History of Zimbabwe Challenge

Prayer: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our father…encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good word and deed.” 2Thes2:16

Mr and Mrs Tim and Jean Dufton visited Zimbabwe in 2010 for 3 months.

  • A longer visit was made from September 2013 to May 2014. During this visit we opened our second Self-Sufficiency Project of a 450 Laying Hen House at Mutemwa Leprosy and Care Centre. The first project we established was a piggery for 1 boar (Sir Oinksalot!) and 5 sows in 2012.
  • We established the pilot project “You light up my Life” helping destitute women start their own micro-business with hand held solar lights. In this way the women, mainly widows gained dignity through self-sufficiency.
  • We investigated and costed a self-sufficiency farm for the Jairos Jiri Rehabilitation Centre for ‘differently abled’ children.
  • Tim visited Zimbabwe in 2015 to check on the progress of the projects.

Tim was born in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia and it was his home for the first 30 years. The reason for the visit was to investigate the current situation in long established, registered charities devastated by war, famine and lack of funds.

These registered charities have their own pages, which give details on their objectives, history, services provided and future challenges.

Mutemwa Leprosy and Care Centre

Tim is familiar with this colony from his days as a District Officer in Mutoko in 1972.
The Centre has 41 Residents consisting of 25 Leprosy patients, 4 destitutes and 12 physically challenged.

Jairos Jiri Children’s Rehabilitation Centre – Southerton, Harare.

This centre cares for 167 physically handicapped children. Tim and Jean Dufton had previously supported this Centre through the Australian branch of the Christian Blind Mission (CBM). CBM channel their funds to Jairos Jiri as their due diligence audit found them to be reliable recipients of aid.

 

Tim and Jean spent some time at each of the charities. They interviewed the management of the charities on their current situation and future plans. Both have good management and accountability systems in place, as one would expect from charities that have existed for many years. All have external management boards/committees responsible for the honest and efficient operation of the charity.

Both have, for many years, strived to become self-supporting. It should be understood that this is not easy for organisations whose clients are in some way disabled. Unfortunately the famine and hyper inflation (over 1000%) in 2007-8 had a devastating effect, putting their efforts back many years.

Tim and Jean saw the need for the charities to become self sufficient as the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is 85% and the donor community has shrunk.

None of the charities receive funding from the Zimbabwe Government, although Jairos Jiri do receive government support for their teachers, but not for any other staff.

They knew the charities would need ongoing support to get back on their feet and that they would be continuing to support the 2 charities when they got back to Australia. They also knew that they themselves did not have the resources to meet the needs.

Current Public Interest 2010-date

Even before they left for Zimbabwe, such was the level of interest shown by friends, family and church goers that Tim and Jean Dufton had to print some 70 information sheets outlining the reasons for their visit. Although no mention or request for funds has ever been made, before they left Australia a number of interested people donated funds to be used for the charities.

On their return to Australia, Tim and Jean were astounded by the level of interest and support shown by the churches and wider community.

Shortly after their return Tim and Jean were invited to address one group of 100 people and another of 50.

PresentationThey were further invited to be the guest speakers at the World Day of Prayer, shown here on the left. The information they gave, combined with the PowerPoint presentation, had a profound effect of the audiences, some people in tears.

They have also addressed small groups of 10-12 people of particularly interested people. Further invitations to speak to large and small groups such as the View Club, Probus, Rotary, Women’s Fellowship, and Mothers’ Union have been fulfilled.

A national training business, MRWED Training and Assessment, operating nationally with centres in the capital cities, publishes news of Zimbabwe Challenge’s activities in their monthly newsletter.

The overwhelming generosity of the community, demonstrated by the donation of some 80 completely unsolicited gifts, stimulated Tim and Jean Dufton to take the step of registering a charity. A further amount has been provided for the purchase of a water pump and piping for a well, and another $800 has been pledged.

Conclusion

Those of us who benefited from growing up in Zimbabwe and the wonderful schooling we received may feel the need to put something back into the country. We have a profound responsibility to help improve the lives of the poorest of the poor, who through no fault of their own, are suffering. Zimbabwe Challenge provides an avenue for this generosity. On a personal level we recognise the massive gap between the lives of the orphans and disabled children and our grandchildren. This is a stark reminder of how much we have to do.

Funds are required to meet the further potential for self sufficiency projects, micro-businesses and to help the poor gain independence, self confidence, self esteem and dignity. Zimbabwe Challenge has been created for this sole purpose and to provide a channel for the passion aroused.

Letters of support were provided from:

  • Federal Member for Longman Hon Wyatt Roy MP
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council Councillor Gary Parsons
  • St Peter’s Anglican Church, Bribie Island Rector Reverend Bill Crossman and the Parish Council