Between Zimbabwe’s vast valleys and dense rain forests, is a country severely impacted by poverty and disease. More than half of the population lives below the national poverty line, struggling with unemployment and limited access to clean water. But one of the greatest obstacles they face is the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that swept through the country like a raging, deadly storm in the early 2000s.
Globally, 69 percent of those infected with AIDS reside in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 1 million people living with this disease are in Zimbabwe. The AIDS crisis is running rampant throughout this southern nation of Africa resulting in an estimated 1.4 million children orphaned by the death of one or both parents. Living in the dirty, dusty streets, without access to basic necessities and proper nutrition, each day for these children is a fight for survival. The tragedy of AIDS has forced them to live in a state of perpetual desperation.
Our Regional Director of Africa Cyrus Mad-Bondo, and Child Sponsorship Programs Director Kraig Cole, traveled to Zimbabwe in 2012 where they had the opportunity to visit with families who were affected by AIDS. Tatenda is just one of them:
This 13-year-old boy is all too familiar with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. He lost his mother due to the disease, and he is also infected with this deadly virus. Though he receives medical treatment, he is frequently too ill to attend school, which is hindering his educational progress.
His grandmother cares for him on a daily basis; however, she was diagnosed with severe hypertension and struggles to provide a steady income. The family survives solely on the generosity and donations of others in their village and the minimal wages they receive from a tenant residing in their home. Their situation is dire.
But amidst the calamity of a life defined by AIDS, there is hope.
World Help is committed to restoring the innocent lives of children living in Zimbabwe by providing child sponsorships. Working with our in-country partner, Albert Mavunga, hundreds of children are now receiving nutritious meals, durable clothing, and access to a quality education. With the help of our sponsors, we are investing in more than 400 children in the most impoverished villages of Zimbabwe.
Albert and his team frequently minister to families, like Tatenda’s, on a regular basis, bringing groceries and taking time to pray with them. Though many families will continue to grapple with the effects of the AIDS crisis, it is a great encouragement for them to know their children have the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty by receiving a quality education and the daily care they so desperately need.
Child sponsorship in Zimbabwe translates into lives changed and hope restored for hundreds of children and their families. No longer will poverty and disease dictate their lives . . . these children now have a better quality of life and hope for promising futures.