You can’t support a village and a community without food and water. Through its partnerships and funding AFADU has supported a number of projects to provide water and food security.
- Two water bores – funded by the Australian Government Direct Aid Program
- Irrigation pumps and hosing – donated by the Archer Family Foundation
- Fencing for the LCV and community farms – protecting the crops for LCV and the community
- Shade cloth for young crops to survive the African sun – donated by Shade Cloth Australia (Sydney) – allowing grow of vegetables all year round
AFADU provided funding for the purchase of water tanks as part of the installation of a water system, providing water from the nearby Mwenezi River to the Village and surrounding community.
The LCV farm and gardens have been planted with wheat, sugar beans and vegetables.
History of the farming projects
The water project made possible with fund raising activities of “Girls on Top”, a group of young Australian women who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, was completed in June 2007 and built with the help and support of the local community.
The system consists of pumps, irrigation lines and water tanks. Water is pumped from the Mwenezi River to the Lirhanzo Children’s Village some 3 km away and provides irrigation to farming communities who live between the village and the river as well as water for the Lirhanzo Children’s Village, its own vegetable plots and for their animals.
Now, instead of one (often failed) crop a year, the local community members involved are ensured of two healthy maize and wheat crops a year and vegetables all year round.
A mesh wire fence surrounding 2.5 hectares of crops providing food security for villagers and their children in the Mwenezi District of Zimbabwe.
Buying food in the southern region of Zimbabwe continues to be a challenge as food shortages are rife throughout the country.
At the Lirhanzo Children’s Village and surrounding village community the maize and wheat crops grown from the irrigated water project have substantially helped the local villages and the LCV children.
Together with the support of a Government farming adviser, farming techniques have dramatically improved yielding increased crop harvests.
The fence provides crop security.
This has an immense impact economically and personally on the district community, 20 local village families and their children providing support, encouragement and a future.
Funding was provide by The Archer Family Trust.
A great example of micro-finance in action!
The staff of Lirhanzo Children’s Village wish to apply to AFADU for microfinance of $420 to build a bread oven and set up a bakery within the LCV grounds.
This will provide staff with an opportunity to raise funds to top up their wages and create a fund to assist staff with health and other emergencies.
The Lirhanzo Children’s Village and its surrounding community is isolated from the nearest town (Chikombedzi) and lack of transport and poor roads make access to services and food supplies a significant issue.
Bread is an important component of the local diet, but there is nothing currently available in the immediately area.
People wishing to buy bread have to go to CHikombedzi Growth Point.
With the school also being part of LCV, there is plenty of potential for sales to local people. It is felt by the LCV staff that there would be good demand for bread.
Plans are afoot for LCV to build a bread oven of commercial size – the staff have agreed that they would be able to make bread for sale as well as providing bread for the children at LCV.
The profits made from the sale of bread will be used to top up the salaries of the staff with the aim of meeting government salary requirements.
A side benefit of having the oven is that training can be provided to the children in bread baking.
AFADU recently supported the building of a house for our expert grinding mill operator.
The Grinding Mill was built at the end of 2010 from project funds supplied by Delphine Archer and the Archer family.
It has developed into an income-generating project for LCV and the miller, Mr Tadious Mbedzi., now pays his wage out of profits.
Tadious has been living in the mill, however, the structure is not only dusty and an unhealthy environment to sleep, it is not weatherproof and would be freezing cold in winter.
Permanent all weather house available for whoever takes on the position of ‘Miller’.
The permanet house and grinding mill facility will also provide work opportunities for local men and will allow them to earn extra income for their families.
The building was commenced in mid 2015.
A square concrete slab was poured and bricks were made for the outside structure, however, because other building work was prioritised the bricks were utilised for other LCV projects.
US$300 has been supplied to complete the project by AFADU.
These funds were raised by the sale of hand crafted baskets – made by local women in the community and transported back to Australia for sale following the the 2015 AFADU Field Trip.
This is a real story of the community investing in itself to create self sustaining businesses.
This community development project has proved highly successful in provided employment and sustainable support to the surrounding community
Sponsored with the generosity and love of Delphine Archer and her family, the Grinding Mill was established late in 2010 and has been fully operational since 2011.
This income generating project creates a community meeting point to further generate sales of vegetables from the LCV Garden and bread from a planned brick pizza oven
Local farmers no longer need to travel long distances on foot to grind their grains and there has been a reduction in costs for mill charges for the Lirhanzo Children’s Village.
As a bonus it provides employment for our older orphans.
Grinding mill operators have been employed and trained on the job and are learning the basics of engines and their daily maintenance and care.
Other positive benefits include reduced operating costs for the Lirhanzo Children’s Village and as a flow on, for the teaching staff at the school and the families who work at the village they are now able to now grind their maize and wheat for free.
It’s only a small incentive but reduces the time spent travelling long distances to other far away mills which in turn saves them money.
Accountability is important to AFADU and LCV.
Financial management systems for mill revenue have been introduced with a paper ticketing and receipt process.
AFADU receives quarterly reports on the Grinding Mill and its output levels and 496 buckets were ground between July and September 2011. 36 were for LCV home and 18 for LCV staff and teachers.
The project is able to cover all wages and running costs and the profit produced goes directly to LCV to support the needs of the children living there.
I think that all will agree that this project is now working and the growing problems are sorted.
The community is now dependent on this project and quickly complains if the mill is not running.
Eliphas is the best miller we have had and he is here to stay.
He is very good with the public, always very friendly, never complains and knows how to take care of the mill.
From May 2013 to April 2014 we made a total profit of $846.70 – most of this went to both LCV orphanage and the school.
We are keeping 10% of the profit each month to pay for maintenance and repairs.
We have finished harvesting both sorghum and maize.
