Keeping our Community Safe
The pandemic has brought new challenges in 2020, forcing the Center to close in April (along with all schools) for the safety of our kids and their families. We are now open for in person “to-go” meals, and we are hopeful that the Center will re-open for programs with safety protocols in place by the end of the year. We are relieved that Zimbabwe has had a low number of COVID-19 cases, but our staff is continuing to take strict precautions while ensuring our kids maintain their nutrition and engage with staff regularly.
We have taken the following steps since our initial closure on March 24th:
Food hampers have been distributed to each child and all staff members every month. The hampers contain staple food items to ensure adequate nutrition during the Center's closure. Families with multiple children receive multiple hampers. We will continue to provide monthly staples for the foreseeable future, even after the Center opens at full capacity.
In months when cases have been especially low, we have opened for daily home-cooked meals for children. All children are required to wear masks, get their temperature taken, wash hands upon entry, and bring their own food containers. As of early October 2020, the Center is open for daily to-go meals.
All children with special medical needs continue to receive medication and medical support.
During the closure, Zara’s staff has visited each child’s home multiple times to check-in and ensure their well-being.
Zara's staff organized a "Distance Agriculture Project" as a creative way to keep our community connected. Zara's staff distributed seeds, gardening supplies, and instructions to every child for them to bring home. Each child will plant two umbrella trees at home and carefully tend to them. Once both trees sprout, one tree will be planted at their home, and the other will be brought back to Zara's Center to be planted on our land and around the community. We hope that something good will "grow" out of the shutdown, even though times are difficult.
Zara's library books are available for children to bring home with them when they come to pick up their daily meals. All books are sanitized upon their return.
Community-Wide Water Distribution
We have continued to distribute water to the community throughout the closure, overseen by our caretaker who resides on premises. All in line must wear masks and access the water outside of the fence.
As always, we are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our supporters during this unusually trying time. While we can’t be with the children in person as usual, we remain committed to providing much-needed nutrition as well as emotional, social, and medical support.
It is our hope that the Center will be open for limited in person program by the end of the year.
Distributing monthly food hampers
Children waiting for their to-go lunch
One of Zara's kids bringing her to-go lunch home
Zara's distance agriculture project
Kids showing off their newly planted seeds at home