Who We Are
In 1996, the idea to establish an orphan care project in Natisa Matopo, a southern province of Zimbabwe, was brought forward by a group of local people in this community. With their families torn apart by HIV/AIDS, poverty, unemployment and inflation, the Natisa people wished not for an orphanage but instead looked for a way in which orphans and grief stricken families could be brought together. Sethule Trust was invited by the local community to work with them to bring practical expression to this vision, which has rapidly been appropriated by the rural community of Natisa since 2004.
In 2005 Sethule Orphans’ Trust was established in Natisa Matopo, 70 km from Bulawayo. The Trust aims to integrate orphans into families. Furthermore, it focuses on orphan care and bereavement counselling programmes in some of the poorest rural communities of Matabeleland.
Sethule Orphans’ Trust was established in Natisa Matopo, 70 km from Bulawayo
The food crisis in Zimbabwe, made worse by recent droughts, continues to be a great challenge to local communities. Sethule, in partnership with other organisations, is able to provide a feeding centre for orphans and poverty-stricken children under 5years old.
In accordance with the local community’s needs, Sethule Trust set up pre-schools for orphans and local children, adult literacy classes, bereavement counselling programmes as well as a self-help garden project to feed the orphans and create self-sustainability. Birth Certificates are actively sought for all orphans. Workshops on Positive Parenting, Conflict Resolution, Career Guidance, Politics & Religion, and Traditions; Self-help courses on Bee-keeping, Knitting, and Poultry management; Youth Programmes on Sexual Awareness (REACT), and HIV Awareness (Dare to be Different); Sports & Games Vacation Competitions (ATTIC), and Drama Presentations, are also regularly conducted.
Sethule Trust is dedicated to helping the rural communities, and does not discriminate on religious, ethnic, or tribal backgrounds. The pilot orphans care project was duplicated to other surrounding rural communities, namely Tsholotsho and Hope Fountain. The Sethule Orphan projects have been introduced to other communities, who are encouraged to manage on their own, and demonstrate self-sustainability.
Why Rural Zimbabwe?
Typical Rural Home
The acute humanitarian crisis of 2009 left almost half of Zimbabwe’s population (5.5 million people) unable to feed their families and reliant on food aid to survive.
Over recent years, the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has somewhat improved. Despite this, problems of food security (due to recent droughts) and outbreaks of cholera still pose a constant challenge to the Zimbabwean people. The cost of living compared to wage income in Zimbabwe keeps on rising.
Childhood is unfortunately a time of struggle and hardship for many Zimbabwean children. This is reflected in the rise in cases of child-headed families.
Sethule Orphans Trust
Sethule Orphans Trust was founded in 2005 when a rapidly increasing number of disadvantaged orphans was noticed especially in the poorest rural communities of Western Zimbabwe. Together with the effects of emigration, economic collapse and HIV/AIDS, the result was the almost total breakdown of traditional African rural life. The impact of such social disintegration was most felt by the large numbers of orphans suddenly having nowhere to stay and no-one to look after them.
The principal solution to the orphan crisis was to link bereaved homeless orphans with foster parents who had themselves lost their offspring. This idea has been enthusiastically adopted and the project thus embodied by Sethule is one that is eagerly sought after by other communities close by, and will ultimately be adopted further afield. Sethule is a genuinely indigenous Trust which is locally run and inspired.
Programmes are truly driven by the community itself, and local leaders regularly meet the Sethule project director and board to ascertain their own conception of their needs, and work out how those needs could be best met.