Over the past 17 years, Zimkids has provided more than 5,000 orphans in Pumula North and adjacent areas on the edge of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe with financial assistance for their educations, with tutoring, vocational training, medical care, psychosocial support, daily meals, recreational activities and the foundations to build their futures.
ZimKids Orphan Trust was built, bit-by-bit, brick by brick, by orphans in Pumula North and has evolved according to their pressing needs rather than according to some NGO handbook. The 250 orphans we work with at any one time are extremely fragile. Not only have they watched their parents die, but most have also been traded around among relatives, moved from rural areas to town and often back again, used as servants or cow herders by distant relatives, or are leading child headed households raising two or three younger brothers and sisters.
So when we say, “Built by Orphans, Run by Orphans, For Orphans,” we’re serious. Our leaders mentor our 16-year-olds, who tutor our 12-year-olds.
They plan and run our sports programs, teach chess, read to our preschoolers, keep an eye out for children who might look upset and fill our facility with joy.
We provide a new type of family, one in which the children are valued as individuals and helped to reach their potential. We’re succeeding because the “heads” of that family are their brothers and sisters, alumni of our program, who as orphans themselves understand, on the one hand, their needs and challenges from the inside, and who, on the other, have learned, from Zimkids, new personal, interpersonal and practical skills.Read More
After operating out of the yard of a neighborhood woman and then the local primary school, in 2011, Zimkids received a long-term lease from the city of Bulawayo on a piece of land that would allow us to build a permanent home. Thanks to the generosity of Adrian Suskin, a former Bulawayan living in Baltimore, Maryland, his friends and scores of individual, corporate, union and diplomatic donors, we broke ground with a construction crew made up of six members of our Council of Elders, trained on the job by our founder, Dennis Gaboury.
Adrian passed away in 2014, and we named our new home The Adrian Suskin Center for ZimKids in his honor. It now includes an educational resource center with a kitchen, clinic and library; a computer training center; a welding area; animation studio; a garden and greenhouse complete with drip irrigation; a poultry area; an obstacle course designed and built by the orphans; a playground; and sports fields.
Take a look at the experiences and memories our generous donors have allowed us to create. THANK YOU!!!