Families in Muzarabani and Gokwe Districts in rural Zimbabwe were looking forward to being financially independent this year, but when COVID-19 lockdowns hit, their livelihoods selling produce at local markets evaporated like rain on the dusty road.
Run by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe through the Methodist Development & Relief Agency (MeDRA) and supported by the Australian Government, the project they are part of supports small livelihoods projects such as raising chickens, pigs and goats to a generate both food and a sustainable income.
At the age of 64, Conceptar is no ordinary grandmother. Since 2009, she has cared for her orphaned grandchildren. There are now six children to house, feed, educate and clothe, but since joining the project in 2014, Conceptar says it has been a source of hope for her and her family.
Income from the sale of chickens (particularly) was providing food and education to Conceptar’s household and many others, but when Zimbabwe went into lockdown due to COVID-19 everything changed.
“Everything seemed to be evaporating in my life as it became very difficult to sell produce from the project,” said Conceptar.
“The disease has brought a sad face to the project as markets got closed.”
As large markets supplying local restaurants shut, the sale of produce became impossible. Conceptar’s family could no longer afford to buy food. They had to survive on one meal a day.
But hope was not lost when Conceptar learnt that MeDRA was already on their way to distribute food and support to her family and others in the village.
“I want to thank MeDRA for coming to my rescue as I got a food hamper which will go [a] long way to safeguard the food situation of my family,” said Conceptar.
She said her grandchildren rejoiced at the thought of being able to enjoy a cup of hot tea again thanks to MeDRA.
UnitingWorld had been supporting MeDRA to handover leadership of this project to communities by July this year. Due to COVID-19, this will be delayed to the end of June 2021, in order to ensure that families are supported through this difficult time of COVID-19 and the economic challenges this exacerbates and are able to maintain their livelihoods activities. After June 2021, we will continue to work with MeDRA and the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe by supporting the training of church leaders and youth leaders in addressing gender based violence, child protection, disability inclusion and human trafficking in their communities.
Thank you for supporting this work through your donations to our tax-time appeal. Your support and solidarity mean so much, especially in this global crisis. Thank you.
This project is also supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, we are making a huge difference together; lifting families out of poverty and helping people improve their lives.