Over 60 women gathered June 4 in the backyard of Fort Langley’s Tracycakes Bakery Cafe to find out how they could support Zimbabwe’s women and children. The goal of the event was to raise funds for Hear Africa’s Women Empowerment Fund and to assist families caring for orphans.
Both women and children face tremendous hardships in Zimbabwe: women account for 60 percent of country’s 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS while there are well over 1 million orphans.
Winnie Zimbiti, a Canadian who grew up in Zimbabwe, shared her personal story of reaching out to others. Zimbiti, talked about how her father always encouraged his 11 children to ‘do their part’ in assisting others, wherever and whenever they could. She displayed an old frying pan that had been given to her when she moved to Canada, a reminder, she says, that no matter how small, an act of giving can be meaningful and helpful to someone.
Zimbiti and her niece Lorraine also gave the women insight into how Zimbabweans view extended family. Aunts and uncles are seen as parents while cousins are akin to siblings. Lorraine spoke about an episode she experienced at school: she saw that someone whom she had assumed to be her brother had a different surname to hers. When she inquired about it she was informed that he was her cousin, not her brother! Within this context family is expected to look after orphans if parents pass away. The sad reality is that many families are being overwhelmed by the sheer number of orphans in the country and are struggling to take care of them.
The event raised $5,670. Watch a Hear Africa video detailing the plight of three Zimbabwean women: