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.
Mar 25, 2013

March 2013 Zimkids Update

Our Elders are cooking up a storm for our kids.
Our Elders are cooking up a storm for our kids.

The past few weeks at Zimkids have been exciting, so let me try to boil it all down:

 

The big news: Across Zimbabwe, only 18.4 percent of high school students passed their national exams, but 70 percent of our Zimkids prevailed. Those results were deeply satisfying, as you can imagine. All that tutoring, encouragement and training really paid off. We are paying for those students continue to the second level of secondary school – Advanced Level.

 

One of the others, Samantha, is running a new program we began for three to six year olds who are with us every day 9am to 3pm. This program offers a feeding program using a high-nutrient supplement that is receiving rave reviews in South Africa.  The latest, and littlest, Zimkids, are already learning English, reading and taking their first tentative steps onto computers.

 

Tinashe is busier than ever in the Tech Center, continuing his training with the older children even as he begins training both the small newcomers, including some three-year-olds, and the caregivers, including 80 year-old grandmothers who have never actually touched a computer.  

 Go to our website – www.zimkids.com - to see the latest video news or, if you are on facebook you can find the videos on our facebook page www.facebook.com/zimkids.

Our greenhouse and open air vegetable garden is back in full swing following an invasion of army worms that demolished our vegetable garden in December.  They literally climbed the walls in the thousands and ate like locusts.  We are growing kale, spinach, tomatoes and butternut squash and even have a field of sunflowers.  Also the kids brout=ght in seeds for mango and advocado trees for our planned orchard.

 We’ve made a terrific new alliance with Contact, a local counseling center funded by the German and Greek governments. They will be offering workshops for our staff, for the older children, and the caregivers, and are making their professional staff available when we confront difficult family situations. They run a counseling training program, usually limited to candidates over the age of 25. But they have agreed to include Sithabisiwe, who will begin training part-time in March.

 

The Center is in beautiful condition, being carefully maintained by its builders. We recently added a roof for shading over the 15 meter art table behind the resource center. Built entirely by former trainees with the help of current ones. We are expecting the container being shipped from the States to arrive in Mozambique the end of April.  We will be doubling our library offerings, adding the donated sewing machines to our programs and myriad other supplies and educational materials.

 

Some wonderful new friends in New York are working on a Bra drive because bras are expensive and in short supply here. We’d also talked about doing something to address the awful problem of the high cost of sanitary napkins. At first, we’d thought about a fundraising drive for reusable pads, but our physician here protested because of the difficulty of keeping them sanitary. Instead, we’re investigating the possibility of borrowing a page from a terrific Indian group that has invented three machines that allow for the creation of a small-scale sanitary napkin factory. The biggest challenge is sourcing the materials needed here. So many businesses are closed or closing, but we’re excited by the possibility of opening a small business that would provide experience, employment, and the cheapest sanitary pads in the country! That would be a wonderful addition to our training program for girls, which is continuing with welding. They are in the midst of welding shelving for our expanded library and storage room.  This requires them to plan the size, shape, and height to fit the space so they are getting a lesson in drafting. Then they have to measure and cut the pieces and finally weld so that the shelf is level. The girls are in great need of experience in planning, organizing and administration as we move forward with microenterprises for them. A small factory would certainly provide them with on-the-job training. So as we look into the possibility - we hope the necessary materials can be sourced locally. 

Tinashe with his first class of little ones.
Tinashe with his first class of little ones.
Maintaining the Center facilities
Maintaining the Center facilities
Angel is tutoring our first graders
Angel is tutoring our first graders

Links:

Mar 18, 2013

Girl Project Update March 2013

Charity wielding a grinder to cut round bar
Charity wielding a grinder to cut round bar

Our ZimGirls are moving forward - with a vengeance!

 

Three of them just passed their O-level examinations, the national exams given to the end of the first part of high school. It was quite a feat since they spent many of their school years with few or no teachers. The national pass rate was only 18.4 percent, but our kids brought in an amazing 70 percent. We are paying for two of the girls to continue on to their Advanced levels, only the second time any Zimkid has achieved well enough to do so. The first time was the triumph of Pauline Mhendo, who just finished her Advanced levels. She passed, although less strongly than we'd hoped, and we're waiting to hear whether she'll be accepted to a nursing program at the local hospital.

 

We were particularly saddened that Samantha Jumira did not pass, although hardly surprised. Her mother routinely pulled her out of school and sent her to their rural area to take care of her younger siblings. To pass, you need passing scores on five examinations, and despite her numerous, months-long absences from school, Samantha passed four. One of our volunteers is now tutoring her in math, and we're hoping that she'll pass when she re-sits that exam in June. In the meantime, we've hired her to run our new program for younger children, ages 3-7, and she's doing an amazing job, complete with lesson plans, activity sheets and a small feeding scheme. If she succeeds when she retakes her math exam, we're hoping to find an Early Childhood Education program where she can study.

 

Meanwhile, Sithabisiwe, who has been with us since she was 12 and was one of the Seniors who built our Center, has been selected for a year-long counseling course sponsored by a Greek-run NGO. This was quite a feat as the program is limited to people over the age of 25 with five O-level passes, and Sithabisiwe is only 20 and had just one pass. But an exception was made after the program director saw our Center and met with Sithabisiwe. So she's on her way to a certificate in counseling!

