WHAT IS TEARFUND IRELAND DOING? – HOW ARE WE RESPONDING?
Zimbabwe is home to an estimated 720,000 orphans, partly as a result of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses. Traditionally in Zimbabwe, the extended family would care for orphans. However, the difficult economic and social conditions in the country have left relatives struggling to cope. Tearfund Ireland’s partner, Zimbabwe Orphans through Extended Hands (ZOE), believes local churches have a vital role to play in meeting the needs of orphans.
Mobilising churches is at the heart of ZOE’s work. Often churches have a desire to care for orphans, but do not know how to help. ZOE trains church volunteers to visit and support orphan families. Each volunteer is responsible for visiting four or five orphan families. Church volunteers are trained in parenting skills, budgeting, child protection, psychosocial support, child development, and sexual and reproductive health. They pass on this training and knowledge to the families they support.
Churches and community members are also encouraged to speak up for orphans through advocacy. They protect orphan families’ inheritance rights and help orphans get birth certificates, which they need for accessing other services.
ZOE also helps orphans and caregivers in livelihoods support. They provide them with small livestock (eg. goats, chickens or rabbits) and train family members in animal management. They also train orphan families to grow crops and offer vocational training to orphans in a trade of their choice, setting them up for a more secure future.
KEY OUTCOMES DURING 2016/2017
- 900 families started to care for at least one orphaned or vulnerable child. These families are being supported by local church members.