Zimbabwe Street Children

Family Strengthening Programme Bindura, Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe family strengtheningAs part of family strengthening, we help families to protect & care for their children. This helps prevent Aids Orphans in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, and other children at risk of ending up as street children.

One of the income generating activities of this family strengthening programme is a sewing project. Local volunteers, interested and skilled in sewing, have been organized into a sewing group. Parents or carers were given basic business skills training and they are now running their independent sewing business. An SOS field worker continues to give advise and guidance to ensure their business keeps improving.

The sewing group are renting a small room in the centre of the community from where they are operating. Currently they are mainly sewing school uniforms, but they have always got new ideas, on how to expand their production variety, e.g. the latest idea is to sew school bags for children who otherwise have to carry their school books in plastic bags.

Family Strengthening Programme Waterfalls, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Sewing Project (preventing street children)

Here is the account of a mother of 4 children whose husband passed away a few years ago. When the SOS Children team became aware of the situation of this family from concerned community members, the children were not in school and the mother was bedridden, due to her poor health status.

The following support strategies for this family were defined:

1.    Meeting the essential needs of the children (educational, medical and nutritional support)

2.    Addressing the health needs of the care giver (HIV/AIDS support group, education and advice on nutritional diet, nutritious garden, ‘living positively’ seminars, medical assistance)

3.    Developing strategies to guarantee the self-reliance of this family (small business training through a cooperation with ILO, support and advise for her embroidery business)

 

Given the support through the family strengthening programme, this lady is now an active member of the community committee as well as the local HIV/AIDS support group today: “I was given a lot of support, so it is my responsibility to also give back something to the community.”

She is also a proud business woman and makes a living through embroidery and sewing. She calls herself an ‘interior decorator’ and has got bright views for her future: “I have got peace of mind now, I am feeling very strong, I want to see my children grow up and getting married. Also, I want to fix the ceiling of my house, if you come next year again, you will see a difference! I am also planning to start cross boarder trading, although I will not be able to compete with my healthy colleagues, that I know but I will do my best.”

Family Strengthening Programme Waterfalls, Zimbabwe

SOS Children in Waterfalls, Zimbabwe has been running a family strengthening programme since 2002. The programme aims at providing holistic care for children who have lost one or both parents or are living with terminally ill parent(s) in two of Harare’s high-density suburbs (Glen Norah and Glen View). The programme supports about 1,800 vulnerable children in the following four areas:

Health: access to basic medical services, life skills training, psychosocial support, supplementary food;
Education: support with school fees, uniforms and school material, extra tutorial lessons, vocational training;
Accommodation: legal assistance to prevent loss of property for children, assistance to obtain legal documents;
Livelihood: training and support on income generating activities for child carers, link-up with relevant partners;

Our programmes are designed according to the needs and priorities of our target group, through the active participation of community members in the planning process.  

A Children’s Management Committee ensures that the voices of the children are heard.

To ensure the active participation of children in the programme’s management, the beneficiary children of Glen View decided that this could best be managed through a ‘Children’s Committee’. The Committee consists of 20 members who are between 8-19 years old. SOS has organized a leadership- and counselling skills workshop for the committee members. The Committee is chaired by Miles (9), a beneficiary child who is living with his aunt and her family. The committee members consider themselves as the “eyes and the ears” of the children and their issues. They call themselves the “trouble shooters” and report pressing issues to adult community members, school representatives or the SOS programme coordinator. They are also involved in identifying vulnerable children, who need to be put onto our family strengthening programme.  

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An SOS Children’s Village consists of a group of family homes each with an SOS mother and a family of sponsored children.