One of our African Leadership staff members, Michele Maynard, recently spent time with some of the Zimbabwe orphans Mocha Club serves in the Bulawayo area. The Zimbabwe Orphan Project is actually the longest-running Mocha Club project that members have been supporting since we began in 2005!
a little background…
African Leadership [Mocha Club’s parent organization] has been working in Zimbabwe in the area of pastor training since 1997. The orphan project was an extension of our organization’s work and grew out of the feeding program of 2004 where the plight of orphans was first identified. Since 2005, we have been able to support orphaned children who live in the districts of Bubi, Bembesi, Bulawayo, Matopo and Kwesi districts, where diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB claim too many lives each year.
In Zimbabwe, there are fees for education all the way from primary school to college, and it is virtually impossible to get a job without at least a high school education. So, Mocha Club is helping care for over 300 orphans between the ages of 6-21 by paying their school fees and meeting their basic physical needs. While we receive new children into the program, others have now completed their education and gone on to become teachers, auto mechanics, artists – breadwinners within their families and for other children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS or other diseases.
The orphan project is currently only increasing in cost due to the fact that since 2000, the education system in Zimbabwe has all but collapsed, and households find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. The government education support program has also ceased which has also exacerbated the problem for households to meet school fees and other related school expenditures.
Your support makes a huge difference!
focus group: what the boys had to say…
Here is what Michele learned after spending some time with the orphan boys…
- The boys were less shy than the girls.
- The boys also said that they were treated well and that there was no discrimination of household chores. Most of them tended cattle as part of their household duties in the afternoons.
- The boys also said that they needed textbooks and exercise books. Form 4 & 6 are very important because of the exams, and it is important to do well in these years.
- One boy mentioned that he was not academically strong but that he was good at technical things and wanted to know if he would be funded to pursue a vocational school instead of an academic path.
- The boys wanted to be teachers, a soldier, a doctor, a mechanical engineer, business studies, etc.