There is a remote village in Northern Zimbabwe that resides in one of the most neglected areas in the country. In Binga, the majority of the year the climate is dry and arid. As a result, water is a scarce resource in the area, and many community members walk up to four miles a day in search of water, as many borewells in the area have dried up. In addition, backyard gardens are the only food source for many who live in Binga.
Life is very challenging in the area and most people survive on subsistence farming and little backyard gardens. However, farming has not been possible of late due to the current drought and the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The region is prone to flooding, the latest of which was caused by Cyclone Idai which devastated the district in 2019, leaving many villagers homeless. They had no food as their crops and livestock were washed away by the floods. Roads and infrastructure in the area were also affected and lives were lost as a result of this devastating cyclone.
Wait, weren’t we just talking about a drought? Yes. Regions, like Binga, which have a dry climate and don’t normally experience much rain, cannot handle the large storms that occasionally strike the area. The ground becomes so hard, cracked, and dry that the rainwater is no longer absorbed into the earth, but rather runs off the surface causing devastating floods, like the flood caused by Idai. Because of how rural these communities are, there is no infrastructure in place to handle the water runoff, which has led to some structures in the villages being swept away.
While families in the area were working to rebuild their lives following Cyclone Idai, they had to deal with yet another crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic that left an economic collapse in its wake. The local shutdown, brought about by the imposed quarantine, has left many children and the elderly in serious need, unable to fend for themselves.
It was at this point that AMG national leader Dr. Jabulani Mudenda and his wife stepped in to help children in need. They operate Kabwe Children’s Home, an orphanage caring for and providing shelter to 16 children and daily feeding up to 125 kids in the community. The children residing at the orphanage are provided with life skills such as gardening, carpentry and plumbing in a home-like environment, which is preparing them for a brighter tomorrow. In addition to caring for these children, Kabwe Children’s Home is involved in several projects implemented for the betterment of the community.
Dr. Jabulani is passionate about his ministry as Binga is close to his heart: it’s his hometown. He grew up in the poor and harsh conditions many of the kids he serves are living in now. He shared that he didn’t even have a pair of shoes as a youngster and would walk barefoot many miles a day just to attend school. His vivid memories fuel his passion for helping local children facing vulnerable situations.
Dr. Jabulani’s next dream is to expand into the community beyond the walls of Kabwe Children’s Home by building a life skills center that would educate children outside of the orphanage. The center would teach community children practical skills such as hairdressing, carpentry, fashion design, construction, and baking. The Pashu community in Binga finds itself especially in need these days. Many of the children identified as potential participants are living in dilapidated homes. Dr. Jabulani wants to start teaching young adults carpentry skills they can immediately use to transform their own homes in the community, as well as giving them an in-demand skill they can use to help meet their families’ needs.
As the home continues to grow and expand, the staff hope to purchase a brick oven that can be used to bake bread to feed area children and their parents. With Zimbabwe’s prevailing economic instability, baking bread for the home and for sale in the community would be an effective means of surviving the harsh economic situation.
Currently, Dr. Jubalani is teaching many of the classes at his church, but he is working to raise the funds needed to build the life skills center and expand its efforts. He needs $31,200 to complete the project, which will include the new building, sewing machines, the brick oven, a solar electricity system, garden tools, and more.
Dr. Jubalani sees this life skills center as a way of providing a second chance to many of the young children he serves. Each child in the home currently takes various classes to equip them with essential life skills, and these classes can be life-changing. He recently shared the story of a young girl named Sarah who came to live at Kabwe Children’s Home earlier this year.
Sarah and her younger brother ran away from their home to escape the wrath and abuse of their stepfather. Sarah cared for her younger brother as they survived on the streets begging for scraps and digging through people’s trash. Subjected to these difficulties, Sarah and her younger brother were soon transformed into unruly, wild children without a reliable home, moving from place to place in search for somewhere to sleep and food to eat.
The two siblings were taken in at Kabwe Children’s Home, but Sarah wrestled with adjusting to a life filled with love, safety and care. She had become accustomed to being solely responsible for her and her brother’s survival, and because of that she struggled early on in obeying her caregivers.
Nevertheless, the staff didn’t give up on her, and now Sarah has become one of the most helpful and well-mannered children in the home. The behavioral, emotional and physical change in Sarah has become quite evident. It is clear that God continues to work wonders in her life and in the lives of all the children in the home. Had Sarah not come to live at Kabwe Children’s Home, she would have likely been exposed to further physical abuse and possibly sexual abuse living as a vulnerable and destitute young girl on the streets. Praise the Lord for ministries such as Kabwe Children’s Home that not only provide a physically safe place for children in need to live, but an emotional and spiritual one as well.
The classes at the life skills center will help so many young people have a fighting chance at breaking the cycle of poverty that grips their lives, by giving them a sense of purpose and exposing them to the gospel and sound biblical teaching. Would you come alongside AMG International to help make Dr. Jabulani’s dream a reality? Together, we can make a lasting impact in the lives of children in the northern Zimbabwean village of Binga.