Midlands Children Hope Project is a non-profit charity organization that is working to create a better and sustainable future for youth in Gweru, Zimbabwe. We have our own sponsors who is covering our administrative expenses, so that your donation will go directly to the project! These are the projects we are now working on: 

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HOPE-EDUCATION

We believe that education is the most important thing we can give the heroes of tomorrow! The number of kids we're paying school fees for is increasing for each school trimester!

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HOPE-GIRLS

This program gives the street girls an opportunity to stand on their own to create a better future for themselves and their babies!

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HOPE-INTERN

Join the internship that doesn't care about your new profile picture on instagram, but about the knowledge and experience you can share and gain through spending time on a different continent!

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HOPE-MEDICAL

We support the orphanage with a monthly fee of USD$100 to cover the most critical medical needs. In addition we have an emergency fund of USD$400 available at all times. 

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HOPE-FAMILIES

72% of Zimbabwes population lives in extreme poverty. Our HOPE-families will get the opportunity for a better future despite this!

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HOPE-CENTER

We want to build a HOPE-center in the heart of Mkoba where all our projects are to be coordinated from.

 

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HOPE-ORPHANAGE

The overall goal is to make the orphanage self sustainable and able to stand on their own feet. 

 

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HOPE-CLASS

Through games, fun and exciting classes we invite the vulnerable kids in the local community important and basic knowledge.

HOPE-BUSINESS

This program aims to assist the families with bigger business plans with our professional network.

 

Who are we?

Midlands Children Hope Project consist of a board with three members, Thomas Nordberg, Anita Svendheim and Lene Tollefsen Rodegård. They all started out like volunteers and fell in love with the children and the country. When returning home they felt like they had to do something. Anita and Thomas therefore created the norwegian organization, Midlands Children Hope Project, which Lene joined when she volunteered a year later. 

We also have two amazing group leaders, who is helping us coordinate and control all our income generating projects and fundraising events. Ida Johanne Christoffersen is our project coordinator, while Kaia Nygaard Omland is responsible for our sponsorship program. 

The organizations work has grown to become bigger and bigger every year. Today, the organization has sponsors from eight different countries on three different continents. The sponsors gives a donation of their own choice every month. 100% of these donations go directly to the project in Zimbabwe, as our administrative expenses are covered by the board members themselves or other people involved. We also put up a wide range of fundraising events every year together with dedicated and passionate people from all around the world. Over the last few years we have had waffle sales, charity marathons and first aid lessons to generate funds for the orphanage. The organization’s biggest event is “Nesbyen Gir Tilbake”, where the inhabitants of Nesbyen, Norway, are invited to a rubber duck race, concerts and a small market to fundraise for the street children.

Zimbabwe is a country in Sub Saharan Africa, bordering to South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia. In a matter of a few decades, Zimbabwe has gone from being the breadbasket of Africa, to become a country with large political, economical and social instability. The difficult situation in the country have affected the most vulnerable in the society the most; the children. This especially due to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, which left one out of four children orphaned. As a result, you can find many children in the streets. The boys are often used by the police to perform criminal actions, while the girls are owned by illegal miners. To make the whole situation worse, it is today illegal to be a street child in Zimbabwe.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

In the autumn of 2011, Thomas Nordberg and Anita Svendheim visited Zimbabwe for the first time. With little knowledge about the country, they were expecting to see hunger, poverty and devastation when they arrived – which is what is mostly reported on in the media. Some of these expectations were not wrong, but the secret of Zimbabwe is that there is so much more to the country than these sad stories. In Zimbabwe, they were met with so much joy and happiness wherever they went and they fell in love with the country.

Thomas and Anita visited many different orphanages, schools and clinics during their time in Zimbabwe, but it was one project in particular that stood out to them. In a small concrete house in Gweru’s biggest township Mkoba lived 17 boys sharing four bedrooms and 14 beds. All the children came from the streets and had been through more than any child should ever have to. Staying at the orphanage was, however, not a saddening experience. The house was full of life and warmth from early morning till the boys went to bed, and the children were full of joy, happiness and hope for the future. At the orphanage, six Zimbabweans were working every day without pay to take care of the children. They also ran a drop-in centre in town where the children that lived on the streets would get a warm meal, the chance to clean their clothes and to have a few hours to relax. Everyday was a struggle to make ends meet.

At the orphanage, the children did not have mattresses in their beds, the walls were dirty and the children were continuously sent home from school because they had not paid their fees that continued to increase. When it was time for Thomas and Anita to go back to Norway they realized that they could not go back home and forget about everything they had seen at the home and the children that had come to care about. They had seen how little was needed to make a difference in these children’s lives, and decided to create an organization to support their education. Three months later Midlands Children Hope Project was a reality.


