The Khayelihle Childrens Village located on the outskirts of Zimbabwe’s second largest city Bulawayo, currently accommodates 48 children in five houses on a 270 acre property. While most of the children come from an abandoned background, a major contributor to the number of orphans is the HIV/AIDS pandemic where one in five people in Zimbabwe are HIV positive.
Each orphan has multiple sponsors in a program that spans New Zealand, Australia and the United States. But there is a desire to progress toward self sufficiency and the establishment of a dairy farm is part of that quest. At present, 19 cows are being milked producing milk for the orphans with the surplus being sold to raise money for the daily needs of the orphanage.
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Tawanda & Amanda Sibanda and family
My name is Tawanda Sibanda and I was born on the 3rd of July 1981 at Pelandaba Clinic in Bulawayo; last born in a family of six. I grew up in a poor family life. I started school attending a night school then got accepted into the regular system at the same school (Mpumelelo Primary) after acquiring a birth certificate at grade 5.
Growing up moved to Mpopoma High but barely finished form one as I lost my mother in mid July 1996. Life turned even harder as I had grown up knowing only my mother as my sole support and despite having relatives I turned to the streets since they would not support me. Fortunately I had a place to call home and never slept in the street. I only walked the parks picking leftover food and searching for lost change.
However my Sister Esirida knew about KCV through her Pastor. She spoke to him about me and they spoke to the Reymans who called for her to bring me in for an interview in November 1996. I was then accepted into KCV and officially moved into the home in December 1996.
Here is where my new life began. I got to know about God and gave my life to Jesus in Feb 1997. I found a home, family and friends in KCV as my life turned around. This is when The LORD began to redirect me towards his call. I became a Sunday school teacher and joined in the music team at Collenbrander Church of Christ which was the Children’s Home church.
I fell in love with the ministry and never looked back. In April 2003 I went back to Bulawayo and became Assistant Pastor for a short while, then became the Senior Pastor at Collenbrander Church of Christ despite my youth. I served there for 6 years, during this period I was part of the National youth as a National Pastor. In 2005 I met my wife at a National youth Conference and got married in Sept 2006. We then moved to Gweru in 2008 to Windsor Park Church of Christ where I am still serving. We have since been blessed with two boys Emmanuel and Nathaniel. In Gweru I have seen the power of the Lord moving in my life and His church like never before. I have been involved in a number of organizations taking key leading positions some which would be led by far more Highly educated people than me. Eg. Am currently the Chairman of Christian Care Midlands since 2011 a position that only the Grace of God led me to. Also I am running the office of Midlands Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Council of Churches. Recently I was asked to join the advisory board of our local Poly Tech College just to cite a few.
My life is a full testimony of the Grace, Love, Mercy and Favour of the Most High.
Petros Masikati was born on the 12th of June 1995 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Raised by a single mother and his two siblings before he was taken to Khayelihle Children’s Village (KCV). Growing up he faced many challenges both at home and school and this taught him to be brave and courageous. This is his story.
All my memories with both my parents before they divorced are filled with hatred and anger for my father. My father was an abusive father. Some times my mother would sleep in the streets chased out by my father or sometimes she would sleep at the police station because my father would swear that he would kill her if the police did not take her in just for her safety. All I can say is my mother was a strong woman because through it all she stood by our side day and night and fought for our freedom because some days our father would chase us all out of the house and we would sleep either at the police station or at our neighbours house. It hurts when I think of my childhood memories. Tears drop down my cheeks when I get to think of the horror life we lived. At the age of 8 my parents divorced. My father found another wife and he left us under the care of our mother. My mother fell sick when father left us and it was left our responsibility to take care of our little sister and our mother. I was 8 and my older sister was 11 when we were left on our own to face the situation that was before us. My mother fell very ill she was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), measles and she had a stroke that affected the whole left side of her body. We had no medical aid assistance and she could only lie lifeless on the bed. We could not take her to the hospital because we could not even afford the cheapest hospital in town.
