It was only 2008 when Zimbabwe faced one of the worst economic collapses in history. For years, the country was a major tobacco producer. The appropriation of almost all commercial farms and the reduction on the demand for tobacco led to sharp falls in production in the agriculture based economy. The country has since endured rampant inflation and critical food and fuel shortages. Today, 32% of children suffer from stunting due to malnutrition. Many Zimbabweans survive on grain handouts, and the poorest people are fighting for the little resources available.
Many much-needed professionals have left Zimbabwe. As a result, the cost of education and health care continues to exclude the most vulnerable people from receiving basic and essential services. 23% of girls are married by age 18 to older men; only 1% of boys are married by age 18. With a lack of education and a lack of value placed on women, a shocking 50% of adolescent girls (age 10-19) justify being beaten by their husbands.
The cost and difficulty of accessing health care remains a major challenge for the most vulnerable families in Zimbabwe. Few can afford treatments or transportation to medical facilities. 68% of orphaned children have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. Prohibitive access means people do not receive treatment in time, and many children and adults pass away pre maturely.
In the current economic environment, people from the local church in Zimbabwe are also trying to merely survive. Often, the most vulnerable are not cared for. Hands at Work is supporting and encouraging volunteers from the local church to care for orphaned children and widows in their homes in the midst of their own poverty. This sacrifice and dedication to bringing holistic care to those most in need is bringing hope to the most vulnerable families in Zimbabwe.
We envision the local church in Africa effectively caring for the dying, orphans and widows, and unified in this mission with the church outside Africa.
Orphaned children (age 0-17): 1,300,000
Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS: 890,000
Under 5 mortality rating (per 1000 live births): Female – 82 | Male - 95
Secondary School Attendance:
Female – 50% | Male – 50%
People living with HIV: 1,400,000
Life expectancy at birth: Female – 53 | Male – 54
Lifetime risk of maternal death: 1 in 53
Country rating (out of 187) on the Human Development Index: 156
– Sources: UNAIDS, UNDESA 2014, UNICEF 2014