Tariro Youth Project in Harare is ten years old on 29th August this year. We take that as the official start date of the Tariro work we support. On that day I celebrated Mass on this feast of The Beheading of John the Baptist on the veranda of the first house we had in Harare (picture left). Fr John Livesley received the new trustees of TYP – Philip Mutasa, Beata Tumushine, Tambu Mutasa, Innocent Motsi, Mary Kanyemba, Rachel Beck and Carl Melville (picture below right). Present also were the some of the first boys – Byrone, Edwin, Fidelity – now all happily married with children of their own and all taking part in the running of Tariro projects. Edwin really is the key worker for the Rural project Tariro for Young People. So do join us in celebrating this. Thank God for making it work. Thanks to all those who have supported us through these ten years. And if you would like to give us a birthday present to help the current young people, that would be great!
The economic situation in Zimbabwe is challenging at the moment.
Despite this Tariro goes on and the youngsters seem to be getting all they need. All credit to the local trustees who are doing a magnificent job keeping everything going and even expanding. We have been offered some money for a second pig project and hope this will start soon. Some of the youngsters have recently written O and A levels early (most exams are in November) and got some pleasing A and B grades.
I shall be going out there on 4th September and will be able to tell you more about the state of Zimbabwe after that. I am going out with Adam and Lizzie Wilson, the two trustees who helped start Tariro UK ten years ago. Lizzie is the Chairman and they have been hugely generous with time, money and legal expertise. This will be their first visit and should be enormous fun, but also very exciting for them to meet and get to know some of the youngsters and discover that amazing spirit of Zimbabwe that makes people love the country despite the problems. Lizzie has promised to take lots of photos of pigs, chickens and children, in that order, to share with you in due course.
Every fundraiser dreams of getting a nice big grant that will remove all financial worries for years to come. Tariro hardly ever gets even moderately big grants (there are some happy exceptions to this: the Fellowship of St John for instance and a couple of churches). Yet we keep going and that is because all of you and many of the churches you go to support us. In many ways this is better than relying on big grants, nice as they are. We do have a wonderful sense of having scores of supporters who love the children, like what we are doing and stay interested in the work. This means a lot to us and I think it means a lot to you. Thank you for doing it.
However, our accountant has warned us this month as he does the year’s accounts, that our income has been dropping over the past two years. This has not been helped by the fall in value of the pound over Brexit. That costs us about £1,000 a month. We have to turn this situation round in the next few months. Can you help us do that? We really need to broaden the support we get and to do that we need you. You are our best ambassadors.
- Could you tell your friends and family about Tariro? Ask them to set up a donation rather than give you presents. Speak to your work colleagues. The worst they can do is say no.
- We can send you some publicity material to help you make us better known. We have some good stuff in electronic and printed form.
- Ask your churches. Gifts from churches are a very important part of our fund raising. We are coming up to Harvest Festival. This is often a good time for our funds as people realise that through Tariro they can help young people who are genuinely hungry because their crops have failed or their families have disappeared.
- Some people in the past have shown amazing creativity and energy in organising cake sales, coffee mornings, sponsored activities and dinner parties. Even my Brethren in CR help. Fr John (aged 75) raised £8,000 this year through a sponsored run. Fr George is now planning a sponsored bike ride.
- Put a legacy for us in your will. We don’t want you to die but this will happen to all of us and it would be nice for you to think that some super young people will be helped as you depart this life for other things.
- If you do have connections with any grant making bodies, please put in a word for us and make them known to us. Grant making bodies have so many calls upon their funds they inevitably attend first to those they know, and those they have learned they can trust.
- And please pray that God will encourage some more generous people to come forward and help us. This is not a last resort. God really does love Tariro and he uses our prayers to help it forward.
That’s enough for the moment. I will write again when I get back from Zimbabwe. Pray for Lizzie, Adam and me as we fly out there on 4th September. And above all give thanks, to God, to all our other supporters and to our young people because Tariro really is doing well and making a great difference to so many lives in Zimbabwe.
All the best