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Fifty years, fifty countries: Zimbabwe

Since gaining independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has faced some serious challenges. Years of erratic rainfall have led to both droughts and flooding, hampering food production and damaging homes and property...

Tearfund | 14 Dec 2018

To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Zimbabwe.

Since gaining independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has faced some serious challenges. Years of erratic rainfall have led to both droughts and flooding, hampering food production and damaging homes and property.

Major economic problems, including both hyper-inflation and deflation, have discouraged investment in the country. Industry in Zimbabwe has crumbled – making the problem of poverty even worse.

Meanwhile, HIV is a huge and persistent problem, and has left the nation with the highest rate of orphans anywhere in the world.

Tearfund has worked in Zimbabwe for more than three decades. We operate through several partner organisations and local churches, including ZOE (Zimbabwe Orphans through Extended Hands), who have helped nearly 14,000 orphans over the years.

Stepping in to help
Traditionally, orphans would be cared for by their extended family. However, the difficult economic and social conditions in Zimbabwe have left relatives struggling to cope. ZOE believes local churches have a vital role to play.

Often, these churches have a desire to care for orphans, but do not know how to help. This is where ZOE steps in.

When a church leader approaches ZOE for help with caring for orphans, they first ask the pastor to gather all the church leaders in the area. ZOE staff then envision the leaders together about the biblical message to care for orphans.

The leaders go back to their churches and share the vision. They ask those in their congregations who have a heart for orphans to become volunteers. ZOE then trains these church volunteers to visit and support families who are caring for orphans.

A more secure future
Churches and community members are also encouraged to speak up and advocate for orphans, for example protecting orphan families’ inheritance rights, and helping orphans get the birth certificates they need for accessing other services.

ZOE also helps orphans and caregivers find ways to make a living. They provide them with small livestock (for example goats, chickens or rabbits) and train family members in animal management.

They also train caregiving families to grow crops and offer vocational training to orphans in a trade of their choice, setting them up for a more secure future.

PLEASE PRAY

Missed articles in this series? Find them here.

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