Hands at Work in Africa has always focused on keeping Africa’s most vulnerable children alive and reducing their extreme vulnerability by providing access to food, basic health care and education through the local African church. Through Christian volunteers, children and those who support them are being cared for holistically in the poorest communities. As these children are healed from past trauma, they become a catalyst for transformation, spurring their communities towards growth and maturity.
Pimai A, a community in the Honde Valley of Zimbabwe, can be a tough place to live. Early marriage is an issue in this community and many young mothers struggle to take responsibility for their young children. It is not unusual for girls to be seen around the village scouting for new relationships. Though the valley is known for its lush plantations and farms, drought has swept through this region leaving many without employment or the ability to grow their own food. Many local people are completely reliant on their small plots of land around their homes to grow crops, mostly maize, to feed their families from harvest time (April and May) up to the end of the year. Staple foods that can be found in shops have been priced completely out of the reach of the poorest and most vulnerable. With the added challenge of a near-to-total crop failure, the level of vulnerability is dramatically increased for those living in this part of the valley. Despite the extra challenges the volunteer Care Workers of Pimai Christian Caring Trust have faced, led by Jane, they have identified and increased the number of children being cared for from 75 to 125 in 2016. This increase has added a heavy demand on water resources from the church, where the Care Point is located. The local Hands at Work office is currently looking into other sources for water. Because of the rising cost and a decreasing availability, Hands at Work is buying all the maize needed for this community until the end of the year, storing it safely so that food can be secured for those who need it the most. Purchasing power has become increasingly difficult recently as the Zimbabwe banks have begun regulating the amount of cash which can be withdrawn at any one time. There is a daily limit of $300 USD, which must be collected many times throughout the month to cover the operations of all of the Community Based Organisations supported by Hands at Work. This has been a challenge, especially with the food shopping that needs to be done. Please pray for these challenges, and for the Care Workers who are working in the midst of them to serve and show love to the most vulnerable.
Pictured here is Jacoline*, 14 years old and in grade 7. She is on her own much of the time. To bring in an income her mother is often travelling to the city where she sells bananas. This takes her away from Jacoline for two to three weeks at a time. Jacoline wishes her mother would stay home but she is grateful that she has the support of caring ‘mothers’ from Pimai Christian Caring Trust, who know her and visit her in her home.