The official opening of the children’s village

August 15th, 2010

Our planned field trip to Zimbabwe took on a new dimension when an email came through from Ezelle Schimper, our hostess and the overseer of the AFADU projects we are creating, asking us to organize a quantity of red, golfing shirts in large sizes with embroidered pockets. With the help of South African supporter Moira, who visited with the AFADU team in 2005, we procured the shirts and the next email followed.

“””””It is really wonderful.
We are going to let the cat out of the bag as we cannot keep the secret any longer. We have arranged for the official opening of Lirhanzo while you are here so that you can share the special day with us. It is big, with high officials and all. Lots of people! The shirts are needed for the top officials as that is normally the custom at such a function here.

 

There, I said it!

Ezelle “””””””

 

After eleven long years filled with blood, sweat and many tears, Ezelle’s dream of opening a purpose built, culturally appropriate children’s home for at least a few of the thousands of children who have lost their parents to HIV/Aids is finally becoming a reality!!

THE TEAM ON THE WAY FROM OZ TO AFRICA

VIA THE SOUTH POLE!

Once we arrive at Edenvale Ranch, we are whirled up in the planning and organizing of such a large and important community event. Everything has to be perfect as local MP’s, Zimbabwean government ministers, Chief Chitanga and representatives from local church groups and health and medical services have been invited to attend. Numbers swell to 400 when friends, family,” New Farmers” from the nearby communities and of course the children are added up. Catering arrangements are not a small matter and even our AFADU field trip participant, Alison, (the kiwi component) has been seconded to work with the kids in the choir !

ALISON WORKING WITH THE CHOIR

Our Toyota Land Cruiser is seconded over the next few days to help pick up chairs and the cooking pots from various schools, church centre’s and youth organizations from the Chikombedzi community and take them to the Lirhanzo Children’s Village where the festivities will take place. At the same time Julie Routledge, the founder of AFADU, Delphine Archer who has been donating the Olea, Olive Leaf Extract for the kids immunity and Margaret Mutero, who has been working with Ezelle since 1999 and is now responsible for the day to day running of LCV, drive to Masvingo, 2 to 3 hours north, to pick up a new orphan from the local hospital and 360 litres of local beer. This Chibuku will be drunk by the local community after the official opening!!! Meanwhile, Christo, Ezelle’s husband, oversees the slaughtering of the many beasts necessary to feed the invited guests.

MAXWELL AND THE KIDS HELPING WITH THE SEATING ARRANGEMENTS

MARGARET PICKING UP THE BEER

SLAUGHTER DAY AT EDENVALE

JULIE AND DELPHINE WASHING THE GLASSES

SCRUBBING THE COOKING POTS

The long awaited day finally comes and we make the 20 minute journey from Edenvale along the dusty and potholed Chikombedzi road. At the turn off, a stone cairn with a brightly sign written “Lirhanzo Children’s Village 3.7 KM” is now proudly in place. As we drive the last few kilometres our vehicle passes donkey carts filled with smartly and brightly dressed local families all heading in the same direction. 

PAM HITCHING A LIFT AT THE NEW SIGN

At LCV we find a Marquee in place with tables strewn with vividly colored bougainvillea. The children are busting with anticipation. Food preparation has begun and the open fires have huge pots of bubbling aromatic stews and sadsa, the staple African maize dish that is served usually at every meal. Chairs have been specifically placed around a large quadrangle, which has been immaculately swept and dampened by the local ladies to keep the African dust to a minimum.

COOKING THE SADSA, JULIE HELPING

In the marquee, Ezelle, Christo, Margaret and the VIP’s will sit and on the left and in front, invited guests who have assisted along the way to bring the project to fruition. On the right, in front of the play area and jungle gym, all the children who are now at LCV, the high school orphans who live in town and those doing tertiary courses in cities further afield who have returned for the big day will stand.

As more and more people arrive, Clifford, one of these tertiary students who is presently studying to be a motor mechanic in Chiredzi, passes out the official program to the guests. The VIP’s arrive, suitably late, which we are told is the custom. At the back of the seated guests, the “new settlers” who in the past showed so much opposition to the project are now there in their hundreds to show their support, beaming and excited.

