Food and Self-Reliance for 500 Orphan Families

by American Foundation for Children with AIDS

I can't believe that it is time to plan my visit to Zimbabwe!  As usual, I am so excited to get back there and to see, talk and play with the children whom we support.  In fact, my family and I will move to Zimbabwe for three months next summer because I want my children to get to know the kids they've heard about all their lives. 

Zimbabwe is one of my favorite places on earth, even though it might be a little sad and broken. When people ask me why I like Zimbabwe, I simply envision the people I've met there - their tenacity and will to move forward, no matter what is put in front of them.  Hard working and with a smile on their face, they are a symbol of grace during a very difficult time in their history.  I love hearing them sing in 6 part harmony - so effortless and so gorgeous!  I like eating their food, hearing their stories, and traveling through their incredible land.  What a beautiful country Zimbabwe is!

So, of course, it is with such joy that I can report that children are doing well - that they are eating the ATMIT we sent, that they are receiving the medicines they need, that girls are attending school thanks to the feminine products we've sent them, and that they are growing up.  Yes, they are growing up and I can't wait to see them to hear their stories from the past year and to see how the goats and chickens we gave out are doing.  I am excited to see lives changed!

Thank you all for making our work in Zimbabwe possible.  If you can, please tell others about what we do there.  We need many, many people to care for the children in that amazing country because we want all those children to dream of their futures, knowing they are possible.

On behalf of the children,

Tanya Weaver

The four containers of ATMIT (easily digestible oat porridge loaded with vitamins and minerals) have arrived in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe!  The week prior to arrival, it is always a nail-biting week because we simply don't ever know how the goverment of Zimbabwe will react to this humanitarian gift.  But, thankfully, we've never lost a container, no matter how many hoops we have to jump through to make sure the food arrives.

Now, sitting in our partner ZOE's warehouse, we have food for 400 orphan families for 3 entire months.  WHOO HOO!  Really, what is better than knowing that little ones can have a warm, decent meal twice a day?  Folks, please realize what you've done by donating to this project: you've assured these kids of one of the basic necessities of life - one that we take for granted in our corner of the world.  We can eat as many times a day as we want to, even if it is something small, like a carrot or something decadent, like cheesecake.  If we don't have time to cook, we have restaurants, fast food joints, supermarkets, and pizza shops to go to.  Amazing, isn't it? 

I am always reminded of how blessed we are when I visit the kids.  Some of the kids had no food when I first met them.  Some were literally mixing water and dirt to make little mud pies, which they'd wash down as dinner. Now. they are SO grateful for the nutritional support we send!  They've gained weight, they are back in school and they have hope.

All that said, I want to thank each and everyone of you for your generosity and for your care for children who are so far away.

On behalf of the children,



Four new containers, each containing 800 50-pound bags of ATMIT (easily digestible oat porridge, full of minerals and vitamins) have left our hands and are on their way to Bulawayo, for the orphan families.  The containers should be arriving in Zimbabwe in a month or so and the food will be distributed by our friends from Zimbabwe Orphans Through Extended Hands (ZOE) to the kids. 

It makes me very happy to know that even in this tough economy, we have kept our work and have sent the food these kids so desperately need.  But, I would be remiss to say that i hasn't been hard and that we haven't had to fight for every penny it cost to get those containers out.  There is never a question in my mind that we need to fulfill our promises and that our plans should always move forward, no matter how much we have to beg, plead, and move mountains.  Thank God, each child is receiving what we said we'd send and they are able to take their medicine because they have food in their bellies.

Thanks to each of you for giving generously.  Thank you for telling others about our kids and about our work, too!

On behalf of the kids,

Well, going back to Zimbabwe was great! Not only did we get a chance to meet with the ZOE staff whom we support, but we got to meet with beneficiaries. These are the folks who receive the food you've made possible through your donations. They are an incredibly grateful group of folks who just are excited about life and the possibilities they have, now that they have hope.

While in Bulawayo, we met with a potential local donor of food (I hope it works out!) and we also purchased livestock (goats and chickens) for orphan families on behalf of the Canadian Foundation for Children with AIDS (sister organization). These families are eligible for help if they are a child headed household, a family with one parent who passed away and the other who is sick, or a family that is cared for by an elderly person -relative or not.

Between the food you give these kids and the livestock they receive, they are truly on the path to self-reliance. The food is used to give the animals a chance to reproduce and produce so the kids can have eggs and milk to balance out the porridge AFCA provides. Manure is used for gardens. How cool is that?

Thanks for all you do, friends.

Check out the video - i linked it so you can see what we did.

On behalf of the kids,



I am thrilled to be returning to Zimbabwe this month. It has been a year since our last visit and we are anxious to visit the children who are benefitting form your generosity. Not only do they receive daily meals thanks to the containers of food that AFCA (and you!) sent in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, but they also received animals in order to start growing small herds.

We found out that some of the kids just didn't know enough about husbandry to take animals home, so until they are properly trained, they will learn how to care for the animals in a communal setting. Each child gets to keep some manure produced by the animals to sell as fertilizer, and they also receive milk and eggs produced by the animals so they have something to eat and barter. All along, they eat the porridge they received, making sure they give their animals time to reproduce and produce.

This project is a huge success and we are so proud to be part of it. In fact, four more containers of nutritional support will be sent later this summer so the kids receive a full year of this gift.

I will return with photos and will be sharing them here for all of you to see. Keep your eyes peeled for our next update!


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Organization Information

American Foundation for Children with AIDS

Location: Harrisburg, PA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
tanya weaver
Harrisburg, PA United States