The Sunday News
BINGA — Deep in Binga’s Pashu area, is an orphanage that has transformed not only the lives of 18 vulnerable children housed there but dozens of households through development projects. Binga-born philanthropist Dr Jabulani Mudenda, an evangelist and founder of Hope Ministries Zimbabwe is the brains behind Hope Zimbabwe which founded Kabwe Children’s Home and is spearheading several community projects. The orphanage is located between Tinde and Kariangwe, about 106km from Binga Centre and about 33km off Binga-Cross Dete road. He works with his wife Zondiwe Mudenda. Journalist Bokani Mudimba (BM) had a one-on-one with Dr Mudenda (JM).
BM: Who exactly is Dr Mudenda?
JM: I was born in Binga and I am a pastor by calling belonging to the Baptist Church. I am the founder of Hope Ministries and Hope Foundation which gave birth to Kabwe Children’s Home. I am a family man married to Zondiwe, a partner in the projects where she provides motherly care to the orphanage. As a pastor, I have trained more than 5 000 church ministers and made more than 20 mission trips around the world.
BM: Take us through the development of the children’s home?
JM: Kabwe Children’s Home was founded in 2014. Its history however, dates back to 2001 when I was with Multi Ministries International, an interdenominational organisation of South Africa. Agrippa Dube who was administering Zimbabwe from South Africa then asked me to lead the Zimbabwe chapter as we hosted church conferences and retreats for pastors in Zimbabwe. In 2004 I became national director for Multi Ministries Zimbabwe.
When Dr Harold Beastly, leader of Multi Ministries in South Africa retired and moved to Canada, Steve Mann became the new director and the vision of the church changed as he decided to cut off the Zimbabwe office in 2013.
That’s how Hope Ministries Zimbabwe was born in 2014. As we continued with evangelism, we decided to add a social aspect to our work seeing that we were carrying the bible but orphans and widows had no means. We then registered Hope Zimbabwe as a social voluntary organisation with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and this gave birth to Kabwe Children’s Home located in Pashu area.
BM: Interesting developments, so what activities and projects is Hope Foundation doing, what is its vision?
JM: We have planted 27 churches under Baptist Church. As Hope Ministries, we have built many churches around Zimbabwe like Msuna Methodist Hwange, AFM in Kariba, and Baptist in Nketa (Bulawayo). We have distributed bicycles and study bibles to disadvantaged pastors in Bulawayo, Harare, Kadoma, Kariba, Masvingo Binga, Bubi, Esigodini, Gwanda, Mberengwa, Nkayi, Victoria Falls and Zvishavane.
We also aim to establish 1 000 churches countrywide and its work in progress. We separated church ministry from the social aspect and Hope Foundation has many projects that are ongoing, some for orphans and widows and others for pastors as well as the community in general.
BM: How many orphans and vulnerable children are housed at the home?
JM: We started with a capacity of eight orphans and we have increased to 24 who can be housed at the three houses that we have built. Currently we have 18 and one of them has reached 18 years, which at law means she should be released into the mainstream society. The law states that if we continue with an orphan after 18 years it’s of our own accord.
BM: So what has happened to the 18-year-old inmate?
JM: We have released her and she has secured a job at another orphanage as a caregiver. She was 16 when we took her in, she couldn’t read or write so she needed special education. Our caregivers have groomed her and she can do housekeeping.
BM: So what is the vision of the home?
JM: Our vision is not to keep the kids full time here but to give them shelter, love, care and education to prepare them for the future and if possible, reunite them with their families. The girl who is now 18 was from Nkayi and the Social Welfare department said her uncle vowed never to allow her back home hence we couldn’t take her back there. We have two boys aged 12 and 16 from Binga who we have reunited with their families.