THEIR STORIES

The boys at the orphanage have experienced more pain and difficulties than any child should ever have to experience. At the orphanage, they get the change to start over again, with the challenges and possibilities that comes with it. Here are their stories:

Wilson
I am Wilson Tshuma aged 17 years old. Currently I am doing form 3. When I first came to the orphanage I was a very small boy. Now I’m grown up. There are many challenges I faced when I was living in the streets. Some of the times I would spend a day without eating though sometimes I would manage to get food. Sometimes the bigger boys who were bullies would beat me up and take all my food. During the cold season I would face more challenges like no warm clothes, no blankets and no shelter at night. Before my parents died life was not as difficult as I experienced in the streets. It was a rural set up but it was better than living on the streets. The reason why I had to leave home was that there was no one to take care of me and I had stopped going to school whilst other children of my age from our neighbourhood were going to school. I met Mr Ndou (Question) in 2006 in the streets of Gweru and he spoke to me and I decided to go to the orphanage. I started going to school and we were eating nutritious food and the people there are so loving and caring. I feel very safe at Midlands Children Hope Centre. I want to thank all the people who support us.

Tafadzwa
My name is Tafadzwa. I am 15 years old. After my mother passed away
I stayed with my father and my stepmother. Sometimes my father would
go to South Africa and my stepmother would abuse me very badly, beating me, giving me too much work to do, and denying me food. I could not bear this anymore and I ran away and I went to stay with my grandfather. My father came back from South Africa and took me back home but my stepmother did not stop her abusive culture. I then decided to run away and I went to the streets of Gweru. There I met some street kids who I became friends with. They took me to the Drop in Centre and I met Mr Emmanuel Muchemwa who asked me some questions about my life. He took me to Mother Ndou (Happiness) who asked me whether I want to go to the orphanage. I was very happy because I did not enjoy street life. Now here I am at the orphanage going to school, having food, clothes, shelter and people that I now call my parents who cares about me. Now I can see a bright future.

Piniel
My name is Piniel. I am 16 years old. When I was living in the streets I had no decent place to sleep and I would just sleep in pavements with other street kids. I had no one to teach me about life and the good and bad things. I would do anything that I thought was alright for me and some of those things were bad. At times I was failing to control myself and I would get myself in trouble. Life was difficult in town and I cannot explain the pain that I went through at home and on the streets. I ran away from home because my stepmother was very violent and rough. She would beat me and she hated me so much. I don’t know where my mother is and my father would not defend me or protect me. The only solution was to run away from home and start another life. By then I was 8 years old. Now I am a big boy. I went to the drop in centre with other boys living in the streets and Mr Question Ndou took me to the orphanage after I told him my story. I am a happy to stay at the orphanage and all the staff members are very good and they show us love and care.

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In Zimbabwe school is expensive, and one child have to pay an avarage of 600 USD each year. If the children do not pay, or get into school with a torn uniform they are sent back home. Ever since the beginning in 2012 Midlands Children Hope Project has paid the school fees for every child at the orphanage, as well as other kids from the community. 

We believe that the safety and stability this gives the children is important for the knowledge, motivation, and ability to create a better future for themselves. Even though our organization is growing every day, and we get more responsibilites to cover, the childrens education is still our number one priority. Thanks to our lovely sponsors who is donating an amount of their own every month, we can cover the school fees, uniforms and stationaries before every term. 

The number of the children we cover school fees for is increasing every trimester, and by the end of 2017 we support 55 childrens education! We therefore need more sponsors! 

Contact us at sponsor@hopeproject.no for more information about our sponsorship program. 

Remember that every little bit helps, and we have sponsors who is paying 1 USD a month! 

Together we create a better world - one child at a time!


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The old orphanage was a good place. Here, the children had a roof over their heads, they had warm meals every day, they got the opportunity to go to school and they had adults who cared about them and took care of them. However, this orphanage came with its fair share of challenges. The home had only 14 beds, which meant that the 30 children that lived there had to share beds and sometimes sleep on turn. The children did not have mattresses in their beds, the walls were dirty, and they did not have a dining table nor a proper living room, which meant that the children had to eat and do their homework outside. Their front yard was too tiny for the amount of children that lived there, and it was therefore little space to play or to relax on after the children got home from school. The school fees continued to increase for each trimester, and the children were continiously sent back home from school as their school fees were not being paid. This was the main reason why MCHP was created - to cater for the childrens school fees. 

