Astonishment Mapurisa has been the director of the Matthew Rusike Children’s Home for 11 years and National Director for Childcare in the Methodist Church for 4 years. In that time he has changed the old dormitory lifestyle and introduced family groups.
Finding funding to build 6 new family group homes and refurbish and change the use of the boys and girls dormitories has been a huge task which he achieved. Funds were also found to extend the old crèche building into the Early Childhood Development Centre as it is today.
A large part of his work has involved spreading the MRCH influence into many communities in the Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru districts. This involved using Methodist church buildings in the cities as centres where vulnerable children and families could receive support. Pre-school children can be safely cared for and fed while their older siblings attend school. After school the children have someone to help with homework and also receive a hot meal. Some of these centres now grow food and rear chickens to improve the diet of very vulnerable families. All are run by church volunteers.
In rural areas, local volunteers from the Methodist churches were taught to make bricks, dig foundations and build resource centres where a child can be cared for until family members are traced (maximum stay 2 weeks). Wells have been dug and outdoor kitchens built to make the sites work well. These centres have been built within a radius of 15k of villages and are near enough to schools for children to attend daily.
The Friends of MRCH sponsored Astonishment to visit the UK 3 times. Each time he had a very busy itinerary arranged for him to meet and speak to as many supporters as possible. He greatly impressed everyone he met with his dedication and love for the children in his care. His presence inspired many people to make generous donations to FoMRCH.
He was sponsored once by the Uniting Church to visit Australia where he was able to make some excellent contacts which brought even more support for MRCH.
It has been very good to have personal contact with Astonishment and very helpful to be able to tell our supporters that we know, first hand, exactly where their money is going to help the children.
Thanks to Astonishment’s guidance and friendship, the Friends have enjoyed 11 years of cooperation for the benefit of the children of Zimbabwe as we have supported his inspired leadership and vision of growth. We shall miss him greatly and wish him well in his new placement.