The well being of youth is the foundation for the future.
Without their instincts to survive what is being put in front of their generation, we have only the direction that the past is pointing.
Our elders blaze a trail to carve out potential territory for the future, but the youth bring into fruition those dreams plus carry the burden of their ancestors choices.
By looking to the youth for insights as to the real needs of the present, we can make sure to create a solid basis for a more hopeful evolution for our species.
“A child’s life is the path.”
In the beginning our initial goal was to simply sponsor children to attend school. We asked $10 for the primary and $15 for the secondary children we sponsored in 2000. With spiraling inflation it became obvious that would not suffice for long. We raised the sponsorship to $35 and remained able to build a program that not only paid tuition but bought uniform fabric, paid a tutor, built a library, provided medical care, and created an after school activity program over the next several years. In 2008 we raised the fee to $40 for the last half of the year, and in 2009, as the US dollarization of the Zimbabwe economy shifted, we raised the fee to $60. That $60 enabled us to look at the broadest of concerns for these children, although this amount turned out to be quite insufficient.
We have been impacted by the changes in our US economy, and the costs of doing business in Zimbabwe which have increased since 2009. For instance, in 2010 soap increased from $1 to $1.50, Jangano’s high school fees increased to $90 per year, and nurses elsewhere were suddenly minimally paid $400 per month as of June when we have been paying $250! We cut staff both in the states and Zimbabwe, as well as limited many other expenses. In the past, the generous donations of my godfather, Clarence ‘John’ Pare, Jr., supplemented the sponsor’s commitment. With his passing, however, those funds are no longer available and we have made efforts to adjust to a new business model. We have also had to accept how time-and-labor intensive it is to connect one person with one child, since for all the early years we made extra effort to help build relationships between our country’s residents.
To address these financial challenges and increase our flexibility to provide high quality support to children, we introduced a new model for 2012. The donations to the Youth Well Being Program had greater impact by directing them to the needs of all the children. It eliminated the high costs of maintaining the one-to-one contact between donor and child. And, it allowed us to address the emerging opportunities within the program, thus promising reaching more children with health and education services. This new approach also made it possible for people to support the program at whatever level fit their budget, and without committing to future years.
Additionally, with the new website and Facebook we have been able to share the children and families in an up-close and personal way using video and slide shows.
The Youth Well Being Program offers extracurricular activities, such as library access and music lessons, as well as camps, where they can counsel these children about the nuts and bolts of living safely in an HIV world as well as how to stay healthy with basic hygiene. If a child doesn’t attend school they will not be turned away from our programs.
Our Nhimbe for Progress preschool has been recognized for the last several years as a model preschool. We are not only feeding the children, but provide an incredible learning environment. This status has gained us the respect of international charities such as J.T. Kapnek and UNICEF as they have helped to upgrade the playground equipment and provided a water pump at the Community Center where all activities take place.
Find more information about our Youth Well Being Program here: