August 12 is International Youth Day. This year, the UN has set the focus on youth engagement at a local, national and global level. The involvement of young people in politics and development enriches these processes. It gives them the ability to help build a future that is fair for them, and for their children.
For this to happen, young people need support. They need access to education and training. They need to build social skills and connections. Despite setbacks because of the pandemic, Khayelihle Children’s Village (KCV) in Zimbabwe is helping young people build these skills for their future.
There are currently 48 children residing at KCV, living in small family groups with house parents. This provides a supportive and loving home for children while they move through a reconnecting process with relatives. COVID-19 has brought some restrictions to the village over the past year and Vimbai Vuma, Director of KCV, says, “Our lives have been changed.”
One of the many changes the children faced during lockdown was the cancellation of social activities such as school sports gala days, trips into town and social visits with friends. They are instead spending more time learning practical skills by helping at the KCV farm. The children divided themselves into groups, where the girls help in the farm garden and the boys at the dairy.
“Our cattle are doing fairly well. They have been getting extra nutrition from feeding on the grass,” Vimbai says. “We have managed to plant tomatoes, butternuts and green beans. We are currently enjoying the fresh mealie cobs from the garden.”
With the closure of local schools, students moved to online learning. They are encouraged to attend their studies at the KCV library at set times. A benefactor, Higherlife Foundation, installed the internet. It is further aiding the children in their studies by providing a platform where the children are taught about various things such as the word of God, gender discrimination and violence, and how to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Despite the challenges of school closures, Grade 7 and 11 students were able to complete their examinations last year in December. One Grade 13 student, Blessing, completed her examinations in January this year. Vimbai reports, “We await her results to see if she qualifies to do further study in her dream field of Social Work.”
When you give support through GMP, you enable KCV to help young people like Blessing equip themselves to build a better future.