 

We've just begun a new welding class for girls, and carpentry will not be far behind. We haven't been able to move toward the creation of Zimkids Welding yet since two of our best trainees are currently studying their A-levels and we still don't have enough money for a truck. But it will come before the end of the year, we hope.

 

At the same time, we're planning two new income-producing projects for our girls. First, we're hoping to establish a school uniform business for several of them, using donated sewing machines that will arrive next month. Here, many girls study fashion in high school, and a number are excellent seamstresses. Since all children are required to wear uniforms to school - and they are expensive to buy in town, the only place they are available - we think such a business could provide a solid livelihood. So once the machines arrive, we're hoping to get started.

 

Several months ago, we began considering how we might help our girls deal with the high cost of sanitary napkins, which forces most Zimbabwean women to use rags instead. Women back home offered to raise the money for reusable sponges, but our doctor here doesn't like them since they demand a lot of cleaning to avoid infection. We looked around for alternatives and discovered a fascinating inexpensive, low-tech sanitary napkin factory invented in India. Three machines and four workers produce 1400 pads a day - for a penny each! In India, the inventor supplies the raw materials - wood pulp - to the women's cooperatives using the machines, and that isn't feasible for us. So we're trying to locate sources for the pulp to see whether we can match those costs. If we can, we're hoping to open our own small factory. We'll corner the market, give our young people experience marketing, costing, and producing sanitary pads - and generate some income. We're very excited about the possibility, so we're holding our collective breath while endeavor to source materials.

 

We'd hoped to bring women from Kenya for self-defense workshops with our girls. The idea generated so much excitement around town that four other groups asked if they could be involved. Unfortunately, with elections coming in a few months, the atmosphere is too rife with suspicion for anything of this sort. But we're hoping that by the northern hemisphere Fall things will have calmed down enough that we can help our girls learn to defend themselves.

 

Finally, we'd like to thank you for your amazing support for these projects. 

Marvelous mastering the circular saw
Marvelous mastering the circular saw
A class of our girls making burglar bars
A class of our girls making burglar bars
Tinashe describes the use and parts of a computer
Tinashe describes the use and parts of a computer

Links:

Feb 28, 2013

February, 2013 Update

Our Elders are cooking up a storm for our kids.
Our Elders are cooking up a storm for our kids.

The past few weeks at Zimkids have been exciting, so let me try to boil it all down:

 

The big news: Across Zimbabwe, only 18.4 percent of high school students passed their national exams, but 70 percent of our Zimkids prevailed. Those results were deeply satisfying, as you can imagine. All that tutoring, encouragement and training really paid off. We are paying for those students continue to the second level of secondary school – Advanced Level.

 

One of the others, Samantha, is running a new program we began for three to six year olds who are with us every day 9am to 3pm. This program offers a nutritional support component using a high-nutrient supplement that is receiving rave reviews in South Africa. The latest, and littlest, Zimkids, are already learning English, reading and taking their first tentative steps onto computers.

Our vegetable garden was suddenly overrun with army worms in January which ate everything in sight in a matter of hours. So we have replanted and consulted with agricultural people on ways to combat the worms. We now are growing chimulia (kale), spinach, tomatoes and onions.

Tinashe is busier than ever in the Tech Center, continuing his training with the older children even as he begins training both the small newcomers, including some three-year-olds, and the caregivers, including 80 year-old grandmothers who have never actually touched a computer.  

 

Go to our website – www.zimkids.com - to see the latest video news or, if you are on facebook you can find the videos on our facebook page www.facebook.com/zimkids.

 

We’ve made a terrific new alliance with Contact, a local counseling center funded by the German and Greek governments. They will be offering workshops for our staff, for the older children, and the caregivers, and are making their professional staff available when we confront difficult family situations. They run a counseling training program, usually limited to candidates over the age of 25. But they have agreed to include Sithabisiwe, who will begin training part-time in March.

 

The Center is in beautiful condition, being carefully maintained by its builders. We recently added a roof for shading over the 15 meter art table behind the resource center. Built entirely by former trainees with the help of current ones.

 

Some wonderful new friends in New York are working on a Bra drive because bras are expensive and in short supply here. We’d also talked about doing something to address the awful problem of the high cost of sanitary napkins. At first, we’d thought about a fundraising drive for reusable pads, but our physician here protested because of the difficulty of keeping them sanitary. Instead, we’re investigating the possibility of borrowing a page from a terrific Indian group that has invented three machines that allow for the creation of a small-scale sanitary napkin factory. The biggest challenge is sourcing the materials needed here. So many businesses are closed or closing, but we’re excited by the possibility of opening a small business that would provide experience, employment, and the cheapest sanitary pads in the country! That would be a wonderful addition to our training program for girls, which is continuing with welding. They are in the midst of welding shelving for our expanded library and storage room.  This requires them to plan the size, shape, and height to fit the space so they are getting a lesson in drafting. Then they have to measure and cut the pieces and finally weld so that the shelf is level. The girls are in great need of experience in planning, organizing and administration as we move forward with microenterprises for them. A small factory would certainly provide them with on-the-job training. So as we look into the possibility - we hope the necessary materials can be sourced locally. 

We wish to thank those of you who sign up for a monthly recurring donation with GlobalGiving.  It assists us so much. Thanks you for your commitment, trust and kindness.

Every effort is made to maintain the center well.
Every effort is made to maintain the center well.
Tinashe with his first class of little ones.
Tinashe with his first class of little ones.
The newest Zimkids ages 3 - 7!
The newest Zimkids ages 3 - 7!

Links:

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