Transforming the life of a widow
By SIM Australia Team | Zimbabwe in Southern Africa
Photo by SIM Australia
In 2004, Sharon’s husband passed away when she was six months pregnant with her second child. Sharon was heartbroken over the death of her husband and, while she grieved, she worried about how she would provide for her child and the unborn baby. She became the poorest in her family and felt like less than a servant in her husband’s large extended family.
Then Sharon heard about Operation Neighbour Care (ONC). Under the banner of SIMaid – SIM Australia’s aid and development arm – this Hope for Life project supports holistic care for adults and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS in rural Zimbabwe by training church volunteer carers to care for sick and vulnerable children. ONC also runs a programme to empower widows and single mothers through microenterprises.
When Sharon attended the programme, she was surprised to see widows younger than her who were confident and hopeful about the future. She also noticed the older widows who were achieving great things for their children and she was greatly inspired.
In 2016, Sharon had the opportunity to attend a conference for the group with lessons on health, homemaking, raising children as a single parent, grief processing, trauma healing and entrepreneurship. She appreciated not only the training, but also the music, games, sharing of personal stories, laughter and encouragement.
Sharon went home from the conference and started a poultry project. The widows in her group helped her establish connections in the market and she made a good profit. The success motivated her to continue raising chickens and the business enabled her to send her children to school. Praise God that Sharon was able to continue to pay school fees for both of her sons. Her sons also caught their mother’s work ethic. Both of her sons finished school and the eldest is now working. Her youngest is still at home as he is helping his mother with the farming and her projects. The family now have a large garden project which supplies fresh vegetables to all local supermarkets in Gokwe as well as the local farmer’s market. They use a solar pump to water the large garden.
Now 47 years old, Sharon is Operation Neighbour Care’s champion farmer in the group that demonstrates conservation farming. She is the group leader and does quality control for the programme. Sharon’s extended family is proud of her leadership in the community and always gives her a prominent position in the family. The widow’s group is growing and Sharon’s family lives with true joy. Sharon shared, “I have gained dignity, honour, wealth and influence from working with ONC but the best thing I’ve received is that I got Jesus in my life, and I have hope with a capital H.”
•Thank God for the dignity honour and hope that Sharon has found through Operation Neighbour Care.
•Ask that the people of Gokwe would continue to see decreasing HIV transmission rates in their community, greater food and nutrition security, and more successful income generating activities and micro-enterprises.
•Ask that God would continue to provide volunteers and financial resources for this life-changing work.
To support the work of Hope for Life’s Operation Neighbour Care, please click here to find your closest donation office and mark your gift Hope for Life - Zimbabwe - Project Code: 90209