Last March, a catastrophic cyclone by the name of Cyclone Idai devastated portions of Zimbabwe leaving hundreds dead and many more missing.
“In some parts of these regions whole families were swept away by the water that had flooded the rivers or were submerged in mud and rock slides,” reported Margaret Makambira , executive director of Shinga Development Trust, a longtime partner of Bread and Water for Africa®.
In the aftermath of the terrible storm, Margaret learned of a school in the area known as Chipinge which had suffered extensive damage, and that the people living the surrounding community had no food.
“Due to the devastation, most families lost part of their houses with some losing their crops,” she told us. “In this regard, most families now had to rely on handouts from well-wishers for survival.”
In a time of great need for the 946 students who attend the school, and the school itself where its latrines had been destroyed, Angela turned to Bread and Water for Africa® for help.
With emergency grant funding from Bread and Water for Africa® new latrines were constructed providing reliable sanitation facilities for the hundreds students who attend the school and their teachers.
“We have averted a health hazard that could have emanated from a lack of proper and adequate toilets,” said Margaret .
In addition, the grant funding, made possible through the generosity of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® made it possible to feed all 946 students for an entire month.
“In time of need, Bread and Water for Africa® has once again come to the aid for Africa, particularly Zimbabwe.”
Alisa’s tale is a story of tragedy and hope. The little 6-year-old had gone through a lot in her young life – being physically and emotionally abused and becoming infected with HIV. She understandably is emotionally disturbed and has difficulty concentrating.But all is not lost for Alisa thanks to our partner in Zimbabwe, Shinga Development Trust which operates the Lerato Children’s Village.
There, she has found a home filled with love from her “sisters and brothers” and more importantly Alisa has found a place forever in the heart of her new-found “mother,” Shinga director Margaret Makambira. As Margaret told us of Alisa and the other Lerato children, “Their stories are sad, and they don’t know what real love and genuine caring is.However, we are certain that Alisa, who started first grade this month, in addition to what she is learning in school, is also learning that lesson of love and caring more and more with each passing day.
“One day I will be Dr. Daniel Kabweza,” says Daniel, who thanks to our supporters was able to not just attend school, but excel. He is now set to graduate and looks forward to going to university to study medicine.
Daniel is one of 58 primary and high school students in Zimbabwe who has benefited from our school fee assistance program for the past several years.As explained by our Executive Director Bethelhem Tessema, once a child is accepted into the program, we feel a duty to fund their education through high school graduation. “Once we start paying, we continue,” says Beth.
The future wasn’t always so bright for Daniel
“I lost my parents when I was very young and lived in the villages with my grandparents and some family members,” he told us. “Life for me and my sister was very hard in the hands of some relatives.”
And while some might give up all hope and believe there is no future for them, Daniel did not.
He did not know how it would happen, but he had faith – a faith that was realized through the generosity of our supporters and the love and dedication provided to him by our partner there, Margaret Makambira, founder and director of the Shinga Development Trust.
While it is because of our supporters that we are able to provide the funding for our school fee assistance program, it is Margaret who is able to spot those “diamonds in the rough” such as Daniel and enable them to reach their full potential – oftentimes more than they even realize for themselves.
His dream is to become a doctor.
“I had a dream to become educated and become a medical doctor one day, but I did not know how this was going to be without a reliable source of funding until my friends took me to a Shinga program where I was selected to benefit from your education funding,” Daniel told us.
“This made me work harder at school and this year I finished high school,” he added. “I know I will pass and qualify for university. Thank you for your kindness and love. I have hope for a very bright future. God bless you all.”
Our supporters made Daniel’s story possible.
And thanks to our supporters, hundreds of students just like Daniel have the opportunity not only to attend school but to successfully complete their education every year.
On December 9, 1988, the board of directors of Christian Relief Services agreed to provide support to a fledgling orphanage in the town of Eldoret, Kenya.
And with that, Christian Relief Services, the umbrella organization of Bread and Water for Africa®, took the first step in a nearly 30-year mission of providing loving homes for thousands of Africa’s most vulnerable, its orphaned and abandoned children.
Bread and Water for Africa® soon developed close ties with Phyllis Keino, founder of the Lewa Children’s Home, who today remains director of the children’s home and is the longtime international spokesperson for Bread and Water for Africa.®
Phyllis and her former husband, Olympic gold medalist Kip Keino, began their journey of caring for others by taking in a few parentless children in their community who had nowhere else to turn but the streets. Over the years those “few” became “many” as Phyllis could not turn away any child in need who showed up at her doorstep from her home.
By 1990, they had nearly 50 children they were caring for and raising as part of the family – and they realized they could not do it alone.
During the next decade, Bread and Water for Africa® stepped up its support for the children’s home to include funding for paying for all the children’s school fees and building a dormitory.
In the meantime, Bread and Water for Africa® also provided substantial assistance in the construction of a primary school which would serve the children in the surrounding community whose school fees would make it possible for children living at Lewa to attend the new school free of charge.
Bread and Water for Africa® also provided significant resources towards the development of Baraka Farm which would not only provide food for the children at Lewa, but sell the surplus produce on the way to making the children’s home self-sufficient.
By the year 2000, the primary school had been constructed and there were 80 children living in the children’s home, which had grown to 96 children by 2002.
With the realization of the life-altering results being made at the Lewa Children’s Home, in 1999 Bread and Water for Africa® expanded our orphan care program to the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, founded by Angela Miyanda, the wife of the county’s vice president.
The need for such an orphanage in Zambia was dire as the AIDS/HIV crisis was leaving tens of thousands of young children orphans to struggle to survive alone on the streets. Tragically, many of the young children she took in were born with the virus itself.
In 2000, there were reports of 100 deaths from AIDS-related illnesses each day in the capital city of Lusaka alone, and Angela had made a home for 50 children at Kabwata who were “indeed blessed to be in Mrs. Miyanda’s care,” a Bread and Water for Africa® staff person reported at the time after a field visit to the country.
It was also reported that month that Angela had been able to take a $5,000 grant from Bread and Water for Africa® “and turn an old, shell of a building into a beautiful new dormitory for more than 80 children she currently has in her program.”
By 2003, Bread and Water for Africa® was providing life-saving assistance to more than 400 AIDS orphans in Zambia, and today, Bread and Water for Africa® and Kabwata remain as stronger partners than ever.
Around the same time, Bread and Water for Africa® joined forces with Emmanuel Ministries (later to become Shinga Development Trust) in Zimbabwe by Margaret Makambira providing assistance to orphans in that country as well. Like Kabwata, Shinga remains a partner of Bread and Water for Africa® today, and is looking forward to opening its own children’s home this year.
In 2010, Christian Relief Services founder Gene Krizek described Phyllis as the “Mother Teresa of Africa,” but we believe in 2017 it’s appropriate to name them all the “Mothers Teresa of Africa” as they truly have been, and will always be, the “mothers to thousands.”