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Chipo Changara Field Ministry Partner, Zimbabwe

Hello from Zimbabwe! I am Chipo Changara, and I have had the pleasure of partnering with OneChild since 2013. In all this time, the loving care shown to the children in my country never ceases to amaze me.

Throughout the pandemic, we have received vital support to serve our children and their families during such a difficult time. And we are so grateful for these blessings! Child Champions have maintained contact with children from our Hope Centers via home visits or through phone calls when in-person meetings are not permitted because of safety. They hand-deliver Bible lessons and conduct Bible studies online and take measures to ensure that the kids don’t fall behind in their academic classes. Food hampers have been distributed to struggling families, and dry rations are still being provided each month.

But even though our kids have been sustained by these gifts and are moving forward in their education, they miss being able to gather with friends and just be children again. Hope Centers are a safe place where they can enjoy healthy interactions with their peers without the fear of bullying, abuse, or toxic relationships they face away from this secure and supportive environment. Children are encouraged, listened to, and counseled by their Child Champions, have opportunities to celebrate achievements, and are rewarded for academic successes by being entrusted with leadership roles.

Although the pandemic has shifted our children’s focus to things they wouldn’t normally think about — parents losing their jobs, kids losing their parents, or the possibility of pursuing high-demand medical professions — they still have hope. Because of the trust built with their Child Champions, children are more open than ever about how they are feeling. They’re able to share their fears and uncertainties about tomorrow and are met with helpful health information and bereavement counseling. And with their eyes on the Lord, they can focus on the future because of vocational trainings that provide economic empowerment and life-skills development courses which build confidence and self-identity.

These new offerings have been so successful that several youths who graduated from the program are now giving back by volunteering at their Hope Centers. What an inspiration to the children!

But none of this could have been accomplished without the ongoing support and thoughtful prayers of devoted sponsors and donors. This generosity gives us the ability to sustain struggling families and explore alternative ways of serving our children and preparing them for adulthood. And nothing brightens our kids’ days like receiving a letter or photo from their sponsor. This connection makes them feel seen, known, and loved and is one of the greatest blessings they experience.

We have many children in the program who have the love and attention of a caring sponsor. But we also have a large portion who see their friends get so excited when receiving correspondence and wonder — why not me? If you know of anyone who would be the perfect person to bring a smile to the face of a child in Zimbabwe, please have them sponsor a child from Zimbabwe.

In Faith,

Chipo Changara

Field Ministry Partner, Zimbabwe

About Zimbabwe

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.

Zimbabwe is located in southern Africa.

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

Zimbabwe children in class wearing bright blue

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.

Zimbabwe two children smiling

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)