When we wrote our report at this time last year we commented on the dramatic political changes in the country that had seen the removal of Robert Mugabe from power and the appointment of Emmerson Mnangagwe in his place. There was great optimism at that time of improvements in the government of the country but we have to say that economically there has been no improvement, rather the economy continues to decline and many fear a return to the hyper-inflation conditions experienced in 2008. The following is a report from one of our contacts on the ground in Zimbabwe:
The situation in our country has been very difficult lately and it is by God’s grace that people are surviving in this country. The people who are mostly affected by what we are going through are the poor majority population of the country who live in the rural areas of Zimbabwe. Due to all these challenges many young people are dropping out of school and sadly young girls are becoming prostitutes.
The shortage of basic commodities has exacerbated the situation, bringing the poor to their knees, those with an access to foreign currency are the ones who are able to go outside Zimbabwe and be able to purchase the basic commodities. These commodities are too expensive when being sold in Zimbabwe.
A charity worker who visited the country in October wrote:
In the week or so before I departed I watched the fuel queues grow. I saw what can only be called the “virtual currency” on which most Zimbabweans have been forced to rely plunge in value and the price of basic foods spiral upwards. Shelves in the supermarkets were fast emptying and many store owners closing their doors, ostensibly for “stock-taking”, but more likely to re-price their goods. A re-run of the catastrophic crash of the economy of 2008/9, but this time happening more rapidly and with consequences few dare to predict. The people of Zimbabwe, already living on the edge, are facing yet another crisis.
We thank the Lord for His faithfulness in enabling us as a Trust to continue our work in addressing both the spiritual and humanitarian needs among His people through the generous and sacrificial gifts of believers and churches here in the UK. Our accounts for the year to 5th April 2018 show we were able to allocate just over £103,000 to support the work among the churches and their communities in Zimbabwe and in the current financial year, to date, we have been able to allocate over £50,000.
Supporting churches in their ministry and mission.
In April two of our trustees, Derek French and Maciek Stolaski visited Zimbabwe to undertake the Training of Trainers workshop and make visits to some of the projects being supported by the Trust. They were accompanied by Maciek’s wife Mary who led two days of conference for around 40 – 50 ladies. Mark Drury, Pastor of Crockenhill Baptist Church, Kent, also joined the team to share in the teaching at the ToT and we are pleased to report Mark has now joined us as a trustee with the wholehearted support of his church. A fuller report of that visit was circulated in May. We continue to fund the Indigenous Preachers Workshops in a number of locations run by the men trained in the Training of Trainers.
Plans are in hand for Maciek and Mary, together with Mark, to travel to Zimbabwe in May to lead the ToT and ladies conference. Two other trustees, Roger and Gill Prime are also planning to travel to Zimbabwe in May to visit some of the humanitarian projects in the Bulawayo area and minister to leaders and ladies from rural churches in that area.
Relieving poverty among the churches and their communities
Much of our focus this year has been in establishing projects that will enable individuals, families and communities to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on aid from overseas. A number of these initiatives were referred to in our Projects Update newsletter in June and it is encouraging to see the progress since that time.
Mt Darwin Community Development Centre
Alongside the orphan feeding and school fee programme run by Pastor Trymore Mateyanganga and his wife Bester, Trymore has been heading up the building of a Community Development Centre and this is almost complete, with the first training course to be run there starting in January. Trymore has been training young men in the skills of shoe making in Harare for a number of years and the plan now is to train young people in the rural area in skills that will enable them to be self-supporting and productive.
In addition to shoe making it is planned to run courses in building skills, welding, fish farming, cookery etc.
Mt Darwin Community Field Centre
For a number of years Pastor James Kambudzi has been running the livelihood goat project Tariro Yeupenyu (Hope for Life) which has been providing orphan families with small herds of goats. James has now taken a five year lease on a ten hectare plot of land to develop this as a community field centre where they can breed their own goats for distribution to needy families in their community. In addition to developing this goat project the plan is for the field to be used in these additional ways:
· Training in Foundations for Farming
· Growing nutritionally rich crops to supplement diet
· Growing maize to provide for needy families in times of crop failure
The goat herd is being increased and the land prepared for planting for the coming growing season. Our trustee Chris Boyes visited James last May to discuss the development of this project.
Mt Darwin Famine Relief
As a result of the generous response to our appeal earlier this year to help the poorest and most needy in this community following the crop failure caused by drought conditions we have been able to supply funds to purchase supplies of maize for Trymore and James to distribute in their communities. We have budgeted to continue this support through to April when we pray, in the mercy of the Lord, there may be a harvest to provide for the year ahead.
Fountain of Hope Foundation
We continue to work with Pastor Gideon Chishamba in supporting rural communities in the Chivi district, which is an area of the country most affected by drought and poverty caused by food insecurity. The poultry project that has set up a number of families with their own poultry rearing scheme continues despite some of the economic pressures and Gideon reports: Most of our chicken farmers have got children who are still going to school and this project is going a long way in helping them to paying school fees with the money from the project, thus enabling them to send their children and grandchildren to school.
We also support the Foundations for Farming training scheme run by Gideon and his team in these rural locations – this teaches the people to harness the natural resources that God has provided to grow crops, even through drought conditions, and gives better food security for their families. We have also provided funding to provide seed for the families trained by this scheme.
In this rural area of Chivi we have provided four boreholes in fellowship with Meadow Way Chapel in Norwich. The following is a testimony to the way our involvement in these different aspects of support for these communities comes together:
We would like also to take this opportunity to report that we have established Foundations for Farming demonstration plot in the community of Mtshazo. We thank God for Zimbabwe Partnership Trust who helped this community to have a borehole some few years ago and we are now using the water from this borehole to grow maize on a small plot to demonstrate farming God’s way to the farmers in this community. The demonstration plot is the only green patch of land in the midst of dry land of Mtshazo in Matabeleland province. It is really a beacon of hope that in such a land where people have been struggling to harvest much from their fields to feed their families, God is able to breakthrough and give them a better harvest. We have provided the seed this year for the families at Mtshazo trained through the Foundations for Farming programme.
The work of building new school classrooms for the community at Killarney has now been completed and the building has been handed over to the community. We are grateful to John Derks and a team from his Second Chance ministry in Bulawayo for undertaking this work.
We continue to fund the provision of a nutritionally enriched porridge ‘e’pap’ which is being provided daily to supplement the diet of the children in this very deprived community.
Springs Farm Orphan Care
We are working with Pastor Albert Chatindo to provide an orphan care facility in a rural community at Springs Farm. The first stage of the project has been to provide a borehole and Gideon Chishamba has kindly facilitated this for us and, despite problems being caused by the current economic crisis, the borehole is on the verge of completion. We are grateful to Meadow Way Chapel for again partnering with us in providing this facility. Please pray for the development of the next stage of the project.