St Augustine’s Home
The most exciting and therefore demanding part of our work at the moment is the Home for 20 boys at St Augustine’s which we took over in September. The Home was very badly run down and we were able (due to a generous grant) to do some renovation work very quickly: new toilets, showers, water system, geyser and reglazing.
The Home is now secure for winter. Now we are looking more at the boys’ needs – for wardrobes to put their clothes in, extra coaching for those struggling at school, counselling for those (most) who have never talked about their loss of family etc. this is having a very good effect on the kids. I saw them before Christmas and they were already happier and much more co-operative. I look forward to seeing them in April. They are nice kids who just need a bit of care to bring out the good in them.
The problem area is the on going funding. We have to find about $3,000 (£2,000) each month for salaries, food and utilities. It’s unromantic funding but necessary to keep the boys going!
When we started Tariro we concentrated on the children’s needs: school fees, uniforms, counselling support etc. Recently we have realised we need to focus much more than we have on those who deliver the care. They are well meaning but often untrained and unaware of the needs even of ordinary children, let alone those with the disrupted backgrounds ours have. So now we are training the trainers. We had one training session in December and the staff who attended pleaded for more. They found it so exciting and they felt so much more supported. Fortunately Zimbabwe has people who are well trained in these areas of social care and can offer appropriate training. But they also need to be paid.
We go on looking at individual needs. Valentine and Gloria wrote O levels last year and passed some. Now we must get them private coaching so they can pass English, Maths and Science, without which they really can’t do anything. Two boys – Anesu and Tatenda in Mutare have shown themselves very bright and well motivated. Both live in homes where it is hard to study and long to go to boarding school so we are trying to make that possible. One boy, John, has been taken out of school because his results are so poor, but we are looking for an appropriate training for him, probably in animal husbandry which he wants to do.
We need to find what these youngsters can do and want to do; often of course they don’t know, but once you do find it it is wonderful to see the transformation. Maphosa at St Augustine’s is now on his third batch of 100 chickens which he is raising and selling very successfully and is thrilled to be doing it.
So dear friends and supporters thank you for making this possible. If any of you would like to give us a little extra this Lent, that would be great. If you would like to encourage your church, work place, friends, local pub, sports club or any other group to give us something this Lent that would be even better. And if you want to know what the kids you are supporting look like have a look at our Facebook page. There are lots of photos of them there. I think they are gorgeous, especially the cheeky looking ones!
Lots of blessings on you all