The vision of caring for destitute children was birthed in the early 80’s as the nation began to face financial hardships, the effects of the breakdown of the traditional extended family structure and what became known as urban drift (the migration of rural folk into the cities). This urban drift pressurized many women to begin to abandon their babies.
We also experienced the first wave of deaths caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic that would later ravage the adult population of the nation, as between one in 4 or 5 of the entire population was eventually diagnosed with the disease.
It was during this time that we formed the social outreach arm of the church, Compassion Ministries.
Compassion Ministries carried out relief work with the refugees pouring across the border from Mozambique as well as resettling hundreds of destitute, who had been living on the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city.
As Compassion Ministries began its work with orphans, the “orphanage model” was the accepted national prototype and was deemed the most cost-effective way to address the problem, which was now at epidemic proportions.
We built dormitory-styled homes in a rural, farm setting, with education facilities on the farm and a high school within walking distance—by African standards. With the care of the church and a generous farmer who donated the land, we have seen a whole crew of children grow up and enter into meaningful lives in the mainstream of society.
As world agencies began to do research and studies, different and better models of orphan care were introduced to government, and to all of those who had engaged in care of the children.
This culminated in laws and regulations being passed by the Government of Zimbabwe known as the National Minimum Child Residential Care Standards five-year policy framework. This is a prerequisite for all children's homes and orphanages to shift to cluster homes.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Services (MoLSS) through the Children’s Act 5:06 “…has the statutory mandate to place children found in need of care into places of safety, which serves as temporal homes for them, where children can access basic services.” The MoLSS extends to the registering and monitoring of all residential care institutions in Zimbabwe for compliance with regulations regarding child protection and development while in institutions.