We expect lots more grinding this year as people had bigger harvests”
– Ezelle Schimper
From very humble beginnings on the verandah of the farm, the older girls of Lirhanzo children’s village (LCV), equipped with only two hand-sewing machines that had arrived in the container from Australia, were taught how to pattern make and cut and sew simple articles of clothing.
Trish, one of the field trip members in 2005, worked tirelessly with the students, even managing to set a pattern for local school uniforms.
Since those humble beginnings, the Batsirani Sewing Group produced casual skirts and blouses for women, curtains for the local people in the village among many other saleable items.
They have made school uniforms for the secondary school girls and they sell like hot cakes. All the surrounding schools are buying their uniforms from the Sewing School!
For the local ladies, the Sewing School began creating patterns using designs of old clothing so that customers could see how their dresses, etc would look like before placing their orders.
The money accumulated from the sewing was used to buy one electric motor for one domestic sewing machine.
The older girls have acquired sewing skills and can operate electric machines (when power cuts allow).
The girls can take body measurements and make garments to fit and are becoming well known in the local area of Chikombedzi.
Most girls can use hand sewing machines and a zipper foot though only having one overlocker to share has forced all members to sew in one colour only.
Young orphan women benefited by learning sewing and business skills at Batsiranai Sewing Group ensuring their future employment stability.
The project trains young adult orphan women at LCV and other women from the surrounding community with sewing skills so they can earn themselves a living.
We hope to reestablish the project in 2016 if funds become available for rent, electricity and wages.
Our Tertiary & Community Education Fund works to improve the literacy, health and economic wellbeing of children through education, vocational skills and pathways to work.
This fund targets children who are living in the community but need financial assistance to access educational opportunities. We see this as the best way to lift individuals and communities out of poverty.
The girls who go to high school can’t afford to go to sewing school.
Because they can’t afford the $5 per year to purchase the materials required.
Originally Leanne was asked to teach 6-8 girls from LCV to sew Personal Hygiene products for themselves, then propose a business plan to make more and on sell to women in the village.
Wheelchairs for Kids is a Perth based organisation that is the initiative of Rotary Club of Scarborough (Perth) supported by the Christian Brothers.
Over the past early 20 years Wheelchairs for Kids has distributed over 30,000 pediatric chairs to children in Asia and Africa.
From a simple beginning in 1998, the volunteer work force has grown to more than 100, mostly retired people.
The volunteers manufacture the chairs and load the boxes into sea containers; other volunteers make cushion covers, rugs and knitted toys to accompany the chair.
Fergal and Marg have had previous contact with Wheelchairs for Kids (in Uganda) and after observing there was a need in Chikombedzi during their 2012 visit to LCV, contacted Rotary in Perth who willingly donated 20 chairs.
Toll then donated the costs of transporting the chairs to Sydney, where they were loaded into one of our containers and delivered to Zimbabwe.
During their 2014 visit, Marg and Fergal in collaboration with Mr Baloyi, the rehabilitation and disability officer at the Free Methodist Mission Chikombedzi Hospital, identified those most in need and distributed and fitted the chairs.
All 20 chairs were assembled and given to children (and a couple of adults) in the wider Chikombedzi area.
All of the recipients were severely disabled and lived in very remote and isolated subsistence farming communities.
The chairs were very well received – the parents and children were delighted.
The toys and blankets were a nice touch! The chairs are very robust and designed for remote bush settings.
The children were quite obviously loved and looked after by their very poor parents and extended families.
Considering the endemic poverty and the difficulties families face, it was lovely to see this commitment to the children.
For most, for the first time in their lives, they mothers and children had some mobility – the child could, if able, attend school now and could also accompany his or her mother to the fields, a daily task.
Our heartfelt thanks to Gordon, Ollie and the Rotary volunteers at Scarborough in Perth.
‘Container 15’ AFADU was sent to Zimbabwe in 2013… and despite improvements in the availability of locally sourced supplies still made a big difference on the ground.
Despite all challenges and logistics of getting it there!
Sheets for the hospital, curtains for hospital beds, uniforms and donated secondhand health equipment helped refresh the hospital.
The wheelchairs for kids and hospital supplies all got there safe and sound.
Thanks to Ian, Fribi (South Africa) and all those who helped and donated!
Ezelle sums it up best …
Thanks for all your efforts with the container! It is finally here and we off-loaded it safely. Denny was vital in helping with the practical side of getting chains and ropes set up together with Ludwig. We were very careful not to damage the truck so the trucking company should be happy with us. The weather played along, we had fair weather after rains last weekend. Wendy is very happy with how it all ended up and Alison is happy about all the stuff she had on the wish lists for the clinics.”
Long, bumpy, pot holed trail and forest roads connect the hospital to its 14 clinics and other areas of the community are at least twenty five kilometers away from the nearest clinic, public transport is none existent people have to walk or hire donkey driven carts to access medical attention.
These factors are impacting negatively on our efforts to combat diseases and conditions with highest morbidity and mortality namely HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition, pregnancy and peri-natal complications. Heavily affected are children and the very sick who can’t walk these distances resulting in high numbers of ‘lost to follow up’ cases.
The Primary health outreach program will aim too improve health outcomes for people living in hard to reach locations by delivery of health services through outreach health activities.
- To provide both public and private outreach health services that address prioritised community needs.
- To broaden the range and choice of health services available in remote locations.
- To increase access to multidisciplinary care in primary health care settings.
Targeted groups will include:
- Communities without a health facility
- Distant communities >25km from the hospital
- Children and the elderly
- Sufferers of chronic illness e.g. HIV and AIDS, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Activities will include:
- Growth and developmental assessment in children
- Opportunistic Infection Clinic
- Diabetes and Hypertension screening
- Mobile Outpatients Clinic