The Matthew Rusike Organisation in the Community (MRO) is the national flagship for childcare in Zimbabwe, through the Methodist Church. Resource centres are being developed across the country, in urban and rural districts, where vulnerable children can be cared for for up to 2 weeks while families are traced and encouraged to foster them; child carers can safely leave their preschool siblings so they can continue attending school; grandparents can get help and support in caring for their grandchildren orphaned by AIDs and local volunteers provide loving care, hot meals and help with homework. Each centre aims to supplement their food by developing their own garden and poultry project. Through these centres around 1,000 vulnerable children are reached and supported in someway. Each of the current CRCs, some of which are still being built, are marked on the map above.
It is the Department of Social Welfare’s duty to ensure these children have valid court orders. At the moment only 9 out of 94 children have valid court orders. Hence the Home only receives ££180 each month from the Government to support those 9.
MRCH staff continue to deliver training workshops within Harare support centres and across 4 Districts of Zimbabwe. These teach the importance of childcare and child protection and raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable children in their local communities. These have resulted in an increase in people wanting to foster children during the school holidays and requests to adopt children have risen significantly. Awareness has also been raised of the practical needs at residential MRCH and donations in kind have also risen. Obviously workshops cost extra money and ideally staff would like to be able to introduce workshops to the other 4 districts they are unable to cover due to lack of funds. The kind of costs incurred are transport to get staff to outlying areas or for delegates to attend MRCH. Also meals have to be provided over the few days of training. This work is essential in raising awareness among people about the needs of vulnerable children within their own communities.