HCOC provides a meal for more than 700 orphans and vulnerable children every day throughout the school year, helping to keep them well nourished and alert in school. This is accomplished through three feeding centers adjacent to the schools.
Monthly groceries and supplies are also delivered to Child Headed Households where children live alone or with their siblings, but with no parents or guardians.
Much of the food is produced in the HCOC gardens and poultry project (see below). Funds raised by ZMP help cover agricultural costs, and help purchase whatever food is needed to supplement what is produced onsite. Maize production has been especially successful, helping to sustain the food program and providing enough for storage, as well. This success is partly due to a recently installed drip irrigation system.
Over the years, the gardens at HCOC have expanded and increased production as water supplies and agricultural knowledge and technology have improved. Now it's estimated that the gardens provide as much as 80 percent of what is needed for the food program. In addition to the 10 tons of maize needed for the feeding centers each year, the gardens produce green vegetables, butternut squash, beans, onions, tomatoes and more. HCOC has become the agricultural training ground for the community and a shining example of sustainable agriculture.
Income generating projects have become a major focus for the ZMP. It is mutually desirable to create an environment of self-sufficiency, so that less and less help is needed from the outside, while local community participation, involvement and pride continue to grow. In addition to the gardens, two other major projects are being developed at HCOC to help achieve the goal of self-sufficiency: the poultry project and the moringa project below.
For the past several years much time and care has gone into the building of chicken runs and other infrastructure needed to raise thousands of chickens for market. With present facilities, over 15,000 chickens are being raised and marketed, while the suffering economy in Zimbabwe has limited marketing and selling of the chickens broadly.
In addition, the poultry project and other operations at HCOC are providing job opportunities for local workers and even for orphans under HCOC care, like young Albert pictured at left. To read his story, click here.
Moringa is an extremely nutritious plant, which HCOC has been growing and providing as a supplement in the food program for many years in relatively small quantities. When dried and powdered, moringa may be added to foods or beverages to greatly increase nutritional content, especially vitamin C, calcium, protein and vitamin A. This is great for the children, but the long-term marketing prospects have the potential to lift HCOC out of dependency and into self-sufficiency.
A 10-acre plat capable of growing 40,000 moringa shrubs is now in production at HCOC. Land has been cleared at nearby Guzha for expansion of moringa production, as well. Partnering with the local community, CEO Albert Mukondwa has also enlisted their support in growing and harvesting additional moringa, and delivering it to HCOC for processing.
Philanthropic organizations are climbing on board to help with funding. Much interest has been shown by companies in Zimbabwe and internationally. If you would like to help, click the link below. And stay tuned.
With funding support from ZMP, the orphan care center maintains a bare-bones clinic to help meet the medical needs of the children and the community. Since the clinic opened, HIV-positive children have been living much healthier lives, with no HIV-related deaths recorded for many years. Minor illnesses and injuries are treated, and children with more critical needs are transported to the nearest hospital. ZMP funds are used to pay the HCOC nurse, as well as to purchase any medicines and supplies that are not donated.
Last year alone, 1,916 children and 959 community members were given medical assistance. But now, unless a new clinic can be built and registered with the government, this clinic is in danger of losing AIDS medications and other vital supplies provided by UNICEF. A site for the new clinic has been obtained. Architectural plans have been donated. And construction is nearly complete. But $30,000 is still needed to finish a clinic that will meet all the requirements to register the clinic and secure UNICEF deliveries. Won't you please help?
One of the major missions of the ZMP is to make sure that orphans being served at HCOC are able to attend school. This means paying school fees at the primary and secondary schools for registered orphans who are not receiving help in the form of school fees from the government, or when caregivers are unable to pay the fees.
It takes about $15,000 a year just to cover the school fees. When funds are available, the ZMP also strives to help with the cost of uniforms and other school supplies critical to each child's success. There is also the cost of "O Level" exams, without which there is little or no hope of holding a professional job of any kind in Zimbabwe.
School uniforms are of particular importance, as children are required to wear them and, when they don't, they're stigmatized, marked as orphans and looked down upon as the poorest of the poor. Due to financial constraints, this is one area of ZMP funding that has faced cuts in recent years. To help, click the link below.