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News : Zimbabwe

Churches unite to pray for Zimbabwe - 25 May

Churches unite to pray for Zimbabwe - 25 May – 20 May 2011

Peace, reconciliation, healing and revival will be the focuses of the National Day of Prayer on Wednesday 25 May. The day is also a public holiday to mark Africa Day, the day in May 1963 when the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union, was formed.

The prayer event will involve the country’s three major umbrella church bodies: the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference. Tearfund is also supporting the venture, which desires to see reconciliation between people of various ethnic, religious, political and social outlooks.

Denouncing violence

The day seeks the restoration of social justice, physical health, spiritual wellbeing and economic recovery of Zimbabwe’s people. There’ll also be prayers for the revival of the church and transformation of the nation through a commitment to God, to each other and to the nation for economic, agricultural and industrial revival.

Church leaders will use the prayer gathering to make a public declaration denouncing any form of violence, victimisation, hate speeches, or polarisation of any kind. A spokesman for the Christian Fellowship of Zimbabwe, said, ‘Zimbabwe is going through a period of trials and tribulations. We are convinced that Zimbabwe shall never be the same again but this can only be so when people join hands and pray for their nation.’

Join in prayer with Zimbabweans

Join our prayer group on Thurs 26th May, 6 – 7.30 pm at the Tearfund Office on O’Connell Street. If you are interested contact us 01 878 3200 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Learn more of Tearfund’s work in Zimbabwe here and give today

Fresh fears after Zimbabwe violence – 23 Feb 2011

Fear of politically-motivated violence is rising in the run-up to elections expected later this year in Zimbabwe, according to Tearfund.

Since February 2009, Zimbabwe has been ruled by a government of national unity led by President Robert Mugabe, of ZANU PF, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Professor Arthur Mutambara of the other MDC faction. This has been the first time in three decades that President Mugabe has shared power and since then the country’s tottering economy has relatively stabilised.

But since the start of 2011 concerns have been growing that political stability is being undermined by orchestrated pro-ZANU violence which aims to disrupt the opposition when an election is called.

Tearfund is calling for action to address the violence and for the involvement of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Homes wrecked

Earlier this month, Tearfund partner, the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, was told of homes being destroyed in the Harare suburb of Mbare after residents perceived as opposition activists were forced out. Some 150 people, many of them women and children, sought refuge at a church in a nearby township.

A local church leader said, ‘People are gripped by fear and they have lost all confidence in the police. They can’t go to report this to the police when they know that nothing will be done to the perpetrators, so they have come to the church for refuge.’

There have also been running battles in the area between youth supporters of the ZANU PF and the MDC and this has also spilled into the city’s central business district where property has been destroyed and looted.

Arrests

In the past week, 45 people were arrested in Harare at a discussion meeting organised under the auspices of the International Socialist Organisation, accused of inciting an Egypt-style revolt. Similar incidents have been reported in Zimbabwe’s second biggest city, Bulawayo and in Kadoma, amid growing fears that President Mugabe intends to abandon the constitutional reform process.

Dadirai Chikwengo, Tearfund’s Programme Manager for Zimbabwe, said, ‘The church is concerned about the rate at which political unrest is unfolding in the country and how the violence is fast evolving into political chaos.We call on the government of national unity and SADC to provide a permanent solution to the issue of politically-motivated violence, especially in view of the fact that SADC is facilitating a road map for elections.’

Zimbabwe Appeal - Shadreck age 12

Zimbabwe Appeal - Shadreck age 12 – 1 Jul 2010

Shadreck is just 12 years old, but caring for his sister and elderly grandmother. More than 1.8 million children in Zimbabwe are orphaned. We are making sure they are not forgotten.

Shadreck, age 12, and his sister Primrose, age 10, live in what seems an idyllic spot for children to grow up in.

From their home, there are far-reaching views for miles over the rolling countryside and forested hills. Wild flowers are in bloom, butterflies and birds are in the air and peace pervades this rural part of Zimbabwe.

But life for Shadreck and Primrose is anything but idyllic. Both their parents died from AIDS-related illnesses and the children are now among the poorest of the poor, facing a daily struggle for survival.

No regular income means a lack of food is their biggest problem. They often go hungry.

They live in a small thatched hut which has seen better days as the roof is coming apart and the walls are succumbing to the elements. Inside there is a hole in the ground where they have a fire to cook their food and the only piece of furniture is small table, crowded with plates and pans.

The children have a small patch of land where they have planted a maize crop but lack of rain in January means it is likely to fail, leaving them facing greater hunger.

Their hardship has been compounded by the theft of the few chickens they had.

Only Primrose goes to school. Shadreck had to give up attending in 2008 so he could work to provide for them both.

Shadreck said: ‘Yes, we feel hungry but there’s nothing we can do. If we have some mealy meal (a local type of porridge), in order for us to survive, we eat just once or twice a day. We have been living with hunger since our mother died.’