With these challenges in mind, MCHP and MCHC decided that it was time to build a new orphanage for the street children. In October 2014, we bought a land of 5000 square meters, just at the edge of the Mkoba township. Here we are building the new orphanage. The first house was finished in 2015, and we are now about to finalise the second house. Each house is to accommodate a total of 10 children and one mother/father. This is because it is a requirement by Zimbabwean law that the houses look and function like family houses. In 2018 we will work towards making the orphanage more sustainable, especially when it comes to food. One of our main focuses will be hygiene and nutritional food. 

The HOPE garden
The HOPE-garden is divided into two pieces. One part is where all the children get their own plot. If the child runs away from the orphanage or is asked to leave due to bad behaviour he loses the rights to the garden. If he is reaccepted, he starts afresh. The children themselves are in charge of taking care of their own plot and will have to grow their own vegetables, always under the supervision of the MCHC staff. The money they gain from selling these vegetables will be put in the child’s account created for them in the bank by the centre. Accurate records for each child’s funds in the account will be kept by the house mother at the orphanage and each child’s funds will be made available to them once they turn 18 years old and are ready to leave the orphanage. This way, the children learn how to work for their own money and have capital and get off to a good start when moving away from the orphanage.

The other part is for the orphanage to use for their everyday needs. This is to ensure the orphanage gets nutritional and healthy food.

The fire pit
The orphanage has got a firepit where the children and their house mothers can socialize. This is to be a social place where they can make food, talk, have fun and build relationships around the fire.

The caretaker’s home
It is a requirement by Zimbabwean law that every orphanage has a home for the caretaker. The caretaker is responsible for general maintenance of the premises, security of the premises and assets and ensuring there is order at the home.

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Zimbabwe has gone from having the best health care system in Africa, to the opposite today. They people who doesn't have funds to pay, will not be treated. Our orphans has grown up without having money to cover for their medical needs, which means they often have to walk around in pain for a very long time. We think it is important that the kids get treated as soon as the problem occurs, to avoid pain and complications. This is why we support the orphanage with USD$ 100 every month to cover the most critical needs. 

We also have an emergency fund of USD$ 400 available in case something major happens. 

We can cover these needs thanks to our sponsors who every month support the project with an amount of their own. 

Do you want to contribute? Contact us at sponsor@hopeproject.no

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The HOPE-girls is a newly released project that aims to help the street girls create a better future for themselves. The street girls are often from a very complex and difficult life situation, and we have been longing to find a way to help them. The initial plan was to build a house for the girls at the orphanage. This has turned out to be much more difficult than expected. First of all we are not allowed by Zimbabwean law to keep girls and boys together, and second of all most of the girls have their own babies. After we got to know the girls we also realised that building them a house would not really help them - just because of their very complex situations. The HOPE-girls was created to meet the girls where they are, and see the needs they see themselves. After working with the girls and their business plans for some time, we gave 5 of the girls the chance to start their own businesses. Because we think the risk of the girls not making it is quite big, we started low. They got a startloan of 50 USD each.

The first few days all the girls were busy working, but after a while several of them started relaxing and making up excuses for not working. After a while the truth came; they were broke.

Even though three of the girls did not succeed, two of the girls have shown an incredible achievements since they started, and they have been working day and night. In only 6 weeks these two girls managed to tripple their assets in their stores. They also managed to get themselves a place to stay, and are now paying their own rentals. From January their kids will start the MCHC-preschool. This will be good for the kids, but also for the girls as they can focus more on their businesses. If this success is continuing we have a 40% success rate, which is incredible - especially considering the girls complex and hard situation after many hard years in the streets.

Do you want to help one of these girls? Contact us at sponsor@hopeproject.no

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The HOPE-families is a newly released project that aims to help the vurnurable families to create a better future for themselves. More than 72% of Zimbabwes population is living in extreme poverty. The idea of this program came after visiting one family living in the outskirts of Gweru. We first got to know them when Lene and one of our MCHP-sponsors, Therese, visited in 2015. The view that met them was this mud hut - where 9 people lived. They had no food, only broken clothes, and the kids had big open wounds on their body because of bad hygiene. Thanks to a donation from Therese, Anita could go back a week after and give them clothes, food and clean the wounds. We also bought tools and seeds for a vegetable garden. 

The HOPE-families gets a start loan of 200 USD to start their own businesses. In 2017 we started out with 10 HOPE-families. We covered their schildrens school fees, and gave the families a start up kit consisting of food, soap and other essentials, as well as the startloan to start their own income generating projects. 

So far the program has been 100 % successfull, and all the families have improved their living conditions, all by themselves - just by being given a chance to start up. In 2018 we want to expand the program to 30 HOPE-families!

Do you want to support a family? Contact us at sponsor@hopeproject.no and we'll help you get started!

Together we can create a better world - not only one child at a time, but also a family at a time! 

