For more than 20 years, the primary mission Bread and Water for Africa® has been to find loving homes for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children throughout the continent, starting with the Lewa Children’s Home in Kenya, Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, and most recently the Lerato Children’s Village in Zimbabwe.
Throughout the years, there has had always been challenges to keep these children housed, fed, healthy, and educated, but with the deadly coronavirus pandemic making inroads into the African continent, times are worse than we, or anyone, has ever seen.
In Zimbabwe, the situation is increasingly dire as our longtime partner Margaret Makambira, founder and director of Shinga Development Trust, who we partnered with to construct the children’s village, struggles to keep the children under her care healthy and safe.
Even before the pandemic, Zimbabwe’s economy was in freefall, as hyperinflation sent food prices soaring with food inflation at more than 700 percent in December, according to an April 12 report in The Independent.
A persistent drought has devastated agricultural production for the past several years in a country that was once known as the breadbasket of Africa. In fact, because of the severe drought induced by climate change, of the last five growing seasons, only one has seen normal rainfall, reports The Independent.
To make matters even worse, “Experts predict that the upcoming 2020 harvest will be even poorer than those preceding it,” states The Independent report.
According to the United Nations World Food Program, there are 4.1 million Zimbabweans experiencing “crisis” or “emergency” food insecurity in a country of 16.5 million.
“With hunger peaking, the looming COVID-19 pandemic threatens to exacerbate Zimbabwe’s dire economic and hunger crises,” states The Independent.
And a recent World Food Program analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on food security estimates that the forthcoming agricultural season — so crucial for millions of Zimbabweans — may again be compromised, either by reduced agricultural labor because of the country’s lockdown or because of lack of access to agricultural inputs due to supply-chain disruptions.
Despite the distressing situation Margaret and children in her care are facing on a daily basis, they have something that millions of Zimbabwean children and families don’t — the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who for decades have given generously to provide them with the assistance they have needed not only to survive but to thrive.
Eddie Rowe, WFP’s country director and representative for Zimbabwe, is adamant that its operations must and will continue uninterrupted by the coronavirus.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we share that commitment to Margaret and “her” children, never to give up providing them food and basic necessities in their greatest time of need in their entire lives.
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, our most recent water well project was completed in Ethiopia.
Thanks to all of you , as well one particularly generous supporter, Joseph Grush and his granddaughter, Alexis, more than 160 households in the rural village of Shenabeles with a total population of 800 who have access all the clean safe water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing, and particularly in these times of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, to be able to wash their hands frequently.
Prior to the digging of the well, Shinabeles residents, mostly young girls carrying water on their heads in containers that weigh practically as much as they do, had to walk 6 miles to a small shallow well, their nearest source of potentially uncontaminated water.
But that’s all changed for them today, thanks to Mr. Grush and Alexis, and all of our supporters who donated what they could afford to give the gift of life to the residents of Shinabeles and preventing them from contacting a serious waterborne lines, and even death all due to a lack of clean water.
Over the past few weeks, all of us here at Bread and Water for Africa® have been amazed by the amount of support we have received from people like you. Your generosity not only inspires us, but gives hope to so many African families, especially children, in the midst of our current world-wide crisis.
By supporting us, you’re helping us to find solutions to the problems facing communities throughout Africa. These solutions include building water wells so that families have clean water to drink and are able wash their hands. It also means providing our partners with medicine and medical supplies.
Regarding medicine and medical supplies, last week, we shipped a 40-foot container filled with prenatal vitamins, antibiotics, and analgesics in cooperation with our longtime partner, MAP International.
“These much needed medicines will be distributed to [hospitals and clinics serving] orphans, vulnerable children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and expectant mothers in seven health facilities in Freetown, Sierra Leone,” stated MAP International.
“Our partner Bread and Water for Africa, through the United Methodist Church will help us distribute these lifesaving [medicine as soon as the shipment arrives].
“For the two billion people who don’t have access to even basic medicines, ensuring our planned shipments of essential, life-changing medicines and health supplies is of utmost importance.
“Please continue to include all the most vulnerable people in your prayers as you keep your families and loved ones safe and secure. We will all weather this as best we can.”
Although providing our partners with what they need has become more challenging, rest assured, we will continue to do everything in our power to make sure basic needs are met in the African countries where we work.
We will all get through this together.
As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, most of the headlines on the deadly pandemic have focused on China, the United States and Europe, but as the World Health Organization reported on March 12, there are more than 100 cases recorded in 11 countries in Africa.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we are deeply concerned that virus will spread throughout the continent causing many more cases, and eventually deaths.
It is particularly worrying in light of the fact that, unlike in the U.S., Europe and China, tens of millions of Africans do not have the ability to take the most basic measure to prevent transmission of the virus – washing their hands with clean water.
Thanks to our supporters, for the past several years, Bread and Water for Africa® has been able to fund the digging of clean water wells in African countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, and this year we are working on a major clean water development project with our partner in Uganda to provide clean water to thousands.
Among the countries with reported cases is Cameroon, where last year we were able to dig a well for the village of Abomvomba serving thousands in the remote rural village.
Today, those children, men and women have the ability to drink water without the risk of getting sick from drinking from a contaminated source, as well as being able to wash their hands, which will go a long way towards keeping them from getting the virus.
In Kenya and Uganda, countries served by Bread and Water for Africa®, thankfully there have been no reported cases, so far, and the governments are taking steps to be prepared when the day likely comes.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been taking steps for years to prevent illness through contaminated water sources by providing rural African communities with wells saving tens of thousands from risking their lives every time they take a drink.
With the urgency of the virus on their doorsteps, the time is now to help Bread and Water for Africa® continue our mission to provide clean water to thousands more for drinking, cooking, bathing – and washing their hands.