THE ASSEMBLED CROWD

One hour after initially planned, the dignitaries are in place and the proceedings begin with the children singing “Welcome to Lirhanzo”, a song especially written for the occasion. The Master of ceremonies, Mr. Sibanda, who very proudly told me of his son who is working as a GP in South Australia and his grand daughter who is also studying medicine in Australia, does an excellent job of translating all speeches from Shona to English or from English to Shona so that everyone understands.

MARGARET, EZELLE AND THE VIPS CHEER THE CHILDREN

THE AFADU CONTINGENT, PAM, JULIE, ALISON AND DELPHINE AT THE OPENING

(JEANS WERE NOT AN OPTION FOR THE DAY)

As Founder, Ezelle’s speech acknowledges each individual, government and community group for their support in arriving at this day. She speaks eloquently and misses no one. Christo her husband, Martie Pepys her best friend and Margaret Mutero are singled out as her staunchest supporters. I look around as she finishes and watch everyone clapping and cheering. Between speeches the children entertain with long rehearsed songs, poems, dances and plays and even the local community woman entertain us with a traditional dance.

LOCAL COMMUNITY LADIES DANCING

BLESSING GIVES AN OSCAR WINNING PERFORMANCE!

The beautiful brass commemorative plaque was then unveiled by the Guest of Honour, Dr. Stamps, Health Advisor to the President.

THE UNVEILING

It says:-

The Lirhanzo Children’s Village

10 June 2010

—- but with God all things are possible

Matt. 19:26

 

As the formalities wind up, the older children dressed smartly in white shirts and striped waistcoats begin to serve the guests. The food is sensational. At the back of the quadrangle the local farming community have cooked their own huge pots of sadza and beef stew provided for the day. Plates are piled high and many have never seen such a feast. The men start drinking the chibuku, the dancing begins and you hear them all agree what a wonderful project it is.

IN THEIR UNIFORMS (Sarudzai holding baby Gift)

OLDER GIRLS SERVING SADSA, RICE……… AND AN ASSORTMENT OF DISHES TO DIE FOR!

LOCAL FARMERS ENJOYING THE BEER

That such a shift in thinking has manifested to finally allow this day makes me think that Ezelle’s naming of the village, Lirhanzo, which when translated means “love” in the local Shangani dialect, has in some small way united this amazing and now vibrant community.

 

 

THE KIDS, OFFICIALLY NOW AT LCV

A message from Ezelle….LCV IS REGISTERED!!!!!!!!!

September 29th, 2009

Hi All

The miracle of miracles has happened!! Margaret and I was called to Harare on Wednesday last week to see the Social Welfare office where they handed us the registration certificate of Lirhanzo Children’s Village!!! I had to pinch myself, after eleven years from the first letter we wrote to apply to Social Welfare for a children’s home, after all the negative politics, financial struggles, red tape, blood and sweat, God finally made it happen. When I prayed to God for patience, I never knew exactly how much He would put my patience and commitment to the test. Halleluja!! We have made it! Attached is the piece of paper we have waited and fought so long for.

With this registration now comes a whole lot of new responsibilities that brings with it also financial obligations like paying staff government set salaries, etc. Please help us in meeting these obligations in order to help the children for whom we did all of this. Also pray for us to have the wisdom in running it the way that will follow God’s will and plan.

Thank you all for your contribution in reaching this goal. Everyone played a vital part in making it happen, no matter how small you think it was. Without that last dustbin in the room or that one doorlock, we would not have been able to pass the final inspection.

We are now registered for 21 children according to the size of the facility, but were told that as we increase our capacity to house more children, it is now easy to increase the number on our registration. There is a great need for homes in the country and area and ours are already full. So we would like to increase our capacity to 120 children with everybody’s help. With God nothing is impossible, we must only believe and trust in Him.

Love you all!

Ezelle and team

An update from AFADU by Pam Harrison

August 4th, 2009

Container News – ITS THERE!!!!

 

Container No 11 has just arrived at the Chikombedzi Hospital and has been unpacked. This container held the mosquito nets from Australian Defence, the medical equipment from Hamilton Is Medical Centre and Proserpine Hospital, the Operating Theatre equipment and supplies from Epworth Hospital, all the materials given by Bernie at Caesartex, the Back Packs organised by Angie in Darwin, Wrapped with Love blankets  and much much more.