It was left in our hands to take care of the family. My little sister was only 4 years by then. This is how we lived our childhood. We had to come early after school that is we were walking 5km every morning to school and had to walk 5km from school in the afternoon. Soon after school we had to rush home and change our uniforms and go buy vegetables in the outskirts of the town. We had to walk about another 4 km from home to the farms where we were buying vegetables to go and sell at the market. We would buy about 100 bunches of vegetables and go home and pack them in bundles. This would take us the whole afternoon to prepare. About 5pm we would be done with the vegetables so we had to go to the forest to fetch firewood for preparing super. We then ate our evening meals around 7 after we had cooked for our mother and little sister we had to feed the mother and make sure our little sister had her fill as well. By 7:30pm we had to light the candle and do our homework that we had brought from school. 8 o’clock we had to sleep so that we woke up on time to go to the market. At midnight we had to wake up and go to the bus stop. There was a man who was my mother’s friend he was a security guard in town so his shifts would start at 3am. That man had a car so he would pass through the bus stop picking us up and offer us free transport to town. His routine was never stable so we had to be at the bus stop as early as possible because if we missed him we would have made a loss of 100 bunches of vegetables on that day. Another challenge we had is that by that time there were very few cars in Zimbabwe and if we miss that car we won’t find another car to take us to the market on time because taxi buses do not work at that time of the day. By 3am people would have started buying and by 5am people would have finished selling for the day and you will be left with no one to buy your vegetables. By 5.30am we would go to the taxi rank to get taxis to go back home and we would pass by the fruit market to pick up those fruits that markets throw away because they are about to decay or have decayed. We would pick those up, carry them home and some carry as food for breakfast. For a season we survived from picking up food in the dust bins at market places because the money we would make from the vegetables was for buying pills for our mother and buy cooking oil, mealie meal and salt. As I can remember my life from grade 1 till grade 5 when I was taken to Khayelihle Children’s home (KCV) I never wore shoes or had school socks at school. At home life was not easy. We got kicked out from the house we were staying since father left and mother is sick and we could not afford to pay rentals and bills. We then moved to squatter camp and we built our shanty house there. That is the kind of life style we had before we moved to kcv. Life was difficult to the extent that we were sleeping on a single bed me my mother and my two sisters. And the place we called home was a single room that was once a toilet at the horse stalls for white people during Rhodesian time. So the place was left abandoned and we had to convert that place to our home, no electricity no water and sanitation was really bad.
At the age of 11 my mother passed away All our relatives disappeared after the funeral and we stayed as a child headed family for two weeks. One of the teachers saw that we were very talented children and communicated to one of the leaders at Khayelihle children’s Village. When we arrived at KCV it was like a dream heaven on earth I tell you. We never watched television until at KCV. Life became better and that’s when I started having time to play with other children. Growing up I hated sports and this was because I never had chance to practice sports at school and it will hurt when I see other children going for sports competition because during time for sports me and my sister we had to go to the farms and search for vegetables. I was given a new uniform and school shoes I remember how I cried when I was given a full uniform at KCV with a satchel. I was packed a lunchbox full of food for school with a bottle drink with juice inside. That to me was God answering my prayers. There was a small commuter bus that would ferry us every day to and from school and I never walked to school ever since that day. For once I felt like a child and at the same time I felt awkward because I had everything I had. My life totally changed believe me. Had it not been for KCV I don’t know maybe I could have been a street kid by now. Had it not been for the sponsors and donors who are reading this testimony today my life would have been a mess.
Currently Petros Masikati graduated with a BSC in Psychology at Midlands State University (MSU) in Gweru, Zimbabwe and is working as a laborer in South Africa. I left Zimbabwe two months ago that is in May in search for greener pastures. I am working as a laborer in a construction company in South Africa. This is because the political and economic situation back in Zimbabwe is not conducive. I am working so as to raise money to get a work permit in South Africa so that I can be properly employed and work towards furthering my education. Another reason that made me come to South Africa was because I was over age staying at kcv so we had to leave as a family since we are all over 18 years. We were staying in a local suburb in Bulawayo and paying rentals was now hard since me and my sister we were left with the responsibility to take care of our little sister and ourselves. My sister got retrenched from work in January and we were both jobless now so I had to come to South Africa and find any job just to get us going as a family. My wish is to further my education and do my Masters degree in counseling. I believe I have a calling to talk and help others facing challenges in their lives and their relationships. I thank you all for your continued support towards our family and kcv and all other institutions like kcv. May God bless you all and the blessings may they overflow not only in your families but May you become a blessing to the world just as you did to myself and family. Today I am a graduate because of you. Thank you all. God bless.
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