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Photo: Eleanor Bentall/TearfundShadreck spends hours each day working. Photo: Eleanor Bentall/Tearfund

Shadreck is 12 and, like his native Zimbabwe, he’s facing an uncertain future.

Food is scarce. As an orphan, he has to fend for himself, his sister and elderly grandmother. Shadreck doesn’t have time for a childhood, survival is his full time occupation.

Tearfund has launched a new appeal for Zimbabwe to help people like Shadreck. A power-sharing government has brought a measure of political stability to the country and given us, working with local churches, an opportunity to step-up life-changing support.

The need for help is underlined by the statistics:

  • Some 1.6 million Zimbabweans face food shortages
  • 47 per cent of the 13 million population are under-nourished
  • 1.3 million people are living with HIV
  • 1.8 million children are orphaned
  • life expectancy is just 44 years

The economy has started to recover but there is a long way to go.  Unemployment is more than 80 per cent and the country’s infrastructure is in a state of disrepair.

Tearfund is working with partners and the local church in Zimbabwe to bring material and spiritual change to its long-suffering people. With relative political stability, we now have an opportunity to reach even more vulnerable people like Shadreck.

  • 12 September 2011 - The success of a Tearfund partner-led project which has helped improve access to food and water for more than 20,000 Zimbabweans in Bulawayo, has been recognised in a new report out today.

  • 17 May 2011 - Thousands of Christians will gather in Zimbabwe next week to unite in prayer for their troubled country.

  • Fear of politically-motivated violence is rising in the run-up to elections expected later this year in Zimbabwe, according to Tearfund.

  • Revisit the stories of some people that Tearfund has helped through difficult times.

  • Before the local church came to help, Siphiso had to play an arduous and, at times, dangerous waiting game to get food.

  • Peaceful doesn’t describe the stunning location where Shadreck and his sister Primrose live. With rolling countryside, it’s the perfect place to grow up. Perfect that is if you have parents.

  • Farmer Nicholas Ncube knows all about bad harvests. In 2002, the rains failed and so did his maize plants.

  • Miclon surveys his field in silence. There’s nothing to say because there’s nothing to see. The soil is parched and the little grass that is evident is dried out, brown and lifeless.

  • Take a drought-prone area with inhabitants who rely on subsistence farming, throw in an increasingly unpredictable climate and what do you get?

  • While it's convenient to talk about the church in Zimbabwe as if it were a unified group, in reality it's a complex mix of political opinions which have polarised and divided God's people.