The one from Kariangwe had fled to Zambia and the other from Gwangaliba had gone to Victoria Falls where they were living in the streets. When we took them in, we investigated their history with the help of Social Welfare and so we managed to track their families which is a success story. So as part of our vision, we educate these children and also ensure they have access to primary healthcare, which is why we are located near Pashu primary and secondary schools and clinics. They all go to school like everyone else and come back to the orphanage. One of them has never been to school and caregivers are helping him.
BM: Take us through how these children are raised and what values are imparted on them?
JM: The children are raised in a family setup. We have three houses and each has eight children and two caregivers who act as parents. Those children coming from the same family are not separated and that’s the first value of Ubuntu and family that we need to impart in them. We want them to know what family is so that when they are released they don’t face challenges. In total, we have four caregivers, a matron and a registered social worker.
BM: What projects are you doing in Pashu or Binga?
JM: Like it is said that the social aspect gave birth to the orphanage, we started by building a 150-seater church at the orphanage. The first orphanage house was built in 2016. We have built two guest houses, one for visitors doing community projects and another for staff. We are now constructing a pastors’ house.
BM: How many households have benefited from these projects?
JM: We have 47 families that have benefited from a goat project which we are using to change lives. We identified the needy households and gave them a goat each. The idea is that after three to five years we take back the seed goat and leave offsprings. We target widows over 60 years, orphans, child headed families without a breadwinner. We have a community garden called Mubola (last crops) being run by 24 vulnerable families mostly child headed families with no breadwinners and the orphanage is there as the 25th family. They are doing horticulture and supply vegetables to the community.
There are also about 15 villages around the orphanage that had no water because there are no sustainable boreholes in the area. So we connected a pipe to one of the homesteads and everyone gets piped clean water from there. We have extended the goat project to pastors who we give 10 goats each and after two years each returns five goats which we will seed to other pastors or widows as we continue with the cycle.
They will be keeping the offspring. A church in Kentucky has also donated 53 bicycles which we will be distributing to pastors shortly. The orphanage has also bought a grinding mill which is also helping the community. We buy diesel and members of the community grind their grain but we don’t charge them money, instead we take 3kg from their 25kg but those above 60 years of age grind for free. We realised people have no money and that becomes grain for the orphanage.
BM: From these projects, do you think
you are making an impact on the community and was there any prior research done to establish if these are the needs of the people?
JM: Without blowing our own trumpet, the organisation has made a difference. The goats are meant to change lives and with all these projects people can now pay school fees, buy food and do other things. We train them in farming and we have partnered with Agritex for that. Our mission is just to help the needy in the community. We also take students on attachment and employ security and general hands workers. We are also building a multi-purpose hall for conferences and meetings as we want to be helpful to the community so that development partners who work in our area can have accommodation nearby and spend time working than travelling to Binga centre of Hwange for accommodation.
BM: Any challenges that you are facing?
JM: Our biggest challenge is food for day to day running. Kabwe Children’s Home was founded with prayer and we trust the Lord because every month there is a budget but God has been providing. I travel around the world to preach and we are mainly supported by friends and well-wishers. We get groceries from well-wishers and some companies such as National Foods who gave us groceries as part of their centenary celebrations. Empty the Orphanage, an organisation from Harare supports us on a monthly basis and also helps with building material.
BM: Hope Zimbabwe, or Kabwe Children’s Home in the outlook, where do you see yourself in future?
JM: Our dream is to have a skills centre. We want to build blocks of classrooms for skills training, especially for school drop-outs where they can do carpentry, electrical work, plumbing and agriculture, among other skills. An organisation called Tools with a Mission has donated equipment for agriculture, plumbing and sewing and we are waiting for the consignment to come.
BM: What are Hope Ministries and Kabwe Children’s Home link with the government?
JM: As a church-cum-charitable organisation, Hope Ministries and Hope Foundation are registered as private voluntary organisations and Chief Pashu is our patron. The orphanage is registered under the Department of Social Welfare and we work with the government in implementing programmes and goals.- The Citizen Bulletin