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the grace of God: The orphans of Zimbabwe
Christie R. House, New World Outlook
Read Rev Irene
Kabete's article - Who
is responsible for the children in Zimbabwe?
for Orphan Children in Zimbabwe - Photos by Richard Lord
Fandera is just 50 years old. She lives with her family in the Glenview
Falls section of Harare. She cares for 25 children in her home,
six of her own and 19 "dumped" kids.
know who their parents are," says Fandera. The police bring
them here, the welfare office brings them here." The "dumped"
kids were dumped on the streets by their HIV-positive parents or
by teenagers who couldnít care for them, explains Farayi Tiriwepi,
a community-based health-care worker with the Orphans and Vulnerable
Children (OVC) project of Africa University and the Zimbabwe United
Methodist Church. When the police or the Harare social welfare office
pulls kids off the street, they try to find people who will care
cared for orphans since 1991. "I think God shall make one of
these kids Iím caring for a doctor or a prime minister," she
says. She earns money to feed the children by selling soap and firewood.
Her youngest son also provides a little income to help. She doesnít
have the money to pay their school fees. The OVC project can help
an administrative assistant with OVC, says that the government pays
only the fees for "level A" schools in urban areas. In
order for their children to attend school, rural families must pay
school fees, buy uniforms, pay into building funds, and buy school
supplies. This can add up to about $1000 a year.
The OVC program
helps orphans, the majority of whom have lost their parents to the
AIDS virus, meet the requirements to attend school. The OVC program
specifically targets AIDS orphans who need help with school fees,
food, and health-care, the top three priorities. Case workers with
the program spend much time in the communities talking to the childrenís
caregivers and school officials to identify the children in need
and help provide for them.
need clothes, shoes, or soap; at other times, medical care. At present,
they have close to 400 registered in the program.
The $3 million
startup grant for the program came from a US family that was moved
by the plight of AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. At present, there are
about 1 million in Zimbabwe alone - that is one in every five children.
many women like Chirpo Makowi, who will take children off the streets
like this and care for them," Richard Lord asked Farayi Teriwepi.
"Yes," she said. "Yes there are. Because of the HIV/AIDS
pandemic, we have a lot of these ladies who have been touched by
the plight of the children and they volunteer their homes and whatever
else they have to care for them."
R. House is the editor of New World Outlook. Richard Lord
is a freelance photographer from New York City based in Virginia.
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