 

Ezelle wrote very briefly with the good news of its arrival and a few pics:-

 

We want to thank you and the whole team that made it all possible very much for all your hard work to get it all here. I am sure the doctor cannot wait to get the new hospital equipment installed and tested. The sewing girls are excited about their materials and have received some orders already while offloading after some people saw the fabric.

GREAT JOB!! With love from all of us.

 

The next container has been donated by Royal Wolf and is “almost” on site in Kuringai in Sydney. Already we know that 3 Industrial Sewing Machines and 3 Overlockers have been donated to the sewing group by the TAFE college in Moree and the wonderful Reef View Hotel on Hamilton Is. have extended there offer of 2 pallets of superseded linen for the Chikombedzi hospital to 4 pallets. Amazing!!!

 

If anyone knows of any medical supplies such as wound management products or laboratory equipment that may be out of date or no longer required, teaching aids for the school of nursing, basic cleaning products for the hospital or anything else that a community that has basically nothing would want for a half decent life, please let me know.

 

 

Publicity – Wrap with Love and Green Living

 

The first lovely piece of publicity was included in the Sep/Oct copy of Green Living a delightful and new magazine editored by Kirsty McKenzie. It comes under the heading of Taking a Leaf and is a great write up on the orphans who are being given regular OLEA, Olive Leaf Extract which is supplied to AFADU on an ongoing basis by Delphine Archer and Comvita. The photos of the kids are gorgeous and this article is going to be followed up by a profile on one of our sponsored orphans each month. The whole magazine is worth a read so get it if you can!

 

 

 

The second was included in the Annual Wrap Up report  from Wrap with Love which reported:-

 

“AID FOR AFRICA DOWN UNDER (AFADU), ZIMBABWE, CHIKOMBEDZI COMMUNITY, MWENZI
DISTRICT

 

Aid for Africa Down Under, an Australian non-profit, non-government charitable organization, was founded in 2004 by Julie and Ian Routledge. When travelling in Zimbabwe they had seen the extremely harsh conditions suffered by orphaned and vulnerable children in Chikombedzi in the Mwenzi District. Julie was inspired by a white farmer, Ezelle Schimper, to work with the local community to help create a better environment for the children.

 

Since its inception AFADU has delivered 10 containers from Australia with over 100 tonnes of goods for distribution in Africa. Currently container No.11 is being packed with medical supplies, blankets, mosquito nets, Wraps and fabrics which will be shipped to Zimbabwe to provide additional resources.
Volunteers pack these containers themselves and also raise funds to transport them. They then personally distribute the wide variety of goods including our Wraps so that we can be sure they will reach their intended destination.

 

In January this year, Ian emailed Wrap with Love that despite all the bad news we read about Zimbabwe, AFADU has made huge differences in the Chikombedzi community. There is now a viable sewing school, a sponsored doctor, and a facility to teach nursing is being built.

 

Wrap with Love continues to support AFADU in their work, and in 2008 donated 1,317 Wraps.”

 

In total, Wrap with Love contributed 27,372 Wraps (blankets) to various countries and charities throughout 2008.

(Addendum —- Number 11 container as you have just read has just arrived and we are actually sponsoring 2 doctors)

 

 

Batsiranai Sewing Group and Trixie’s Global Giving Fund Raiser.

 

Trixie has passed on that because of 2 very generous donors, 2 embroidery machines are now in use at the BSG facility in Chikombedzi and the group are now producing school uniforms with school logos with ease. The group is certainly evolving and in the latest report it was great to see that they are now setting themselves income producing targets. They wrote:-

“”"Personal

Members are now able to work on their own without supervision from the tutor. Neatness have finally been achieved by all members and all members are now working /sewing to become the best among others. There is big competition within the group members as all of us want to become the best. “”"”

 

This report to AFADU so poignantly shows how important the BSG has become to the members. Thanks to those who have donated!

 

 

The link to global giving is http://www.globalgiving.com/projects/empower-100-woman-in-zimbabwe-with-sewing-skills and its worth opening it up to check out the pics alone!

