Zara's Center (www.zarascenter.org) is an after-school safe haven for over 125 AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. 65% of Zara's children have lost at least one parent, most to HIV/AIDS-related complications, and more than half of Zara's children live with extended family. The Center provides twice daily meals, academic enrichment, medical care, work training, recreation, and artistic development in Emganwini Township.
Zimbabwe provides virtually no social services to vulnerable youth and is ranked 107th out of 117 developing countries on the Global Hunger Index. A period of inflation that began in 2019, coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has exacerbated existing inequalities. The children at the Center rely on Zara's services for daily nutrition, medical care, academic enrichment, and payment of mandatory public school fees (fees which are out of reach for most families).
Zara's gives children the tools and confidence to become their own advocates. The Center's philosophy is that we can help Zimbabwe 'one child at a time'. It is our hope that Zara's kids will grow up to be agents for positive change in their country. Children come to Zara's Center for a good meal, help with homework, intervention for health & wellness, and structured activities in a safe place.
Zara's outcomes studies reveal that our children are thriving in measurable ways. We are proud to report that 100% of our graduates have completed lower secondary school in a country where only 36% of the poorest children do so. We are planning a significant expansion in the next five years, starting with a poultry raising program in 2021. The program will provide high-quality protein for our children and will allow us to provide agricultural training for our older students.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).