her one more term to improve. We pay the cost of their O level tests as well as school fees at a top A level school so long as they do well.
Tinashe began teaching the children about computers. His enthusiasm is contagious!
Our thanks go to all our individual donors for your continued support. A special thanks goes to the International Pilots Association Foundation for their grant and to Global Giving who make so many dreams come true. Also, a special thanks to the Ross School in East Hampton NY, Ramaz School and the Friends Giving Circle in New York City and the Town School in San Francisco for their continued and enthusiastic support and to all our friends and supporters in the Catskill Mountains in NY.
Best wishes for the Holiday season from all of us at Zimkids. If I can get it uploaded before the electricity goes out you can see the attached video clip and photos!
Great news! We finally got official notification from the Bulawayo City Council that we have been granted 2.5 acres with the option of further acreage as we need it. The Council of Elders is gearing up to clear the fields for sports areas, our market garden and chicken runs and eventual activities center. We are all very excited as this is the beginning foray on the road to self-sufficiency in food.
As you may know we cannot afford to pay school fees for the all the children, but we're able to provide some fees and are doing so by paying for those children who are in the top 10 of their classes. We've long had 12 children who excelled, but this term, another six who rose to the challenge.
We also pay for the high school graduation exams. Unfortunately, because of the collapse of the educational system that had left children with five years of strikes and school closings, only one of the ten who decided to give the exams a try last year passed. But that one, Janice Mabudah, is doing wonderfully at Sezani High School, where we are paying for her A level studies, a college prep course. She was recently chosen as one of two students from that school who will fly to London to compete in a British version of a College Bowl. We are so proud of her accomplishments. Another seven of the older children are about to sit this year's exams, and we're hoping that several of them will be inspired by Janice.
Many thanks to the Town School for Boys in San Francisco. They have donated 7 used loaded pc laptops and I'm taking them back with me, along with laptops from Julia Tazzia, Dennis Metnick, Justin Gillis and Gerald Murphy for an additional four laptops. We are starting a computer training program for our Elders that will later be extended to the rest of the children. So we are looking for any educational DVD’s/CD’s that can be used on pc’s with Windows XP. As we build this part of our program we plan in coming years to operate an internet café serving the neighborhood staffed by the Elders for income generation.
On a sad note, Thoko Tshuma, the mother of Zimkids Sithabisiwe. Ngqabutho and Mbuso Ngwenya, died in September. She was 46 years old. She married her second husband Innocent (father to our Zimkids) at the age of 30. He died in 2003 at the age of 41 of an HIV related illness. Stihabisiwe who is 17 and one of our most active members of our Council of Elders will now become head of household and care for her brothers with our assistance.
That's all the news for now. Mostly, I want to say that we're thriving and growing thanks to all our donors whose kindness, support and generosity have made this all possible.
Dear friends of Zimkids,
A year and a half ago, 10-year old Brian Dube showed up at Zimkids coughing and weak. We took him to the doctor, who diagnosed him with both HIV and active tuberculosis and put him on medications for both. It was too late for his tiny body; he died in the middle of his night while sleeping with his grandmother.
Six months later, we lost 17-year-old Simsethu. HIV positive and on antiretroviral treatment, she’d run out of medication and informed no one. After two strokes, she succumbed in the summer of 2009.
Their deaths were a wake-up call, and I realized that food wasn’t enough; we had to make health care for the children a priority. Since then, we have tested all of them for HIV, and those who proved positive are now on medication. And we regularly take kids in for treatment for scabies and worms, tuberculosis and myriad other infections. We have had no deaths among the children since then.
But our caregivers have not fared so well.
Sizi Moyo, mother of Musa and Mthabisi, died this February at the age of 42 of HIV-related illnesses, having refused antiretroviral treatment. Three weeks earlier, she’d given birth to a 4-pound baby boy. Esther Mashaba’s mother Sekai, died later that month at the age of 35, also of an HIV-related illness. She had refused to be tested.
At the beginning of June, we buried Sidumisile Ngwenya’s mother, Sithibile, following what appeared to be a diabetic coma. We’ll never know for sure since the hospital did nothing to figure out what was wrong with this funny, energetic woman who’d seemed in perfect health.
Then, Busisizwe Fuyani’s mother, Sibongile, suddenly fell ill. She’d had a rough time after her husband, Vigour, died in 2008. His family had taken everything they’d owned, and she’d been forced to move in with her sister. But she’d raised an amazing son, who’d just been elected to our Council of Elders. Sibongile languished in the hospital without treatment or diagnosis. Her nieces had to feed and bathe her. She died two weeks later.
We at Zimkids made a decision long ago that we would rather provide ever-deeper care to the children we serve than to increase our numbers, and we now provide them with food, medical, educational and social resources. After this year’s disasters, we realized that we also need to protect our caregivers’ health and provide them with the tools to support the children. When a caregiver dies, the children left behind are too often sent to live in rural areas, where there is no schooling, no healthcare and no support. Thus far, we have managed to keep Busisizwe, Sidumisile, Musa and Mthabisi and Esther in the community, where we can continue to provide for them. But we cannot risk adding to their numbers by neglecting their grandparents and aunts.
We’ve updated our website with more thorough biographies of both the individual children and their caregivers. In the caregivers bios we included their wish for the tools that would bring in income.
I’m back in the States fundraising until November and while I’m gone, all Zimkids programs continue under Tinashe’s guidance. I’m hoping to be able to take back a stack of educational DVDs and used laptops when I return. If you have either that you no longer need, please think of us. This year, we’re really hoping to bolster our educational programs.
Thank you for your continued kindness, support and concern.
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Chair, Board of Trustees