 

Sponsorship

 

Emily still has a few kids that need sponsors and I would be happy to pass on details if anyone is interested. It is only $400 year or $35 month to provide food, clothing and education for a school age child and we get updates and photos on their well being when Ezelle can fit it in or when we go over which is usually every 12 months.

 

Next Field Trip

 

It looks like our next field trip will be planned for June or July next year. Delphine Archer our OLEA organiser who has constantly supported AFADU www.afadu.com in so many ways is going to come and Peter Ross from Melbourne, who organised all the Epworth Hospital goodies has also ticked it in his diary. Husband Bill has also expressed serious interest but I’m not quite sure whether he is serious or if its just something to do with the World Cup being held in South Africa??

 

Anyone else who would like the trip of a lifetime and feels that they have something to offer please let me know. We do go at our own expense BUT you seem to get back one hundredfold what you put in and WHAT A CAUSE!

 

Hope you like the pics of the container being off loaded. As more arrive I will send them on.

Cheers to all and THANKS for your support

Pam Harrison

 

Kind words from our friends at Wrapped With Love

August 4th, 2009

“AID FOR AFRICA DOWN UNDER (AFADU), ZIMBABWE, CHIKOMBEDZI COMMUNITY, MWENZI DISTRICT

Aid for Africa Down Under, an Australian non-profit, non-government charitable organization, was founded in 2004 by Julie and Ian Routledge. When travelling in Zimbabwe they had seen the extremely harsh conditions suffered by orphaned and vulnerable children in Chikombedzi in the Mwenzi District. Julie was inspired by a white farmer, Ezelle Schimper, to work with the local community to help create a better environment for the children.

Since its inception AFADU has delivered 10 containers from Australia with over 100 tonnes of goods for distribution in Africa. Currently container No. 11 is being packed with medical supplies, blankets, mosquito nets, Wraps and fabrics which will be shipped to Zimbabwe to provide additional resources. Volunteers pack these containers themselves and also raise funds to transport them. They then personally distribute the wide variety of goods including our Wraps so that we can be sure they will reach their intended destination.

In January this year, Ian emailed Wrap with Love that despite all the bad news we read about Zimbabwe,, AFADU has made huge differences in the Chikombedzi community. There is now a viable sewing school, a sponsored doctor, and a facility to teach nursing is being built.

Wrap with Love continues to support AFADU in their work, and in 2008 donated 1,317 Wraps.”

http://www.artsandcraftsnsw.com.au/Wrap.htm

The gals and their ideas!

July 21st, 2009

http://twitpic.com/b3pxw – Lovely meeting this morning with @childsi and @AFADU. Exchanging ideas and stories on #charitytuesday

Zonta & AFADU!

May 7th, 2009

One more donor to go and we’ve made it!!!

April 16th, 2009

In the month of April, AFADU and BSG had a challenge!
Rasie £1000 from 50 donors and we win a permanent place on a major US/UK fundrasing site called Global Giving. www.globalgiving.com

http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/pr/2600/proj2594a.html

One more donor to go and we have made it!!!!!

Childs i Foundation! Inspiring stuff!!!

April 16th, 2009

A friend of mine, Lucy Buck, is doing some fantastic work in Uganda. Her organization Childs i Foundation is there on a planning trip. Our aim is to design and build a specialist transitional care centre in Kampala, Uganda to provide life saving care to abandoned babies.
See Day one of their trip here:
http://blog.childsifoundation.org/2009/04/15/uganda-planning-trip-day-1/
GOOD LUCK LUCY AND TEAM!!!!

Hear us Tweet!!!!

April 9th, 2009

Follow AFADU on Twitter!!!!!

http://twitter.com/AFADU

Experienced Fundraiser Wanted!!

April 8th, 2009

Experienced fundraiser to help AFADU develop a fund raising strategy.

Just want someone who is authentic with a positive outlook on life…with experience in fundriasing:
- Developing Strategy
- Developing fundraising proposals – for corporates and high net worth individuals.

Can be an advisory role or a role to actually develop the strategy and proposals.

www.afadu.com

Flexible on how we would work – will work around you.
Want someone who wants to give their time because they know they can make a difference.

this role is not paid.

Cheers

http://www.gumtree.com/london/82/37347582.html