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Although Shadreck is two years older than his sister, she is taller than him, evidence of how lack of food and a poor diet is stunting his growth.

While Primrose gets lunch at school, Shadreck goes without in the middle of his busy day.

The children get up at 6am. Shadreck works either his own or a neighbour’s land until 11am and then spends the rest of the day making two trips to fetch water in a 20kg bucket, walking a kilometre there and back over undulating countryside. After that he might walk up to four kilometres to find firewood.

‘I get very tired,’ he says in a quiet and understated voice. ‘I wish I could go back to school. I also wish I could get enough food and new clothing.’

Primrose rises at 6am too and walks two kilometres to school which starts at 6.45 and finishes at 3pm.

‘I feel pity for my brother. It’s also hard for me to see friends at school who have food when we don’t have enough’ Primrose says quietly.

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Recently the children’s 85-year-old grandmother Sehli has been staying with them but she is in poor health. Mother-of-four Sehli has only one surviving son, who is blind, but does support her as best he can from his home in Bulawayo. With failing eyesight and the need for a stick to walk, Sehli relies on Shadreck and Primrose.

‘I have hope that God will protect us,’ says Sehli. ‘Yes the children are surviving but they need more food because they are always going short. Life was better when I was a youngster. I cannot work to help the children. Instead they are the ones working to look after me. It’s frustrating for me. I would like to be able to look after them.’

Both children attend the Agape Missions Pentecostal church, which meets at the local school. Despite their trials, their faith remains intact.

‘God is good and is going to bless us. He has been our protector,’ said Shadreck.

Tearfund’s local church partner, Zoe gives them porridge, mealy meal, sugar beans, cooking oil and maize supplies once a month. Primrose also gets help to pay her school fees.

We have also been able to provide them with some maize seeds. A local church volunteer Sellinah, supported by Tearfund, visits them regularly to offer support and train them in farming. She is teaching them how to dig and plant their own crops.

For years Zimbabwe has lived under the cloud of insecurity and political violence. Hyperinflation meant families did not know from one day to the next if they could put food on the table. A deadly cholera epidemic killed thousands and malnutrition became widespread. And at the same time HIV devastated the country. One child in four – over 1.8 million children – has lost one or both parents. For more information visit BBC to see their short film on Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children.

You can help give children a hope and a future

In Zimbabwe, Tearfund works through local churches and partners like Zoe. Individual church volunteers mentor individual children and their families, giving them not a ‘hand-out’, but a ‘hand-up’. Your donation will help to fund this work, and provide thousands of vulnerable children and families with the chance of a brighter, self-sufficient future. Give today.

  • €45 will provide agricultural training for five church volunteers. With this training they could then help 120 orphans to farm their own food, giving them the skills and opportunity to build an independent future.
  • €81 will provide orphaned families with seven chickens – providing them with nutritious eggs and food and helping them on the way to self-sufficiency.
  • €119 will provide an entire community of 30 families with seeds from which to plant up to eight different crops, allowing them to diversify their crops so they are less vulnerable if a particular crop fails.
  • €598 will pay to hold workshops to envision and train 60 church leaders – helping them to play a leadership role in their community’s struggles to defeat poverty.

To make a gift today, please give online, call Christine at 01 8783200 or post a cheque to Tearfund Ireland, 5-7 Upper O’Connell St, Dublin 1.

Fundraising – Make a meal of it

Summer, the perfect time for a barbeque – to eat, have fun and raise vital funds for families living in poverty in Zimbabwe. To help you pull together a Make a meal of it event, we have resources for you to download.

Praying

‘Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger’ Lamentations 2:19 (NIV)

Let the people of Zimbabwe know they haven’t been forgotten and encourage your church to pray today. To help you we have put together a short powerpoint presentation which you can download here.

Heartache and hunger in Zimbabwe – 12 Apr 2009

Last year, Sifiso and her family were facing extreme difficulties. Originally living in the city of Bulawayo, the death of Sifiso’s husband nudged the family into a downward spiral. They now live in a small house on the outskirts of the city with very limited income.

Sifiso’s family has been helped by Tearfund partners and the local church. They have been receiving food on a regular basis for the last 7 months which means that the whole family are showing signs of improved health. In addition, Sifiso has received some chickens which they are breeding for sale. Recently, they were able to sell three chickens to pay for medicines when Sifiso contracted pneumonia. When telling her story recently she said, ‘I’m alive! Saved by the chickens!’
 
In the last 12 months, Tearfund partners have been able to provide food for 35,000 orphans; seed and fertiliser for 530 families; shelter, food and blankets for 1,500 victims of political violence; and support to local churches speaking out on behalf of the poor in their communities. With the food situation worsening, Tearfund is scaling up its response to provide support for those most in need.

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