Health, Education, Literacy Programme (H.E.L.P.) Zimbabwe is a charitable organisation registered in Zimbabwe. H.E.L.P. Zimbabwe works closely with its sister charities, but is independent of them, having its own constititution, aims and objectives.
Operates in Zimbabwe only as a registered Children's Charity concerned mainly with the welfare and education of disadvantaged children. Wholly funded by members and well-wishers in different countries. The Charity strictly adheres to the International guidelines on the protection of children, and works closely with other charities in that respect.
Health, Education, Literacy Programme (H.E.L.P.) Zimbabwe has no political or religious affiliations of any description, has never been affiliated to any political or religious organisation, has no intention of affiliating itself with any political or religious organisation in the fiture. The Charity is only interested in the welfare of children and welcomes anyone with same, a skill to offer for use in welfare, or a sense of adventure.
In 1992 Asher C Mupasi, then living in the United Kingdom, visited Zimbabwe and his former Marongere Primary School, 12 km south of Chatsworth. The community around the school had just finished a much needed secondary school in the grounds adjacent to the primary school. Although this was the only secondary school for a distance of 20 km in any direction, (and was therefore oversubscribed) there was a chronic shortage of reading materials of any description. Having met the desperate then head-teacher, Mrs Mabiza, and staff, many working as volunteers awaiting appointment approval by the Education Authority in Masvingo, Mr. Mupasi promised to help source books.
In the United Kingdom, many school libraries throw away their collections of books annually. Many of these books are in very good condition. It was not difficult to get the unwanted books and ship them to Makomba Secondary School and other needy school. Makomba now boasts the first school library within 60 km radius of itself, and had up to nine tonnes of a wide variety of books. The project was called the ”Books to Africa Project”. Many individuals, church groups, schools, environmentalists, Education Authorities, and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education, took an interest in the project and, although there were more books than shipping money, the project made good progress. In 1995 the school started to experience problems due to the loss of young parents through AIDS. This left many children orphaned and unable to afford the fees required at every secondary school in Zimbabwe. The school staff were asking for help and support from every source as they struggled to help the children, some of whom would arrive at school having had nothing to eat for long periods of time. Many had to walk to school from their homes of up to 15 km. The fees required were under USD 20 per child per year. Mr Mupasi and friends fund raised to offer support to some of the most affected children. The project was called the Student Support Fund. The children were carefully vetted by a staff and school board committee, to identify the most needy children and as many as could be afforded had their fees paid each year. On average 20-40 children were supported from 1995. By 2000 it had become clear that the most affected children, many of whom had lost both parents and were living with elderly grand parents, had themselves taken over the responsibility of parenthood and were looking after their siblings and their grandparents, as well as going to school. The Student Support Fund decided to include the purchase of school uniforms in its support. The school were providing high protein drinks under the government programmes. However, the children were left to their own devices during weekends and some went without adequate food supplies. The number of orphans in the area and in Zimbabwe was increasing rapidly each year. It soon became clear that some of the children could not be supported without providing them with accommodation. By 2001, some of the orphans who had been supported were in higher education. By 2002 at least 27 of these were studying at universities and colleges in the USA, RSA, UK, Australia, etc. The Student Support Fund was by then known to the United Kingdom Immigration Department as looking after the welfare of the registered students. Many of these students remain members of the fund and contributed to its funding when they could afford it.
The political unrest in Zimbabwe since 2000 reduced the enthusiasm of the Fund members and funding was adversely affected even though the need increased. In 2004 the Student Support Fund merged with HELP India, a charitable group doing similar work in India, to form H.E.L.P. International, and registered the new Charity in the UK, with projects in both India and Zimbabwe. At that time, there were 48 supported orphans in and around Chatsworth.
The application to register H.E.L.P. Zimbabwe as a charitable entity was made in 2004 but the registration was granted in 2005. In the meantime, the Gutu Rural Council agreed to register two adjacent plots at Chatsworth for the construction of a children's home comprising two normal houses, designed to fit in the community.
Construction in currently under way and on schedule to be completed in 2007. The facility will house up to 18 orphans from the local area. In Bulawayo the charity has an active interest in a children's home housing 12 children, three of which are HIV positive and are periodically ill. Funding remains a challenge, but the number of our contributory members is steadily increasing again.
Providing care for destitute or disadvantaged children through formal schooling and acquisition of necessary life skills.
The charity believes that a good education prepares young individuals for greater things in life, and is a tried and tested passport out of poverty and isolation. To that end, enabling all children to attend school as regularly as possible is paramount. The charity's volunteers visit the children where they are and give any assistance required. Their school fees are paid directly to the schools. The uniforms are paid for directly to the shops. The charity actively works to avoid the dependency of able bodied individuals or families on handouts, by encouraging the family to looking after any of the supported children, to engage in income generating projects locally.
The charity also provides adults with life skills that empower them to increase their self sufficiency within their communities, thus reducing their migration into cities where their plight invariably gets worse. One side effect of adult improvement is better child welfare, a principle on which the charity was initially created.
Health, Education, Literacy Programme (H.E.L.P.) Zimbabwe is funded by well wishers and members. H.E.L.P. Zimbabwe has no part time or full time paid staff. It relies on volunteers, who mostly have a strong interest in the welfare of others. All of the funds donated are used for the projects specified by the donnor. The charity has no paid employees.