Project Trip Zimbabwe - BIRGIT GSTETTENBAUER

In November 2022, I was in Zimbabwe for 14 days. You are probably wondering how I got there.



As a result of a personal emergency situation, I came into contact with the AHAM FOUNDATION. After having experienced help there, I became more and more interested in the foundation and their activities, especially their help for needy, often parentless children in Zimbabwe.


These activities are carried out by the STIFTUNG AHAM association: Kinderhausverein Afrika e.V.


My interest in this work has grown ever since.

I joined the association (anyone can, of course ;-) ) and was increasingly amazed at the amount of time and energy the people in charge invest in order to provide a sustainable development for the children.


I was asked quite unexpectedly in the summer of 2022 whether I could imagine to accompany them to Zimbabwe. Deep down, I was immediately ready, but I knew that I still had to discuss everything with my supervisor Dirk Finnemann. He agreed to give me spontaneous leave and also gave me the go-ahead. Honestly, I struggled with many questions at that point: Will I be able to cope physically, but above all emotionally, with being confronted with so much poverty? Moreover, which risks am I facing? What kinds of illnesses could I catch? Inspite of all these doubts, it was clear for me: I still had to say yes.


Finally, in November, the time had come. My first impression after the very long flight was quite sobering. It felt like I was somewhere in Southern Europe at first. That was helpful for the beginning, but my impression then changed drastically as time went on.


During my stay, I was constantly commuting between the self-catering bungalow where the three of us were staying and the locations of our projects within the slum areas on the outskirts of the capital Harare.

Just imagine: We were able to take a shower and then have our coffee and breakfast, thanks to a generator, since electricity is not available most of the time, of course. Surrounding our bungalow there was a high wall, NATO wire on it and a hired watchman present day and night, plus watchdogs to secure the area. All windows and doors were protected with iron bars.


After breakfast, we left the city centre and headed for the slums with a rented car and a driver. The scenery was changing kilometre by kilometre.



The well-guarded bungalows and the extremely wellmaintained golf course were now replaced by scattered small houses, and it was not clear whether they were in a state of disrepair or had yet to be finished. Another striking feature were the ever-growing heaps of rubbish on the side of the road.



Yet further away, all of a sudden there were only plastic shacks or wooden walls with a corrugated iron roof full of holes on top. Everything without windows, without electricity, without any furnishing. The six, eight or even more people living in such a hut gather around a small fireplace before going to sleep. You can see the inside of one of these huts in the picture on the right. A father suffering from AIDS lives in it, thin as a rake, together with his three young daughters. They get a warm meal every day in our soup kitchen.


There it was, the poverty, no longer to be overlooked. I didn't go into some of the wooden hovels, even though the people who "lived" inside would always welcome us in. The cramped conditions, the sheer misery and the smells that went with it would have knocked me off my feet. I chose to stay outside while the other two women were talking to these people. Instead, I took photos so that I could be close to them, but still at a certain distance.


On the photo on the left you can see children and young people from the project "Blind Mothers and their Children" in the Epworth slum.

We have just handed over the laptop donated by Kontron.


Many thanks again to our company for this helpful device!

For a start, the children are allowed to watch a cartoon.












However, the laptop is intended for working on school worksheets, research and information transfer. The older ones are eagerly waiting to learn how to use the PC. Both they and we hope it will improve their job prospects.


School education has a very high priority in Zimbabwe. Due to extreme poverty - 85% of the working population is unemployed, more than half of the population is malnourished - hardly any parents can afford the required school fees. About 200 children in the projects supported by the Children's House Association (Kinderhausverein Afrika e.V.) are provided with food, clothing and hygiene articles as well as school and education fees. For these children, the opportunity to attend school makes their most ardent wish come true. Thanks to school education and subsequent training in handicrafts, the children have the chance to become independent and live their lives in dignity.


The charitable organization finances the work for the children in Zimbabwe entirely through donations.


To give an example: For about 100 USD, a child can go to school for one year.

Every donation helps us to help!



Donation account: VR-Bank Isar-Vils IBAN: DE96 7439 2300 0000 1342 87 BIC: GENODEF1VBV

(We are entitled to issue donation receipts).



For me, this unique project trip is something I will never forget. Unfortunately, the photos cannot capture what the people there really endure day after day. You can find more information about our projects on the following homepage:



If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with me to get some further information, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Thank you!

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