Esteemed Children Trust (ECT) Report May 2020.
Updated: Jul 22
ECT Children for Epworth Together with the Staff.
Esteemed Children Trust is a non-profit organization registered in Zimbabwe under the Companies and Associations Trustees Act (Chapter 24.04). The Trust’s main area of focus is on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), where it seeks to alleviate poverty and suffering among these underprivileged children. The end goal is to provide a long-lasting solution to the vulnerable in the form of relief, essential support services and ultimately empowerment. ECT thrives to install and rebuild the lost hope in orphans and vulnerable children who feel abandoned and isolated within societal fibres. ECT aspires to achieve this ultimate vision by meeting children’s immediate, medium and long-term needs in a sustainable manner until the final empowerment where they finally discover their full potential.
The Trust was founded in the year 1999 by the late Oliver Chiku and his wife Madrine Chiku. They realized their passion and potential in OVC when they met a vulnerable young boy in the streets of Harare. They purposed to devote themselves to assist the boy with both immediate and long-term needs. That included enrolling the boy to school. Eventually, the boy’s life was absolutely transformed. The incident of the boy gave them courage and audacity to follow and pursue their passion and potential into the orphan care journey. It was during their tenure as Pastors in Epworth that they witnessed the growth of their humanitarian ministry, meeting the needs of orphaned, vulnerable and less privileged children. The passionate duo partnered with a number of well-wishers, friends, organizations and churches who together worked to assist in transforming the lives of these disadvantaged children.
In 2002, they partnered with Regina Dururu Okorafo who had a like-minded passion. As a result of this partnership, they witnessed exponential growth in the community of Epworth as they reached out to more orphaned and vulnerable children in the area. They supported approximately 100 children, assisting them to discover and realize their potential and destiny. However, after an illustrious 15 years of partnership with Regina Okorafo, the two ladies ceremoniously parted ways in order to pursue different objectives and focusing on different geographical areas within the same area. Thus, they are reaching widely to more children than ever before and they partner on specific events from time to time. Currently, ECT is being operated in two field areas, that is, Caledonia and Epworth, assisting over a hundred of OVC in these areas.
ECT Children for Caledonia with the founding Director far left.
ECT Children’s Status
Currently ECT has registered 30 children in Caledonia and 40 children in Epworth taken from different underprivileged backgrounds, some are double orphans while some are single, with either the mother or the father deceased. Their ages range between 5 to 18 yrs. Being orphans and underprivileged, placed them on a disadvantaged position in society. This implicates negatively on their education, health, nutrition, psycho-social wellness and social-economic status. Thus, the major drive and thrust of ECT is to give a fair footing foundation and an advantageous position to these children by giving them quality education, psycho-social support and improve their nutrition status, health status and socio-economic status.
ECT has transformed the lives of orphaned children through educational empowerment programs established since 1999. To date, ECT is proud to have transformed disadvantaged OVCs to become prominent Pharmacist, Accountants and Sociologists. Besides university graduates, ECT has also sponsored children for diploma and certificates level. Successful examples include a child living with disability who graduated at Danhiko Vocational Training Centre specializing in Garment and Designing in July 2014. Other currently enrolled students include a second-year student at the Chinhoyi University of Technology, studying towards an Honors degree in Accounting. ECT started fending for the double orphaned child from the time when he was in Grade 1 and now, he is at tertiary level.
Apart from tertiary enrolment and graduates, ECT is also sponsoring primary school students from Epworth and Caledonia. However, due to limited fiscal space, a lot more students are in need of assistance from both Caledonia and Epworth.
Nutrition and Health
ECT Children for Caledonia Just Before They Receive Fruit and Vegetables.
In its quest to redress nutritional issues from OVC, ECT rolled out the feeding program in 2006 in Epworth. Four children were stunted during their initial admission into the feeding scheme. As an initial preparatory step into the feeding scheme, ECT saw it fit before proceeding to the scheme, to seek medical treatment for the four because they were all exhibiting symptoms of acute malnutrition. After significant progress during the first weeks of treatment, they exhibited signs of improvement noticeable as their protruding tummies were flattening towards normalcy. The program was guided by medical practitioners at a local clinic who gave guidance on effective nutritional practices, based on a combination of affordable local products. It is pleasing and worth noting that two of the children are still on the program, healthy and grown up, while the other two left the program when their guardians relocated. Currently, ECT is feeding up to 40 children in Epworth by giving them supplementary meals rich in protein and carbohydrates once a week.
ECT Children During Feeding Programme
Apart from the feeding scheme, ECT has seen it fit to supplement the weekly meals with food hamper donations, a weekly activity again. Food hamper donation scheme was implemented in 2020 and is now covering both Epworth and Caledonia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the Pomona Fruit and Vegetable Market, who devoted to extend a hand with their passion weekly donation of fruits and vegetables, adding to the food hampers which were being donated by ECT to the esteemed children. Currently, the esteemed children are enjoying a full blown weekly nutritious meal blended by a weekly donation of fruits and vegetables from Pomona Market.
Given the visibility of ECT in the areas of operation, recently, there was a young girl who was brought to the attention of ECT whose life is under threat from tuberculosis and malnutrition. Although she is not formally on any of the programs, ECT is currently working with Tilda of Star FM so that she may be admitted into a children's home. However, she is benefiting from the donation scheme programs currently rolled out in Epworth.
