Community Care Initiative: Food and Clothing Program
Even though distributing food and clothing is necessary during times of crisis the Tekeshe Foundation firmly believes in lifting people out of poverty and building a culture of economic independence. Our organization firmly believes in restoring dignity and hope to people by empowering them to get involved in their own relief whenever possible rather than depend on outside help in perpetuity. We believe in helping people to help themselves. Our work is guided by the old saying, “If you give a man a fish he will eat for a day. If you give a man a fishing rod and teach him how to fish he will eat for a life.” We also believe that people need to make decisions and choices for themselves, their children and family on health, finance, lifestyle and other matters. This holistic approach ensures that families have enough food to eat and looks out for their long term economic propspects.
Orphans and the Elderly
Zimbabwe is among the Sub-Saharan countries that have been hit the hardest by the AIDS/HIV pademic. It is estimated that Zimbabwe has the largest number of children who have been orhphaned as a result of AIDS related deaths. With the AIDS pandemic claiming the lives of many adults children and the elderly are left with no one to take care of them. Instead, the grandparents are being left the sole supporters of their grandchildren whom they can barely provide for. Households headed by children or grandparents are on the rise. With the breadwinner gone such Households end up drifting into poverty.
As in many parts of Africa, women in the rural areas of Zimbabwe are disadvantaged economically and educationally. They are faced with so many challenges. One of the biggest problem they face is lack of income. Women who are heads of households struggle to feed their children. They rely solely on subsistence farming for their source of income. Women in these rural areas are very hard working - they spend most of their days in the hot sun tending their crops. Yet even after working so hard they end up with no crops because there is no guarantee that the rains will fall. This part of the Sabi valley experiences prolonged droughts quite often. With no crops and no other source of income these households drift into poverty.
The focus of our Food and Clothing program is to provide food and clothing to orphans, the elderly, widows, HIV patients and needy families. Alleviating poverty and restoring dignity and hope is at the core of our vision. In keeping with this vision we promote sustainable projects that lead people out of poverty and dependence into self sufficiency. Here is what we do:
- Our long term goal is to start an irrigation project in Rimbi village. The majority of the people in this area are peasant farmers who rely on agriculture as their only source of income. For the past six years this area has experienced prolonged droughts, as a result people have no food to eat and they are struggling to meet their day to day needs. Some of the neighboring villages have received irrigation systems while Rimbi village has been overlooked because of its geographical location. Rimbi is located in the Sabi valley. Read More...
- We have a graderning project underway. We aim to teach gardening skills to young people. We will provide mentorship to empower young people to take part in providing their own relief rather than relying on on outside help in perpetuity. Through this initiative we hope to teach young people to be self-reliant.
- We are in the processing of introducing sustainable projects, such as, mushroom growing, chicken and rabbit rearing, peanut butter processing. With the money they earn from these projects women will be able to take care of their children's needs.
- Through our partneship with New England Pentecostal ministries, missionaries and friends of the foundation in the United States we have sent 4 40-foot container of clothing, food, medical supplies and many other items to Zimbabwe
- Our caregivers distribute food and clothing to the elderly
- The Tekeshe Foundation works in partneship with New England Pentecostal ministries, United Church Of Christ missionaries, A Light For Zimbabwe Organization and friends of the foundation in the United States to send 40-foot containers of much needed items, such as food, clothing, medicines, medical supplies and school supplies to Zimbabwe. To date we have three containers
- We have distributed clothing to over 1000 people in Rimbi and neighbouring villages
- We provide food to 50 elderly people
- We provide food to 50 HIV/AIDS patients
An Individual Story
Tendai Purasi is one of the people who receive food and clothing from the Tekeshe Foundation. Tendai is standing on the far right with her daughter and grand children. She is a widow and is herself a PLWA. When I arrived for my annual visit in December of 2005, Tendai was very frail. Her health had deteriorated noticeably from the time I last saw her during my 2004 visit. She informed me that her condition has affected the strength of her legs and it is very difficult and painful for her to walk. In spite of this obstacle it is still necessary for Tendai to spend hard days in the hot sun tending crops that she is growing to provide a meager amount of food for herself and her children. After the long day of tending crops, her day is not done. Instead ofresting to recover from the hard work in the sun, she spends her evening hours making clay pots to earn the money to buy clothing and other necessities for her family. Still there is not enough money for her to afford transportation to a location where she can receive medical checkups and medicines. Through the foundation, I was able to give her some food and cooking oil. I also gave her some of the vitamins that I take along with me for my personal use. In the picture, you can see Tendai holding a bottle of orange drink provided to her by the foundation and on the ground in front of her are some of the food items provided by the foundation. Within two weeks after the food had been provided, Tendai’s condition had noticeably improved. It was obvious that, in spite of her desperate efforts, she was unable to provide for herself the nutrition needed to survive.
In this picture, Tendai is standing on the far right wearing a blue hat. She is part of a support group called "Hama Maoko". The women standing in this picture receive food and clothing from the Tekeshe Foundation. This is our first group of women who are part of the rabbit and chicken rearing project that started in early December 2009.
During one of my visits to Zimbabwe our caregivers and I visited Tendai to see how she was doing. The little girl is Tendai's granddaughter. She is showing off a dress and shoes she received from the foundation. In the picture below left, Tendai is receiving food from the Tekeshe Foundation caregivers.
Cavergivers distributing food and clothing