“More than quarter of the population face food shortages as Zimbabwe hit by severe drought, with cattle dying and crops destroyed” The Guardian, 5 February 2016)
First, a very big thank you to all the generous donors who have supported our feeding programme at Marula Junior School over the months since the project has been active.
The past few years have been difficult, but nothing compares to what we are facing now. In February, the President declared a state of disaster in rural areas. Our district is one of the worst affected.
As there are no employment opportunities, the people here rely on growing their own crops, which are generally meagre as we receive little rainfall. Our yearly average is 17 inches – this year we have had barely 6 inches, and it is already the end of the “rainy” season. So there will be no maize this year and very little hope any imported food reaching outlying areas.
Of our 270 plus day scholars, many are AIDS orphans, living with relatives or with only slightly older siblings, all of whom are unemployed. The only way we can feed them is to keep raising funds to buy them mealie meal, plus “relish” consisting of soy chunks, tomato, cabbage and a soup mix. This enables us to give these children, most of them in the 5 – 10 age group, lunch every day during the term time.
Water is, of course, another huge problem. This has been somewhat alleviated, though, by our being able to have the bush pump at the school well fixed recently thanks to overseas donors. This water is not suitable for drinking or cooking but it can be used for everything else – and the children are kept busy pumping and carrying the water back to the school building in buckets.
Our next project is to buy a storage tank, but first priority is food, food, food – enough to tide the children over until next year when we hope and pray that the rains will come.
GVI Charitable Trust
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