A soup kitchen, a community library, and economic empowerment for local women, are just three of the successful initiatives shared with Anglican Alliance staff member Christina Manning, who visited the groups as part of the evaluation of the pilot schemes.
Rev Dean Farai Mutamiri, Fr Joshua Musiyambiri, Rev Naboth Mazongo and Rev Masango Warakula all studied the programme together, and have worked on reviving the Cathedral’s soup kitchen, which serves lunch every day to those living on the streets of Harare.
Every day the kitchen serves over 60 men, women and children who would otherwise be without a hot meal. The project even has its own volunteer director, Wilberforce Kurevakwesu, who is an Anglican currently studying at the local University. Wilberforce is using this experience to complement his degree in social work.
One of the regulars at the kitchen, Bruce, along with many others, have thanked the project leaders and the director Wilberforce, for their work and support of those in need in their community. Counselling and pastoral care is also given to those who want it, and relationships are being built between the church and the homeless in Harare.
To encourage the growth of the project and ensure it remains sustainable, the student group are now working together to launch organic gardens, with a goal to engage the homeless people they serve and teach them how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
And Rev Tambaogwa Mangengwa spoke about his group’s project to empower the women in their community, and teach them how to raise chickens. The breed of chickens they have chosen are ‘roadrunners’, which are known to roam freely and find their own food, and therefore require less resource.
Local women are overjoyed at the speed with which the chickens have provided them with a source of income – eggs! And the empowering project has attracted women from outside the church to get involved and start their own enterprises.
The four groups of students shared their experience of the programme and the challenges they have faced with the Alliance in an evaluation session at the Cathedral.
Canon Blessing Shambare, who has been studying with another of the groups, said, “The programme has really been an eye-opener for me, and has changed how I view the community and the resources we have. I can now see how we can challenge poverty ourselves.”
All of the students agreed that their experience had been an eye-opening one, and that the consultation and inclusion of their local community in their projects had transformed the way they worked, and encouraged relationship and unity within the church as well as with the community.
New students in the Diocese are already eager to sign up for the new ‘Agents of Change’ launches and are looking to get involved with the programme next year.
In the picture: The soup kitchen runs daily at St Mary’s and All Saints Cathedral in Harare, Zimbabwe