Widows Farm ProjectNovember 9, 2011
United Congregational Church of Southern Africa -- Zimbabwe Synod
Report for 2011
The Zimbabwe Synod is one of five synods comprising the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA). The UCCSA-Zimbabwe Synod is based in Bulawayo with congregations and schools throughout Matabeleland. The church's greatest constraint is the economic and political situation prevailing throughout Zimbabwe. As a result of this situation, ordinary Zimbabweans suffer greatly. The migration of the youth and other members of the work force to other places to seek jobs is taking its toll on the church and communities where the churches are located.
Born out of a sincere desire to alleviate the poverty of under-privileged widows, the Widows Farm Project is a program organized by the UCCSA-Zimbabwe Synod. It is comprised mainly of unemployed women with no means of income who have children and, in some instances, grandchildren to look after. The focus of the project is to equip the widows with useful skills and to mobilize funds to assist those who are incapacitated by age and other disabilities. The Widows Farm Project was started in Bulawayo and has since expanded to the surrounding rural areas. Currently there are 44 widows in Bulawayo and 19 widows in Hope Fountain Mission participating in the program. Reverend D. Sikosana allocated land in Hope Fountain Mission Farm to a group of widows to run a nutrition garden like their counterparts have established in Bulawayo.
The Widows Farm Project is a life long journey; the goal is to equip widows with skills of survival so that they are able to help themselves as a group. More importantly, the project will help them individually along with their families. A number of activities have been started by the women to include:
- CANDLE MAKING for selling and for individual use. This effort did well especially with the constant power outages. This activity has been successful in that there are already individual widows who are running it as a family-based business.
- FLOOR POLISH MAKING – group work and also certain individuals are running this activity as individual/family-based businesses.
- WOOL – sweaters, scarves, and other items are knitted for orphans and for the widows themselves.
- GARDENING – the gardens flourished with green garden peas and chomoulier. The whole group has benefited through additional vegetables in their diets. Surplus vegetables were sold and some were preserved.
- WORKSHOP on food preparation and preservation was a success. Participants were trained to dry vegetables using a solar tent.
- WORKSHOP on nutrients and herbs was also a success. The workshop was facilitated by a specialist in herbs as nutrients from the Zimbabwe Farmers Union.
Some difficulties have been incurred since many of the members are quite elderly and suffer from different ailments, making them often unable to participate.
Plans for the future include:
- Develop and implement a market for the craft work.
- Empower members to run their own individual projects, e.g., candle making; making and selling marmalade jam.
- Have individual members run backyard vegetable gardens. This will ensure empowerment and will broaden the scope of the program.
- Obtain additional funding to expand to rural areas.
- Get a Volunteer Counselor for the widows.
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