Skip to main content

Building a rainbow for children’s cancer recovery

Zimbabwe Programme / Partner story

Photo provided by The Rainbow Children’s Village 

A comfortable bed, nourishing food, and a caring environment in tranquil surroundings – things that any of us would wish for children recovering from cancer treatment. In Harare, a bright and welcoming rainbow building is taking shape to provide this, thanks to the The Rainbow Children’s Village formed by Round Table Zimbawe, The Meilkles Foundation, and KidzCan. 

Rainbow Children’s Village is a recovery home for children fighting cancer. It provides a restorative space for children and their parents to stay, who might otherwise miss out on vital care. 

“We found that caregivers from remote communities could not meet the ongoing costs of travel, accommodation, and meals in Harare,” says KidzCan executive director Daniel Mckenzie. “To save money, parents were sleeping on ward floors and children were discharged straight after treatment, travelling home with compromised immune systems. Now they have a home to rest and recuperate, a space that will allow children’s bodies to mend, their souls to strengthen, and their spirits be uplifted.”  

Survival rates for childhood cancer in low- and middle-income countries are around 20 per cent, compared to 80 per cent in the Global North.1 This is due to a combination of late diagnosis and lack of funds for available treatments. 

KidzCan is leading the way in its work to improve children’s survival rates in Zimbabwe, and enhance their quality of life in a loving and caring environment. It provides families with financial help for diagnostic tests, drug treatments, and travel, as well as psychosocial support in playtimes and counselling sessions. 

On Cancer Survivors’ Day, Edmore Chahwahwa described the value of this support for their child’s recovery: “This is a huge milestone as we celebrate the healing of our children. I want to encourage those who are walking the same path that we trod, and say just follow medical advice.” 

The village brings the vision of all the sponsor members to life – to ensure no child misses out on lifesaving treatment. 

The first phase opened to great celebration in 2022. Curved buildings, inspired by arcs of the rainbow, draw guests in with an embrace of warm colours. The arcs form blocks that will be completed in stages, each housing up to eight bedrooms for a child and their caregiver, with everything they need for a short stay. 

Now families have a home-away-from-home, where children can recuperate in time for their next round of treatment. Airy rooms, full of natural light, look out onto peaceful, sheltered green spaces made for playtime or learning how to garden. A state-of-the-art kitchen serves nutritious meals to boost children’s recovery – and keep their parents strong. When the final phase is complete, the village will have rooms for 27 children. 

Oak has been supporting KidzCan Zimbabwe and the development of the Rainbow Children’s Village through our Zimbabwe Programme. This programme funds local organisations involved in supporting the hopes and aspirations of Zimbabweans, particularly those furthest from opportunity. We support organisations that helpfamilies and communities thrive, and those that supportchildren and others with special needs.