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Orphans and Vulnerable Children (96380)
     
  Bonface & Tatenda  
     
  Bonface and Tatenda, 10-year-
old twins who have received
food through this project.
 

IN ZIMBABWE, OUR HOPE FOR AIDS TEAM supports orphans and vulnerable children with assistance in home care (for child-headed homes), nutrition, school fees, and basic education in life skills.

Bonface and Tatenda are ten-year-old children who were orphaned five years ago. A church member took them in, but she is a widow and finds it difficult to feed her family. The project helps by providing peanut butter and cooking oil, yet even that is not enough. Tragically, thousands more live in conditions similar to Bonface and Tatenda.

Thus one of the project’s goals is to equip families with sustainable means to grow their own food. HOPE for AIDS provides seed and fertilizer, and helps communities to develop vegetable gardens to feed orphaned children.

Feeding orphaned babies is a challenge for grandparents, relatives, and HIV+ mothers who have been advised not to nurse. Goats’ milk has been found to be a more nutritious alternative to formula. Therefore the project seeks to provide goats to care-givers of orphaned infants and toddlers, thereby giving the very youngest a better start in life. Care-givers are trained on how to milk and keep goats. This, along with food packs (mealie meal, dried fish, beans, cooking oil), is filling the bellies of 12,900 children on Zimbabwe dirt roads and hot streets.

Faced with HIV and AIDS in the family, many children leave school, exposing them to possible neglect, trauma, and abuse. The school drop-out rate among orphans in Zimbabwe is a staggering 80%. This year the project will enable 3,000 orphans to remain in school by paying their school fees, providing exercise books and pens for 2,000 children, and purchasing school uniforms for 150 children. Ensuring education for children maximizes their potential to become fully contributing members of society and is critical to mitigating HIV-related vulnerability.

When school is out, the team holds "Life Skills Camps" for children in each community. Each year, the kids look forward to games, sports, lessons and good counsel regarding how to live without their parents.

Trained volunteer church members visit children in their communities at least twice a month. Volunteers help fetch firewood, wash laundry, cook meals, and everything else necessary to keep kids healthy and safe.

Today 720 dedicated volunteers carry out the goals of the project in dozens of local communities. This entire ministry is accomplished in partnership with the United Baptist Church (UBC) of Zimbabwe. Volunteers receive training and support to build their capacity to effectively help orphans and vulnerable children. The team cares for each child as their own, showing to the best of their ability the unconditional love of God towards the children.

If you would like to come alongside this vital ministry, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact your nearest SIM office.

Additionally, Rob Eldred of the UK will run the Paris Marathon on 10 April 2011 to raise money for goats. Read more about him and his campaign at his blog Running for HOPE.




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