Friends of Hlekweni – FoH
We are a small charity, founded by Quakers, working primarily in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, since 2007 (and before that via Quakers in Milton Keynes, Britain, for the Hlekweni Training Centre). FoH is supported by Quakers in Britain, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium.
We support four primary schools in peri-urban Bulawayo, feeding about 2,000 children, providing furniture, textbooks and other infrastructure and resource support. We also provide the Zimbabwe Secondary Bursary Scheme for gifted, needy children, and peacebuilding activities – primarily Peace Clubs in 20 schools, and Alternative to Violence workshops.
We work closely with Quakers in Bulawayo and Harare as well as long-standing trusted partners in schools and with others, including the Theological College of Zimbabwe, Mennonites and Methodists.
Even before Covid, the context was grim. The World Food Organisation estimated half the population would need food-aid due to years of drought on top of financial insecurity, very high unemployment and patchy infrastructure. Since the beginning of Covid, most of our projects have been ‘on hold’ but we are working closely with our agents and headteachers, to see how best to continue supporting the needs thrown up by lockdown, ongoing drought and hunger. We have provided small cash grants and food packages for about 50 families and individuals, 7,000 masks (sewn locally), and given a grant of $1,000 per school, to help with PPE when they re-open.
Urgent needs we will try to meet are : food aid, basic sanitation supplies i.e. soap, masks, water containers, re-usable sanitary pads, technology support for headteachers & secondary school students.
We will use £1,000 for 225 sets of re-usable sanitary pads – these would be made and distributed to girls in schools. Each set consists of 5 pads plus a holder, a pair of pants and a bar of soap. Instruction for use is also provided. [FoH has funded about 250 sets each year for the last two years. Without sanitary protection, girls are unable to go to school or participate in their communities – it’s a matter of basic dignity.]
We will use £1,000 for a travel fund for Primary School teachers. Many teachers live some distance from their schools. The price of (fairly) safe travel has escalated whilest teacher salaries have been cut (75USD a month but payable in $Zim which are worth considerably less)
£1,000 will also be spent on each of the following projects : 2,000 locally-made re-usable masks, equipment/data bundles and textbooks for students on the Bursary Scheme, food packages for those in particular need.