25 May, 2023
Supporting communities in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe programme / Partner story
Photo credit: The Rainbow Children’s Village
For several decades, Zimbabwe has been experiencing an economic decline that has resulted in massive inflation and high levels of unemployment. Against this backdrop, our team in Zimbabwe is working hard to offer support through grant-making to many organisations doing their best to help the communities wherever they can. Below, we outline some of the efforts of our partners.
The Rainbow Children’s Village
Many Zimbabweans live long distances from hospital, and public transport can be irregular and expensive. The Rainbow Children’s Village is a halfway home for children undergoing chemotherapy treatment in Zimbabwe. It is conveniently situated a short distance from Parirenyatwa, the epicentre of childhood cancer treatment in the country. Based in Harare, Parirenyatwa General Hospital is the largest medical centre in Zimbabwe.
The Rainbow Children’s Village supports children needing cancer treatment and their caregivers by providing them with a place to stay. This home-away-from-home allows children to rest in between treatments and spend time with family members in a comfortable environment. This alone helps boost treatment outcomes. It also solves travel issues by cutting the cost of bus fare trips and reducing the amount of times that the child and caregiver need to travel for treatment.
Midlands AIDS Service Organisation (MASO)
MASO is a membership based organisation that is leading the HIV and AIDS response in Midlands Province. MASO also helps children gain access to birth registration and birth certificates. This is important because children without birth certificates do not have access to many services, and they cannot go to school.
Many births take place outside of hospitals, and registering a child for a birth certificate at a later date is complicated, with long queues and large amounts of paperwork required by the Registrar’s Office, not to mention expensive transport costs. In Zimbabwe, there are many orphans, and many do not have birth certificates. For people living with a disability, it is even more difficult to overcome the obstacles of getting birth certificates.
This was the case for 43-year-old Sarah Dube, a happy mother of four. Sarah lives with a form of disability that limits her mobility. She always dreamed of her children having the opportunities to succeed in life, but none of her four children have birth certificates and the older two have never gone to school. To get around the obstacles preventing her from getting birth certificates for her and her children, Sarah reached out to MASO, who offers these services at designated offices, making the process far easier. MASO then links children to services and advocates for their access to basic rights and services.
“I never wanted my children to grow up the same way I did as I did, not having a birth certificate or identity card until 2022,” says Sarah. “I am very grateful for the support, and now my children can go to school.”
Island Hospice & Healthcare
Island Hospice and Healthcare is a centre of excellence which provides quality care services and support to those with life threatening illnesses. When 73-year-old Charity woke up one morning to find her leg and neck had swollen up, an Island Hospice & Healthcare (Island) caregiver came to see her and recommended that she go to the hospital for assessment.
When Charity underwent treatment, the carer kept in touch and made sure she had access to medication to help with pain management until she felt better. “Now I can socialise with friends and relatives,” she says. “I am grateful to the staff at Island who encouraged me to go to the hospital.”
Oak’s grants to the various organisations listed above fall under our Zimbabwe Programme, which provides grants to local organisations. In addition, our Trustees provide additional support to the people of Zimbabwe through the Special Interest Programme. You can read more about the programme strategies on our website: www.oakfnd.org. You can read more about the Rainbow Children’s Village here, MASO here, and Island Hospice & Healthcare here.