Honoring Pippa Henderson
Phillipa “Pippa” Henderson, the founding director of Tsungirirai Orphan Care Center, passed away on July 1, 2010 after a long battle with cancer. Pippa was the heart and soul of Tsungirirai, known to children simply as “Gogo” (the Shona word for “grandmother”). Even after her retirement, she played a crucial role in supporting the children and staff of Tsungirirai. The week before her death, Pippa was sending emails to donors and advocating for funding to keep the agency afloat. A memorial service was held at the center. Excerpts from the children’s speeches are below.
Our hearts are filled with sorrow as we know we will no longer see Gogo, Indeed you did not only say you loved us, but you showed that you loved us. Gogo, you were like our own mum. When we lost our parents, you became our parent. When we were naked you clothed us. When we were hungry you fed us. When we were not going to school you sent us to school. There is no greater love than this. We will always remember your smiling face and we thank God for your life because you were like an angel that was sent to heal the broken hearts of widows and orphans in Norton and Mhondoro.
The gap we feel in our lives is a wound which no medication can heal. We, however, thank God for your life. You always taught us to pray in difficult moments. We are now praying for God to come and heal the pain that is in our souls. We will cherish the good memories that we have of you. They are locked in our hearts. We will never forget your courage and hope. We will continue to feel your love even in your absence because of Tsungirirai. It is because of you and your wonderful work that we live.
Thoughts from Arden
We owe much of the agency’s culture to its founder, Pippa Henderson. When Pippa opened Tsungirirai almost 20 years ago, all she had was a generosity of spirit and a strong dose of never give up. Pippa believed in the children. She held everyone to high standards in the most loving way possible. She wouldn’t tolerate laziness or self pity from anyone. Pippa inspired others to give and work, not for money, but because it was the right thing to do. This mentality is still present today. The agency suffered a huge loss when Pippa lost her battle to cancer this year, but her generous spirit lives on through the children and staff of Tsungirirai.
In Pippa’s honor, and with the generosity of our donors, we pledge our continued support to Tsungirirai and all that it means to people around the world.