Thursday, May 24, 2012
Dear friends, It has been nearly two weeks since my last post. The whole team has been very busy running with different programs. Where do I start today... Well we were so excited to be a part of the Harare International Festival of Arts, HIFA. 350 children had a fantastic time in shows, meeting artists and being part of the exuberant crowd. I was also excited to see the kids enjoying themselves and how some of them narrated that this brought some respite to them as opposed to being in the orphanages or group homes. We also had vulnerable children being part of the groups the entire week and these are children who were drawn from different communities. Some of the kids were looking after their chronically ill parents and or staying with very aged grandparents. The opportunity to spend one day being pampered was very welcoming to them and brought also relief as these kids are really young to be looking after sick and dying parents. Kudos to the whole team at HIFA for being hospitable and for tickets, food etc. The following week after HIFA schools reopened from the holiday break and Team Nhaka was caught up with the launch of the feeding program at one of the schools we are working with. In the run up to the opening of schools, the Team dealt with a variety of challenges associated with the feeding program. I thank God that everything has gone according to plan thus far and happy to report that Nhaka Foundation has been feeding over 500 children each day since the 11th of May. Our partners at Zoomaid have been very consistent with the funding support to enable this to happen. Happy with the work done so far they have requested Team Nhaka to identify 2 additional schools to add onto the feeding program and by the end of June we should be reaching out to 2000 children many of whom are orphaned or living in vulnerability. It is important to note dear friends, that for myself and the team at Nhaka Foundation it is not about numbers! We are really motivated by the desire to serve these children, give them some sense of food security, make sure that at least they have something in the tummy before they go home to do some work and additionally be able to minister to them. In case you thought it was about the numbers of children being fed, it really is not about that. As we move forward with the feeding I intend to work with the team in forming kids clubs. In these clubs our work will be centred around life skills coaching provision of psycho social support as well as getting the kids connected to the Word of God. I have also been busy working on securing long term sponsorship for our different program's particularly the school fees payments for orphans as well as the preschool or Early Childhood Development program. As I send proposals out and meet interesting people in and out of Zimbabwe I continue to get the sense that God is on top of the situation and that we will secure the funding needed to support the children and communities sustainably. I have received several not so good responses to our funding proposals but the few that have been positive have been very positive! So that spurs us on and our combined faith and hope in the promise from God motivates us to work harder each day. Looking ahead we have exciting stuff to look forward to. We have friends from ZoomAid UK visiting us in June and our family from 2SecondsorLess.org spending an entire month with us from mid July to August amongst other things on our diaries. We thank God for the work He is doing in us and the relationships that are being created around the world. Amazing conversations are happening about our work and impact on communities as we aim to assist communities solve their own unique problems, feed their own children using community generated resources and send their kids to school. In order to get to that stage your help is needed. We need to reach out to them, teach them how to fish and walk alongside them as true friends showing them all the time how to go back to the traditional methods of community based child care. Well friends, this is just a tiny glimpse of what we have been up to the past few weeks. Thank you very much for your encouraging emails, love and prayers. Until next time, Patrick Makokoro email@example.com
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Dear friends, Team Nhaka in the past week has been going round to schools within our operational area, looking at the infrastructure at schools e.g the state of the buildings, availability of desks, chairs and other learning materials and we saw a lot of differences between the six schools that we visited. Some schools have done well to mobilize local resources that they have then used to spruce up their schools whilst some have continued to fall into dilapidation because the surrounding communities are composed of poor people who even struggle to pay fees for the children. What was remarkable though in theses schools was the fact that the teaching staff are very excited about their work annd are keen to enrol more children in this new term, that has begun today, whilst providing the best service to the children. I am amazed by their professionalism, zeal and desire to continue teaching against the background of very low salaries and absence of appropriate teaching materials. I personally managed to visit two of the six schools and the reports I got from our team corroborate with what I also saw. This goes to demonstrate how Zimbabweans value education and how they continue believing in the educational institutions even though the past twelve or so years have wrecked havoc within that system. I believe working with the communities, we can restore some of the confidence in the education system that was lost during the political and economic turmoil of the past twelve years. With our partners we can harness the community energy towards creating vibrant and self sustaining program's that support the school system. This could be through community school feeding schemes that feed the poor hungry children, community gardening projects to boost vegetable availability and also infrastructural development projects that are aimed at rehabilitating the school classrooms and buildings so that the children are learning in a safe environment. My family lives close to a primary school and this morning at 6:15am the giggling,laughter and voices of excited young children heading to school filled our ears again. Coming back from school break, the kids are headed for another term, this time in winter, to learn, play sport and have fun with their peers. Hearing all this laughter and voices this morning felt like listening to a joyful noise being made as the kids celebrated the return to school. In weeks to come we will be noticing those kids who will be dropping out of class because of fees that will be demanded from them by the teachers. We pray that Nhaka Foundation will have resources to support the vulnerable children who will be affected by this exercise, many of whom are on our lists of children who need support. Until next time, thanks for reading. Patrick Makokoro " Be the change you wish to be"
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Our Jan-April 2012 newsletter was sent out by the team last week and as always was very excited to see how God has brought us this far. If you have not received a copy in your email box please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you. Additionally please sign on the Periodic Updates box on the homepage of our website. Do not be left out on what God is doing in this season.
Nhaka Foundation is proud to be working again with the Harare International Festival of Arts, HIFA to bring the shows, workshops and fun to the vulnerable children in Harare. During the weeklong HIFA, Nhaka Foundation will coordinate over 400 children being brought to attend shows and participate in workshops with artists. We hope this will stimulate the lives of the vulnerable children, bring about awareness and appreciation of the arts industry and also bring out the hidden artist that is in the children. Hopefully children who are artistically gifted will come out and we can link them to people who can groom them and work with them to develop their talents.
The Team has been busy working on the feeding program that is being launched next Thursday 10 May 2012 at Mapfeni Primary school in Goromonzi. The lists of the children selected to be part of this program are being carefully vetted by the Team as they seek to ensure that only the vulnerable children have been targetted. Support from the school has been overwhelming as they have been already bringing in firewood, bricks, sand and labour during the construction of the schools "culture hut" that is also going to be used as a kitchen to prepare the meals. I am happy to say we are about 85% ready to launch the feeding program.
This morning, one team member has started engaging other surrounding schools, carrying out a needs analysis to identify new schools that will benefit from an expanded feeding and preschool programs. The need is high for additional feeding as well as increasing access to early education. We are determined to provide the best service to the children and making sure that their beautiful voices are heard. Nhaka Foundation will continue making noise until the case for early education is appreciated and access levels have improved significantly.
Nhaka Foundation is the Focal Point for the Zimbabwe Network for Early Childhood Development Actors, ZINECDA, and through this network, we aim to advocate for increased investment by the government, parents and civil society actors. We need to stamp out donor dependency in Zimbabwe and by making such investments the future generations will have the requisite knowledge and training to do things for themselves. The case for investment in ECD is stronger than we may think. Nhaka Foundation is truly engaged in these efforts and initiatives through partnerships and working with like minded organizations and individuals.
Lastly, it is such a blessing to be working with people in Zimbabwe and from around the world who love God, have selfless love and a servant attitude. We are all called to make a mark in the world and to serve others in the ways best known to us.I believe that in serving and helping vulnerable communities find solutions to their problems, God will grow us and bless us. Again to whom much is given, much is expected. Find an excuse to be a blessing in someones life!
God bless you friends, thanks for reading!