Child Champions in Zimbabwe tell us about their country.
Formerly called Rhodesia, Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa, where the scenery and climate of the landscape offer as much variety as the customs and traditions of its people. With mountain ranges, high plateaus, and deep valleys, temperatures can run from severe heat to wintry frost, depending on the altitude and location.
Almost as extreme is the difference between what Zimbabwe once was as a nation and where it is now. Despite its lovely terrain and warm hospitality, land reform programs in recent years damaged the commercial farming sector, and political policies and inflation caused the abandonment of its currency. Tragically, Zimbabwe has gone from being known as the “breadbasket” of southern Africa to a nation struggling with severe poverty, including high unemployment, an unstable economy, and constant migration.
The majority of citizens work in the informal sector where there is no guarantee of income each day, and the unemployment rate is 90%. Zimbabwe’s ongoing water shortages are worsening as it faces one of the most severe droughts in history, which has the potential to leave 5.5 million people facing starvation. The strain of continual drought and economic crises has separated many families and left children to go hungry.
There is not enough work, so many parents go in search of jobs elsewhere, leaving children to manage the household. There are not enough teachers for all of the students in need of an education. There are not enough supplies, desks, or even buildings where they can gather to learn. Most children must travel long distances on foot to attend schools, which are sometimes not much more than a spot under a shade tree or a makeshift structure where their laps serve as writing surfaces, and the heat makes it difficult to concentrate on lessons. There is not enough to eat, so the meal they receive during class is likely the only food they will have all day.
The children of Zimbabwe are hungry — hungry for food, hungry to learn, and hungry for a better life. That’s why OneChild is committed to ensuring that the holistic needs of each child are met through discipleship and life-skills programs, which boost children’s confidence and help them feel valued and loved. Plus, many of the children who attend Hope Centers come from broken homes where love is not expressed, so Child Champions are a refuge where they can always find a caring heart and listening ear.
Although kids in Zimbabwe face many challenges, they are optimistic about the future — because by the time they complete OneChild’s program, they know about God. And to know God is to know HOPE.
Zimbabwe Hope Centers
The Hope Centers in Zimbabwe are schools, and by covering academic fees and providing a yearly uniform, OneChild and its partners are able to give children the ability to dream big, achieve goals, and become leaders in their communities. Additionally, sports, spiritual formation through Bible study with Child Champions, and youth leadership activities that build collaboration and self-esteem are available. And meals, hygiene supplies, and learning materials are helping children stay safe, healthy, and engaged. Children who are not as academically inclined have the opportunity to participate in vocational training, while those who excel in their studies are given the chance to attend university.
As OneChild grows in Zimbabwe, so can hope. Expansion to include rural areas and the opening of new Hope Centers will serve even more children. Improvements to transportation can help program initiatives run more smoothly. And a focus on encouraging sponsors to visit their children has the potential to create an unbreakable and life-altering bond. Together, all of these factors have the ability to help children stay committed to working toward a better future and can give them the confidence to try.
We are accountable to the children we serve AND to our donors.
Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)