Happy New Year to you all from Zimkids! We wish you the very best. To start the New Year off we thought we should send our donors an update of what we are doing now and what we hope to do in the coming year.
As you know, providing quality food and medical attention to our beneficiaries and their caregivers is at the core of our program. We spend over 85% of our annual budget on these two items. The third tier of our program involves social, sports, and creative activities. As part of that program our Council of Elders (beneficiaries 15 and over who have been with Zimkids for 2 or more years) provide leadership and training in activities that include drama and comedy writing and performing, drawing, dance, choir, drumming, girls and boys soccer, chess as well as group play activities. We now have a lending library composed of locally donated books from the city library and local private schools. We have applied to the City Council for land for a community garden and have a farmer ready to donate seedlings. We are waiting for the slow wheels of the local bureaucracy to finalize our application. Medical oversight for those children who are HIV+ has been intensified. Zimkids has been chosen by an Israeli filmmaker and has received a video camera to film their daily lives as part of a documentary project. Each of our Council of Elders has microcredit accounts funded by a donor’s purchase of one of their dolls. Their monthly food allotment is paid by direct donations. They may use these funds to pay for school fees or O and A level tests or other educational programs.
Over the last year we have grown from serving 60 orphans to 160. We stopped at 160 because we feel that in order to be effective we need to know each of our children and their situations very well. Any more beneficiaries and we would have to increase staff taking away money from our core programs. With that in mind we are planning on expanding oversight, programs and resources to include the concerns of our caregivers. Our caregivers range in age from 18 to 80 with the bulk in their 50’s. Many have high blood pressure or are HIV+. All are unemployed. We are presently in discussions with them about the kinds of tools they require to independently provide for themselves and their families. We also plan to expand the lending library to benefit Amaswazi Primary School which generously allows us free use of the premises. To that end we are teaming up with a teacher in San Francisco, who ships containers of books to Africa (www.booksforsouthafrica.org).
Finally, the availability of foodstuffs in Zimbabwe has improved since the country cancelled the currency and is now using Rand or US Dollars. However, prices have skyrocketed. In earlier years, Zimkids didn’t have enough money, volunteers or transport to buy and distribute food or provide medical care while our founder was out of the country fundraising. We were accustomed, then, to the tragic news of the death of a child, the sickness of another or the malnutrition of all. Thanks to your generosity we were able to provide food and medical care for the full 12 months – and it really showed. Thank you from all of us at Zimkids.
Sipho, Tinashe, Dennis, Prosper, the Council of Elders in Zimbabwe
Adrian (Maryland), Desiree (Florida), Ric (California), Julie & Marybeth (Massachusetts), Gloria (Alaska), Allen & MaryJane (Minnesota), Chris, Sara & Alaya (New York)