I am so happy to report that we have finished another house,‘The Golden Valley House’, and have only one more house to go to complete the vision John Mark had for the Children’s Village 10 years ago. The last house, ‘The Chapel Hill House’, has the roof completed and we will be starting on the inside electrical work soon.
To see the faces of the children in the Golden Valley House was wonderful. They were the last 10 children at the Children’s Home about 3 miles from the village. The Home was our first orphanage and opened 12 years ago. It is a dorm setting. The children would often ask when they too would get a house and move to the Village. Now they are in a brand new house and love being with all the other children. The 10 children living in the Golden Valley House range in age from preschool to the last year in High School.
My question was, "What are we going to do with the Home?" The laws are changing in Zimbabwe and dorm rooms are no longer acceptable for housing orphans under the age of 18. We are required by law to give them houses. The Home in Chiredzi has two large dorm rooms, one for boys and one for girls. The expense of changing this to houses was more than we can cope with at the moment as we still are completing the Village.
The leaders in Chiredzi, Zebedee, Alone, and Kufa, came up with a brilliant plan to use the Home. We
are still helping orphans but staying within the laws laid down by the government.
About 5 years ago we opened our Halfway House for our older kids. We opened with 6 young people 18 years old or older who have completed their High School education but needed a place to stay until their skills training or university education wascomplete. Since our opening, we have out grown the Halfway House's limited space. After the 10 children moved to "The Golden Valley House", the Home was opened to our Halfway House boys. They love living there. They have so much room in the dorms and have a large garden to work in when they are not at school. They are good young men who want to gain skills so they can make their own living.
Our children are growing up and we have many more coming up the ranks who, in the next few years, will need a place to live while they are completing their training.
The laws for orphans in Zimbabwe require that they leave the orphanage when they are 18, but many of our children are not ready to live on their own at that age. Some of our older kids are reunited with extended family and we help them by paying for their training or education while they live with their families. Other kids don’t have any family or are unable to find their families; these are the ones we keep in our Halfway Houses.
When we move the older children to the Halfway Houses this gives us more room to help little ones. In the past 6 months we have received 3 new children. They are all living in houses at the Village. One is
committed to us and the remaining two are on Place of Safety. The new children remain on Place of Safety for 3 months giving Social Services an opportunity to find any remaining family who may be in a position to
take the child. If no one is found then the child is committed to us for three years. After three years their case is reexamined. If family members are found then they can be reunited with the families, if not, then they are recommitted to us for another three years.
After being open 12 years, many of our children have grown and moved on in their lives. We have given them the opportunity to have skills and find jobs, but most importantly we have introduced them to Christ. Many of our children remain faithful in attending church wherever their lives take them.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed one way or another to the work of the Orphanage in Chiredzi.
You have made a difference in many lives.
Leanna (Pemberton) Nesbitt