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Mashambanzou Care Trust

Zimbabwe Programme / Partner story

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande from Unsplash

The Mashambanzou Care Trust provides services to people with HIV and works to empower communities to deal with the pandemic. The organisation was established in 1990 to provide care and support for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Harare, and to help empower the local community to deal with the AIDS pandemic. Its care centre in Waterfalls, Harare, houses 30 patients, providing nutritional care and life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs. Mashambanzou reaches out to the community on many fronts. It provides home-based care for the sick, counselling for patients and their families, and outreach for orphans, including a creche and training for caregivers.

In the local language, the name Mashambanzou has a special significance, linked to how elephants collect at the rivers and lakes early in the morning to wash.

“The meaning is about preparing for a new day and a new life. It’s a dawn of hope. Our aim is to give people hope for a new life.”

– Sister Margaret McAllen, one of the sisters who works at the centre.

Mashambanzou’s work also includes counselling, treatment, referrals and caregiver training. The Trust places special emphasis on the importance of health education, which it approaches from a holistic perspective.

The Trust also runs an early childhood development centre in Mbare, a high-density suburb in southern Harare, the capital. This centre caters for children, most of whom live in extreme poverty, by providing them with education and nutritional support.

In addition, Mashambanzou functions as a drop-in clinic that provides HIV testing services, counselling and care. The clinic also offers self-help programmes for HIV positive women, where they can learn how to knit and sew. These projects provide an opportunity for the women to come together for group counselling, and they help reduce the stigma surrounding the disease. “We can see the difference in the women who take part,” said Sister Margaret McAllen. “They start to open up, there is light in their eyes.”

This grant falls under Oak’s Zimbabwe Programme, which works with local organisations involved in caring and providing for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Zimbabwean society.

Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report 2018