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Child Care Centre - Providing
a helping hand at a difficult time
August 16, 2005
View audio file details
just after 10 o’clock and some children from the Mbare and Sunningdale
areas in Harare are fortunate to be having some tea and bread. Many
children in Zimbabwe can no longer afford to have breakfast due
to the harsh economic conditions.
now a word that means nothing to many children. They survive on
one meal a day and at times even this evening meal is not available.
And each day is a new day bringing new challenges.
have lost either one, or both parents, are the hardest hit by the
crisis in Zimbabwe. The extended family system that used to support
orphans has crumbled while everyone tries to adjust to the increasingly
difficult way of life.
Child Care Centre, situated in Harare, is one of the few places
that assist vulnerable children. But the current economic crisis
in the country has severely affected the work of some of the childcare
centers. Budgets that were initially meant to cater for the entire
year are now only adequate for 3 months.
Chipunza (pictured on the right), an outreach worker at Chiedza,
soldiers on saying that she loves her job.
believes that when schools open in September children will find
themselves in an even more difficult position because the government
has recently raised school fees by a 1000%. Some children who were
paying Z$200 000 are now being asked to pay Z$1.2 million dollars
the local community in a variety of ways through programmes for
pre-school children, after school activities for adolescents, as
well as help with medical and counseling needs. The children get
assistance with their homework, learn different skills and get a
nutritional meal before they go back home.
the work being done by Chiedza as "a drop in the ocean"
to audio file. She
says that there is a waiting list of more than 500 children that
need assistance and at the moment Chiedza is only able to help 120
Part of Tendai’s
work is to go into the community and talk to the caregivers and
guardians of the children. She also goes to schools and speaks with
the teachers and requests an update on the progress being made by
the children who have their fees and uniforms paid for by Chiedza.
one of her regular visits, Tendai was shocked to find that some
of the households they were assisting had "vanished’ in the
Governments clean up campaign which is known to local people as
of the clean-up operation, Tendai says some of the homes that they
are supporting are now overcrowded. She cites a household that previously
accommodated 8 people, now accommodating more than 20 people.
conditions have led to some of the children having to be treated
for measles. Chiedza is concerned that there is likely to be an
outbreak of more diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) if the issue
of overcrowding is not addressed.
offer long-term assistance and Tendai feels that the community guardians
of the children should do more in trying to help the children. She
says that there is a general belief that Care Centres should take
full care of the orphans. In a bid to change these sorts of attitudes
in the community, Chiedza conducts workshops where they inform the
community of what type of assistance they can offer and that they
are not there to completely support orphans.
Chiedza’s interventions women support groups have also been setup.
During these sessions women are taught some basic self-sufficiency
skills such as growing vegetables and knitting.
While the staff
at Chiedza battle to source funding for next term’s school fees,
children sitting under the gazebo in the centre’s yard recite AIDS
poems and play games together.
recites a poem called Beware of AIDS. She is in Form 2 at a high
school in the Mbare area. She said her late mother helped her to
write the poem - listen
to audio file
At least for
now, those below the age of 18 who are being assisted by Chiedza,
can relax and hope that life in Zimbabwe improves by the time they
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