Food and Self-Reliance for AIDS Orphans

by American Foundation for Children with AIDS
Getting a goat vaccinated
Getting a goat vaccinated

Meet Fatima:

She is 15 years old and has a dream.  She dreams of continuing her education so that she can, one day, provide for her 3 younger siblings and her grandma.  She dreams of one day moving to the big city of Bulawayo so she can attend the university there and become a doctor.  She dreams of getting married one day and of becoming a mom. 

Not so long ago, Fatima dreamed of eating enough food and not going to bed hungry. 

While not all her dreams have come true yet, by all signs we see, Fatima will be able to accomplish some of the goals she's laid out before her in the very near future.  As the proud owner of a herd of goats which she's taken care of thoughout the last year, she is well on her way of accomplishing her dream of eating well - she couldn't believe how good milk is when she first tried it!  With the veggie garden her family is growing, thanks to the seeds we sent them. Fatima and her siblings and grandma have added kale, beans, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and onions to their diet, as well.  This makes her happy, as she no longer goes to bed hungry and she doesn't hear her siblings complaining of stomachs that are painful in their emptyness.  

She is learning how to save seeds for next year's garden and knows that as long as she is careful, they won't lack for vegetables again.  With training in conservation farming behind her, she is a wiz at mulching and fertilizing her small garden, showing me how it is done.   I am so proud of her.  I am so proud of these kids who, against all odds, are moving ahead, providing for themselves and getting out of the cycle of poverty.

While visiting her last week, I asked to see her goats and she showed them to me with a small smile of satisfaction on her lips.  I did the happy dance which is translatable in any language without the need for words.  We danced together and together, we continue to dream big for Fatima and her loved ones.

Fatima with Grandma
Fatima with Grandma
With Kid Born a few days ago
With Kid Born a few days ago

Mduduzi Ngwenya is 15 years old.  When he was six months old his father died.  Soon thereafter, his mother died, leaving him in the care of Shadreck Ngwenya, his grandfather, who is now 84.  They live in a the small village of Sizeze, which is not too far from Bulawayo, a major city in Zimbabwe.  Being relatively close to a big city has been of no advantage to this small family, as it might as well be a million miles away - they have no transportation or money to get there. 

Mduduzi wants to be a businessman and dreams of helping his grandfather. With little money and no income, this family was selected to be part of our Livelihoods Program and they received three female goats. One goat has given birth to a very healthy kid who is three months old. The family is milking the goat and they are getting an average of 350mls of milk per day, which was only a dream a few months ago. The milk volume will increase with the improvement of range and forage since the start of the rainy season, which is fabulous!  They can sell any additioanl milk they can't drink, earning some money to pay for other things, like soap, blankets, school fees, and meat. They are using the manure in their maize plot with very good crop stand, making them hopeful that the yield will be enough to sustain them through the upcoming winter.

Their other two goats are at advanced stages of pregnancy, which will help to grow their flock.  Since they are not allowed to butcher, sell, trade, or barter their animals for three years, they should have a decent sized flock growing by that time.  When asked what this gift of goats meant ot him, Mduduzi said “the goats have made a great difference in my life. We drink milk now, which gives me strength, as well as to my grandfather. Now my friends respect me as a livestock owner.  In the next few years, from the way things are going, I will soon be the proud owner of a big flock.”   For a 15 year old, what could be better than respect from his peers?  Thank you for helping us give this boy exactly what he needs, right now, to have hope in the future, friends!

Smiling in Joy
Smiling in Joy

Have you ever seen someone smile so hugely that you can't help but smile right along with them, even if you don't understand the words being spoken?  Well, that happened to me not to long ago, while in Zimbabwe, thanks to you.

You see, some of the goats we've given away are having kids.  Some give birth to twins and some to singletons, but each birth is welcome.  Most celebrated are the female kids because it means that milk will continue to be provided for a family and that the flock will continue to grow.

I visited a family who wanted nothing more than to show me a brand new kid.  And, no words were needed in order to feel the happiness felt by the owner of the baby female goat.  The lady, who is raising 3 AIDS orphans, was so proud to show off the new little one and I thought you'd like to meet her, too.

Gabriel and Gibon with goats
Gabriel and Gibon with goats

Covenant Christian School in Harrisburg, PA raised funds to purchase three goats and a veterinary kit for children in Zimbabwe.  While the kids had the option to pay a dollar in order to wear jeans to school one day,  many chose to donate much more and they surpassed their goal!

Here's a note received from Mr. Khumalo, who presented three pregnant female goats to two boys and the veterinary kit to a veterinary assistant trained in by our program. "The goats were given to the orphans, Gabriel, a boy aged sixteen and his brother, Gibon, aged twelve. They come from Sizeze village. Their mother died in 2005 and they are currently staying with their sickly and unemployed father. The boys say, "it is great to know that there are children who care about us who can go an extra mile to an extent of giving us the life-changing gift of goats. We can't wait to have our own herd and to always have milk to drink".

The veterinary kit was presented to Yekelani Ncube, a trained veterinary assistant who is working hard to assist orphan families. He also comes from Sizeze.

Thank you for making donation that affect children like Gabriel and Gibon - you are changing their lives and giving them a future.

Happy 2013!

Gabriel and Gibon
Gabriel and Gibon's house
Mr. Ncube with his vet kit
Mr. Ncube with his vet kit


Promise and bunny
Promise and bunny

We are so grateful for the donations you've given towards this project! 

A 12-year old girl, Promise, who is being looked after by an elderly woman named Roda Dube received two female rabbits from AFCA.  Promise says she loves the rabbits and since they received the rabbits, she now has something exciting to look forward to when she comes home. She has been learning how to take care of her animals and has learned to take them to the community leader where male rabbits are housed in order to control breeding.  

Already, her rabbits have had babies and her family has re-gifted two to another family, just four months after initially receiving her gift.  Now, any rabbits born are hers to keep, to sell, to eat, or to barter.  The manure is used in a small garden she, her siblings and Ms. Dube have planted using AFCA seeds.  The bunnies benefit from some of the greens while the children and Ms. Dube benefit from carrots, turnips, spinach, onions, tomatoes, peanuts, and other veggies they are growing and harvesting.

Truly, Promise's life has changed thanks to your generosity. 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We have no other words.

On behalf of Promise and the other children you've helped,




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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

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