Coalition for Courage has a strong relationship with Tsungirirai (pronounced sung-ee-ree-I). Together, our two organizations provide basic nutritional, educational, medical and psycho-social support to close to 250 orphans.
Children on Tsungirirai’s roster have lost one or both parents, usually to HIV, but they live with extended family members in the community. They are provided daily lunch and a place to play at Tsungirirai. We have a library that is stocked with copies of all their school textbooks, plus hundreds of picture books and novels. There is an on site preschool and we provide tutoring Monday – Thursday afternoons for the older children.
Tsungirirai is a fenced in agency in the middle of a very poor suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe. It is an NGO (nongovernmental organization) that was started by Pippa Henderson in the early 1990s. The current director is Mr. John Ncube, an intelligent and generous man who has much experience helping agencies rebuild after hard times.
Tsungirirai has a basic clinic. Offices support a training team that does HIV/AIDS education in the community. Voluntary HIV testing and counseling are provided to adults, support groups meet, and occasionally income-generating projects are run.
Comments from Arden
It was ten years ago this month that I first heard the word Tsungirirai. A Shona word that means “to persevere and have courage,” Tsungirirai has done just that. As we have watched the inflation rise and the country fall, we have seen the agency persist through periods of hunger, cholera, and political unrest. Although many agencies have not survived, true to its name, Tsungirirai has persevered. Much of this has been due to the dedication of staff, volunteers and our donors.
Recently we were told that several key grants have ended and new donors have not yet been found. Tsungirirai is being forced to downsize. Although many of the C4C programs will not be directly affected, the staff will need to be reduced. This is heartbreaking to us. These dedicated workers form the backbone of the agency and serve as parental figures for the children. We were informed that salaries stopped 3 months ago, but that the staff have still shown up every day to serve the children. What is it about this place, these children, that inspires such dedication?
For me it is the sheer intensity that the children have in their desire to succeed. Despite (or because of) horrendous life circumstances, they want to be more; it is compelling and contagious. I will never forget the look in Tendai’s eyes when he said, “Put me in boarding school and I will be at the top of my class.” This was not a plea, it was a fact. And I took it as a personal mandate. Maybe my reaction comes from some deep rooted belief in the American Dream, but it seems to me that anyone who wants something so badly deserves a chance. If, by providing education, safety and hope, I might change someone’s life…well that’s money well spent.