Friend’s of Zimbabwe (FOZ) is a Private Volunteer Organization (PVO) started by Christ’s Initiative. It is located in Zimbabwe and is run by a few locals. These locals consist of believers who have the heart to help those in need in their surrounding community. Christ’s Initiative simply provided the initial means and empowerment to allow these beautiful brothers and sisters to run a few programs that are briefly described below.
FOZ “Children’s Home”
The children’s home is simply a small orphanage where underprivileged children who have no parents, education, food, or place to sleep can have a home. This home allows these children to live together as a family under the care of locals, Pastor Phillip and his wife Susanna with their son Teffila (age 4), including their friend and helper GodKnows (age 21) who has been taken under Phillip’s wing. They truly are a family as Phillip and Susanna raise these children as their own, and the surrounding community continually helps out.
The children currently at the home range in age from 4 to 16. All of them are being educated in schools, and are provided multiple meals a day. All have improved immensely from having either bloated stomachs, wounds from being beaten, or emotional setbacks because of their previous situations. Each child continues to improve upon their behavior and responsibilities around the home. They have coped with each other and kids at school as they slowly become more confident and heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. While struggles arise and are overcome, Phillip and Susanna are there to love, guide, and support them.
The property is a fenced in area with plenty of room for the kids to play safely. There is a garden where the kids learn to farm as they grow their own crops and either eat or sell the produce for income. It has a very large yard with 5 guava trees and a 3 room cottage attached to the property. The home consists of 3 bedrooms, an office, living-room, kitchen, and bathroom.
FOZ “Feed The hunger”Feed the Hunger is first program we started in Zimbabwe. Its name sums up its purpose pretty well, which is to feed the hungry. Feed the Hunger has evolved through the years, evolving to work within Zimbabwe’s unstable political and economical situation. It started as a weekly program; every Tuesday afternoon Sadza (Zimbabwe’s staple food, a boiled cornmeal) and a side would be served to anyone that came. Before it was served the people working in the program would go around the city and invite those they saw whom seemed in need, leading the blind to where the food would be served.
The amount of people that came would fluctuate depending on the season, the economy (as if things turned worse in this city, many beggars will try to find greener pastures in other cities) and the government. The current regime routinely “cleans the streets”, a program in which they chase all of the beggars and street people out of the cities.
While we were in Zimbabwe we were driving back to the home one night when we saw children lined up on the sidewalks, many sharing a single blanket. Our hearts broke when we saw them and we decided we had to do something. So on Tuesday mornings we would go out early in the morning, before the children were chased by the police, and passing out sandwiches and tea to them. In doing this we’ve been able to build trust and relationships with these children. We’ve also been able to reach out to a gang of 20 something year olds, and we’re hoping that these relationships will help us to better reach them more so in the future.
Due to the current elections going on over there, the political climate is a bit rough and the Government is being hostile to NGO’s (Non-governmental organizations), because they see them as opposition. And so due to this we are being more discreet with this program at this current time. We are providing food hampers to three families a month, giving them enough food to feed their family for that month. Once things settle down after the elections we’ll have a better idea as to what direction we should pursue in the future.
We’d like to thank you all for your continuous support through prayer and donations, both are needed as we continue to run this program and are imperative for its future growth. We praise God for all of you and we hope that through His Spirit you will all be filled with peace, joy and love.
FOZ “Education Empowerment Program”In Zimbabwe, both the private and government schools charge school fees to attend. Not only, but each child is also required to provide their own school materials, and are also required to purchase their own school uniform, which differs from school to school. Without having these three things children are unable to attend school. The literacy rate in Zimbabwe is one of the highest in Africa, but they have been declining over the years. Most children must attend the cheaper and far lower quality, government schools.
The purpose of the E.E.P is to help provide as many children as we can with an education. We have begun doing this in a number of ways: We are paying directly for some students school fees, required quarterly by most schools. We purchase and pass out the materials required by students to attend schools (lesson books, notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, etc.) We would like to continue to expand this program by paying for more students’ fees and being able to provide for more students school materials and uniforms more consistently. Our ultimate goal in this program is to empower as many children as possible to receive quality education, giving them the opportunity to break the chains of poverty wrapped around many families.