During subsequent visits to Zimbabwe in 2003 and 2005, the Khumalo’s saw that the need to help was greater still. It is against this backdrop of immense poverty and deprivation and the soaring number of children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic that Champion Dream Builders was born.
Why Champion Dream Builders?
Issues Facing children in Zimbabwe
- According to a 2008 UNICEF report, Zimbabwe is estimated to have 1.4 million orphans.
- UNICEF also estimates that 130,000 children in Zimbabwe will lose one or both parents.
- Per capita, Zimbabwe has more orphans than any country in the world, and school enrollment is falling.
- More than 70 children are orphaned everyday in Zimbabwe. Many just don’t cope and things get harder every day.
- 90% of the country’s orphans are cared for by extended family and many of them cannot keep the children in school.
- The Aids pandemic has decimated the population. Life expectancy is 38 years for males and 32 for females.
- Public school fees and other ever increasing government surcharges have begun to exceed the monthly incomes of urban families.
- School enrollment continues to decline because education is now out of reach for most children.
- Zimbabwe has the fastest shrinking economy in the world with annual inflation of more than 11,000,000%. Unemployment levels are above 80%.
- Forced mass evictions in the cities left more than 150,000 children homeless.
- An estimated 3 million people have fled into neighboring South Africa and Botswana leaving struggling families and children behind.
Thousands of citizens are struggling to cope with the combined effects of hyperinflation, economic meltdown, food shortages, fuel shortages, power cuts, water cuts, and the breakdown of education and health services.
A substantial number of these children find themselves heads of households, having to fend for themselves and care for their siblings. Faced with extreme poverty, many are forced to drop out of school. Even those lucky enough to be taken in by relatives often find that education is still out of reach. Without access to schooling, many children are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and crime. Without intervention, most end up picking garbage in the streets.
These children desperately need our help and their needs are not much. All they ask for is the opportunity to get an education that will allow them to better their lives and empower them to reach their full potential. This is where Champion Dream Builders comes in. CDB strives not only to lend these children a hand in getting an education but also provides a supportive and nurturing environment that allows them to visualize a brighter future for themselves. The greatest gift we at CDB can give these children is the chance for them to discover their hidden talent and potential, the ability to hope and dream and the capacity to make a meaningful contribution to Zimbabwe’s future.