Real Girls, Real Stories
Turning Hierarchy on its Head: Zimbabwe has the highest ratio of orphans to population than any other country in the world, according to UNICEF. Recently, community groups that serve orphans, including GCN, gathered for education and celebration. This day was unique because the so-called “high table” was set for the orphans, not the invited guests, as is the norm with most community-organized assemblies. While the rest of the gathering was served only sadza and stewed meat, the special guests (orphans) were served sadza, stewed meat, rice, matemba, beans and juice. It was humbling and heartwarming to witness such noble work being done by very poor communities for the disadvantaged.
Avert, an international AIDS charity, reports that the average life expectancy for women, who are particularly affected by Zimbabwe's AIDS epidemic, is 34 and may be dropping to 30.
One Small Step to Employment; One Giant Step for Womankind
“I really need to collect my results so I can look for work as a temporary teacher and sustain my HIV positive sister and my younger sister.” Gillian Bomba, GCN member
Gillian Bomba, orphaned at a very early age, had to fend for herself and her siblings. She moved a lot so as not to burden relatives, but she always kept up in school and got good grades. At age 21, she was ready to work as a teacher, but had a problem. With skyrocketing inflation in Zimbabwe, she had been unable to pay her school fees even though she had completed advanced classes and excelled at music. She was only $150 away from getting her diploma. Since Gillian had been active in Girl Child Network empowerment clubs for several years, she turned to Girl Child Network Worldwide for help. When a US donor learned of Gillian’s plight, she not only pledged the $150, but soon donated the money online to the GCNW Girls’ Empowerment and Education Fund.
$14 Alleviates Starvation
Zimbabwe’s government-sponsored youth militia have been terrorizing the population for many years. One main method: beating and raping women and girls of all ages. Some girls fled for their lives to South Africa or Botswana. They arrived starving and suffering from terrible injuries. A US supporter of Girl Child Network heard about it and gathered her friends and family to raise money for the girls: $2,600. Esther Saidi, a 20-year old girl who had benefited from GCN scholarships sent news that 143 girls each received a rescue packet containing oil, cornmeal, sugar, soy, soap, Vaseline and sanitary products. Each packet cost $14.00 and lasts a month. They used the remaining $600 to give extra cash to survivors who were the most severely hurt.
“Each food kit reassured every girl that despite extreme poverty and starvation in Zimbabwe, there is hope.” Betty Makoni, GCN Founder
Success Reducing Rape
The Mutasa District was widely known as having the highest number of rape cases in the country. GCN has been conducting prevention and response programs for a decade there, and a major decline in rape has been reported by the Sherukuru police.