First I would like to thank you for your support for Tariro and your interest in the young people we look after in Zimbabwe. However, we are facing a critical financial problem and we need your help.
As my previous letters have described, the Zimbabwean economy gets worse and our kids keep costing more, partly because they are doing so well and partly because they are growing up.
We currently spend £10,000 a month in Zimbabwe, all of which is raised in the UK from people such as yourself, and every penny we receive is spent on our work. We have no paid staff in the UK, as everything is done by kind volunteers who want nothing more than for our children to have the best possible future.
At the moment despite your generosity our funding is barely a month ahead of our spending. I would dearly love to have three months running costs in the bank.
We could cut our expenditure in Zimbabwe. This would mean doing one or more of the following things:
- We could stop funding those in tertiary education and vocational training. This would save a lot of money but would leave them stranded as they would have no chance of finding meaningful work or even making a living. Zimbabwe is full of frustrated youngsters who have done their schooling and no more.
- We could take the 10 kids out of boarding school and send them back to day schools. This would save some money, but ruin their chances of doing well as they would be back to living in unsatisfactory home conditions, walking miles to school and getting inadequate teaching.
- We could cut back on the support we give the youngsters – counselling, extra food etc. The last would be pretty disastrous as the country is gripped by drought and crop failure so they wouldn’t find food elsewhere.
I’m sure you don’t want us to do any such things, and nor do we. We want to do all we can to avoid that. We would really like to increase the number of kids we support.
But we need money. Can you help us find this? Here are some suggestions how you could:
- If you pray, could you pray regularly for Tariro and particularly for our financial needs? Since we started 7 years ago I have been convinced that this is work God wants us to do; nothing else could explain its success. God does inspire people to help us but it seems he likes us to ask him for help first.
- If you belong to any sort of group – church congregation, church council, mothers union, school, work place, sports club, wine tasting group or anything else, can you ask them for support? I can send you some flyers and there is plenty of information on our website (www.tarirouk.com) . Most of us don’t like asking for money; it goes against the English diffidence from which we suffer. But when you think of it, the worst people can do is say No. Often they are delighted to be asked and respond generously.
- Likewise can you ask your friends and relations? If they are real friends they won’t mind being asked.
- A few people have already put on a fundraising event for us – coffee morning, wine and cheese party, sponsored run, fund raising dinner etc. This takes energy and talent but if you have that, could you use it?
- If you use Facebook and other such social media could you invite people to help us or even just to like our page? What is the use of having 354 friends on Facebook if they don’t do something occasionally to show their friendship?
- If you have any spare money, please do go online and donate to us, your support is what keeps us going.
I hope you can help because I don’t want Tariro to have to contract its work. The kids need us and their lives will fall apart without us.
There are good things to report as well:
- One boy, who shall remain nameless, has given us a lot of trouble in recent months; now he seems really to have settled down to working for his O levels at the end of this year.
- Several teenagers asked for extra lessons in the school holidays so they can improve their work. How many English kids would do that? Those had to be paid for but were good for keeping them out of trouble and making sure no ground was lost in the holidays.
- Alban Mhondiwa, who left school last year has just raised and sold his first 100 chickens, making enough money to buy another lot of chicks and also give him a small profit for the future. It is a time of small things but this is probably the way forward for our less academic kids in the current economic situation out there.
Thank you again for your help and support. Together we can crack this problem and give more and more children a happy future in their country.
God’s blessing be upon you,
Father Nicolas Stebbing CR