Some ECT children may have been traumatized due to the fact that they have lost a parent or both. That may have negatively implicated to their psycho-social wellness. Thus, ECT rolled out an intervention for psycho-social support twice a month to the children and where there are critical issues they are seen on a one-on-one basis.
Emergence Support Services
ECT Children for Epworth Putting on Their Face Masks
ECT is very much aware of the global pandemic which has set the whole world to a standstill. It is the conviction of the Trust that, COVID19 or not, children deserve to eat. As a result, and in the pursuit of fighting COVID19, ECT continued to extend support in the form of food to the children and awareness in form of information on how to prevent themselves from contracting the deadly pandemic.
In order to achieve the grand objective, ECT does have aspirations, wishes and plans both short and long-term towards the expansion of the programs for massive impacts.
Short-term Immediate Priorities
Our immediate focus is biased towards the fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, immediate appeal is premised on personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the children. Often times when we meet for donation receivables, some children will not be wearing face masks though we insist on social distance, but protective face masks are of vital importance. Therefore, in this regard, we appeal to face masks, hand sanitizers, latex gloves and toilet rolls among other PPEs. Besides PPEs, the need for food donations has grown to greater heights, especially, with the indefinite extension of lockdown by the Government of Zimbabwe. Thus, basic food stuffs such as mealie meal, potatoes, dried beans, flour, soya chunks, rice, sugar, carpenter, soaps and cooking oil among other food stuffs are in need
In addition, ECT also appeals to learning materials, especially that children were not going to school for the past 70 weeks as a result of lockdown. Thus, learning materials are of immediate need. Such include reading and learning materials for grade 1 to form 4. However, bearing in mind that any time soon, schools may be opened as current discussions and debates are underway in Parliament, school fees is once again of immediate need. Of all the children under ECT programs, around 20 are not going to school. Notwithstanding that some who are going to school are also in need of both school uniforms, fees and learning materials.
The medium priorities of ECT includes such activities of the expansion of the programs are currently underway. For instance, we are appealing for the expansion of the feeding programs to include wide-ranging and varied menu. Currently, children are being given sadza, rice, dried beans, kapenta and soya chunks. Our wish is to include such menu with a balanced diet dish.
Apart from the above, there is also need for the provision of support which also caters for disabled children. ECT does have a number of disabled children who are in need of support. To compliment such provision, ECT wishes to employ two qualified social workers for the programs. Additionally, there is also need of a dispensary as an immediate priority to cater for the children’s health.
Long Term Priorities
In our quest for fully fledged functional programs with massive and far reaching effects, ECT appeals for the following long-term priorities. Foremost, we wish to have a fully-fledged resource center where we will be conducting our operations, including an Early Childhood development school for the children. There is also need of a vehicle that will be used for any activity pertaining to the operations of the programs and a bus to transport the children.
Besides the above, we wish to have a sports center for professional sporting activities. Sporting as a short term can be a great tool for helping in psycho-social support, but professionally, it does have a long-term impact for those that do have talent. A lot of people world-wide are making a living and some are millionaires due to sporting. Examples include, Tiger Woods, Christiano Ronaldo, Benjani Mwaruwari among a long winding list. In that regard, ECT wishes to include sporting activities as part of its long-term goal in pursuit of impacting the lives of underprivileged children. For such intervention, ECT wishes to have a commercial stand where sporting facilities can be undertaken professionally.
Finally, ECT wishes to establish social enterprises for income generating projects (IGPs). Not every child is academically gifted, some are more into hands-on-practical undertakings such as crafts, and agricultural-specific undertakings. Such in ECT do have a place. It is our wish that as a long-term, children be exposed to these economic learning hubs so that they can learn some hands on and practical jobs and projects that will finally enrich their life with much-needed skills and technical know-how. In that regard, ECT wishes to have a farm which will cater for a wide-range of projects and activities and where farming projects can be undertaken such as fish farming, poultry, piggery projects, green houses, contract chicken projects, cattle fattening projects and crop farming. A farm can work as an economic learning hub and both as a financier to ECT short- and long-term future interventions including children’s feeding programs.
Currently there are vast lots of challenges hindering the work for the realization of massive impacts from our programs. The major challenge is funding. All of our programs both short-to-long term need funding so that we realize fruition from them. Other immediate challenges include land challenges. We currently do not have a place where we can convene with the children for our operations. The situation will be worse during rainy season where we will be in dire need of a shelter for protection from weather conditions. For professional operations, salaries are needed for professional services. Thus, over and above our limited financial legroom is an elephant in the house at the moment, hindering our operations from reeling far reaching impacts to the society.
The Trust aspires to achieve its grand objectives by focusing on the welfare of the children pertaining to education, health, nutrition and economic support, both on short and long-term basis.
1. To reduce the vulnerability of orphaned children.
2. To deliver fair and essential educational, health, psychological and emotional services to vulnerable children.
3. To create an environment conducive for the peace, survival, growth and development of Orphaned & Vulnerable Children.
4. To advocate against practices that predispose children to violence.
5. To implement policies which protect children from abuse.