In the Community

Children proudly show off their teddy bears during the launch ceremony for Mavambo Trust.
Children proudly show off their teddy bears during the launch ceremony for Mavambo Trust.

Children First supports and partners with community-based initiatives to extend the best possible care and services to orphaned and vulnerable children. The following story highlights the Mavambo Trust—a collaborative effort supported by Children First and USAID to bring support services, educational assistance, and home-based care to children in the communities of Mabvuku and Tafara.

Harare - Rudo's face shone as she fondly cradled the teddy bear in her arms. She was one of the 48 children who sang joyful hymns as part of the gathering at the Nazarene Church in Mabvuku at the launch of the Mavambo Trust – a Children First Project.

The project was officially launched on November 26, 2008 by the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Mr. James McGee. In his address, the Ambassador stressed the need for organizations to remain committed to supporting and caring for children as a means of safeguarding the future. He also thanked the USAID and its partners for taking the initiative to make a difference in children's lives.

The Ambassador's wife, Mrs. McGee, expressed her gratitude to the project's initiative to address the challenges faced by orphans and vulnerable children. Mrs. McGee presented the children with teddy bears after sharing an inspirational story about an American woman who mobilized other women to knit teddy bears for distribution to underprivileged children around the world as a gesture of love.

"These teddy bears are given to you with love," she said as she handed each of the children a teddy bear. Mrs. McGee also gave a box of teddy bears to each of the 6 early childhood center representatives present at the event. She acknowledged the ever-present challenge the children faced in obtaining basic means of survival and emphasized that the teddy bears were a gesture of love rather than an attempt at meeting their material needs.

Ms. Susan Kajura, Chief of Party for the Children First project, expressed excitement over the new partnership with both USAID and Mavambo Trust. She was optimistic that the project would have a positive impact on the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe. Ms. Kajura stressed Children First's commitment to serving the needs of children in a holistic manner and ensuring that resources reached children who needed them most. Ms. Kajura also noted that Children First had extensively consulted children in Zimbabwe prior to the inception of the project. The results of the consultation had shown that children's priorities were often different from what adults perceived them to be.

Brother Benjamin of Mavambo Trust gave the closing note and added that the gift of teddy bears by Mrs. McGee was a seed of love in the hearts of the Mavambo Trust that would bear fruit in due course.

Mavambo Trust works with communities in Mabvuku and Tafara in Harare to provide support services such as educational assistance and home based care to children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. Mavambo is partnering with the Children First project to enable more children to access a full range of care and support.

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