There is thousands of children running around in the streets of the township of Mkoba playing. Many of them are attending one of the local schools, others cannot afford the school fees, which is always increased. Through our HOPE-class we are reaching out to the kids in the local community with weekly lessons by professional teachers both from the local community, and the rest of the world. Our aim is to create positive, fun and knowledgable classes where the children get motivation, knowledge and skills they need to grow up to become good citizens of the community. By including the local community we also make sure that our street children becomes a greater part of it. 

Do you want to help out? Maybe you would like to become our next intern? Read more about the internship here. 

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In 2018 we will create HOPE-business. This program aims to assist the families with bigger business plans with our professional network. We want to provide them with all the help and assistance they may need to success with their own businesses.

In this way the HOPE-business will create local work places, economical growth and sustainability. 

Do you or your company want to help out? Contact us at info@hopeproject.no

In 2018 we would also like to build up a new HOPE-center in Mkoba, and the thought is that all our projects will run from here to keep it separate from the orphanage. We have already started to look into the possibilities of buying a new land - this time more in the center of Mkoba, so it is easily accessable from every part of Mkoba. The projects will be tailored to help the local community. 

At the center we will build up a big classroom with a divider so it can be used as two. We will also build up a few offices, where our HOPE-business will get the help and assistance they need. Then we will also create a dining place with outside chairs, as well as an reception/registration desk. Our center will be purely run on solar energy. 

In a country with more than 90% unemployment rate, it is not given that people will get a job, even with education. This is the reason why it is also important to learn lifeskills, to be able to make a living for themselves. 

The HOPE-internship was released in 2017 to share knowledge and experience through cultural meeting between the kids at the orphanage, the local community and the people in MCHP-network. Our aim is that our projects are having the highest standard and the newest information within all feelds. We wish for the kids to grow up in a sustainable and environmental friendly project, with good role models in their lives. MCHP is working to improve these values, and offer a new and different internship by sending highly qualified people to the project. These people are to share their knowledge and experience to the best for the project, as well as getting unique experiences in return. We wish for the internship to be as valuable for the ones travelling, as for the ones receiving the help on ground. The basic ideas of the HOPE-internship is as following:

  • The internship is a unique offer in an ocean of opportunities. Sharing of knowledge and finding a common ground for learning and developing for both parts is in center - not to get a new profile picture at Facebook. 
  • Interns will only be sent to the project if MCHP and MCHC find important tasks that can fit their knowledge and experience. This is to secure both the interns and the children to get most out of their stay. 
  • Interns will be closely picked based on their motivation, experience and what they can offer the project.
  • The cost of this internship is much lower than other internship programs because we believe that knowledge is far more valuable than money! 

Do you have knowledge or experience that can be valuable for any of our projects, and interested in experiencing the life on a different continent? Contact us at intern@hopeproject.no

Read more about our internship here.

VALUES

Midlands Children Hope Centre and Midlands Children Hope Project’s aim is to create a sustainable centre to support the street children in Gweru, Zimbabwe. Underlying the work at the Mkoba Hope Centre are the following core values:

– Sustainability. All our work starts from the premise that the orphanage one day is going to become self-sustainable and independent from international supporters.

– The individual child. We see the children at the orphanage as our own children, and we know them all personally. The children are therefore our starting point and focus when we make decisions for our future work.

– Communication. The organization’s work hinges on individuals with a passion and enthusiasm for the street children. Good communication between the people on the ground, the organization and our sponsors is therefore at the core of our work.

– The bigger picture. Through our work we want to give you the bigger picture of what is happening at the orphanage and in Zimbabwe, separated from the media images of Zimbabwe often portrayed in the rest of the world. We want to share a true and unpolished picture of what is happening on the ground, by giving you both the good and the bad stories.

– Flexibility. The organization do not work after a standardized template for charity work, as we believe that every project is different. We make our decisions based on the needs on the ground by looking into each situation and by being involved every step of the process.


GET INVOLVED

Give a personal donation
Our organization is founded on individuals with a passion and drive for the street children in Gweru. As an individual you can either join our sponsorship program me and donate a monthly amount of your own preference which will go towards covering the children’s school fees, medical needs and other critical expenses. You can also give a once-off donation that will go to the building of the new orphanage, or towards something more specific if that is in your interest. All donations can be given easily and safely through our PayPal account you can see at the right corner of this page (select currency and press «Donate»).

Start your own project
Throughout the year we support a wide range of people in putting up their own fundraising events and projects for the new orphanage. This can be schools, sports teams, friend groups and businesses. We help you set your own project into life! All MCHP sponsors get their name on the sponsor board at the orphanage, as well as our newsletter that comes out every three months with updates from the project and the situation at the orphanage.

Contact us on info@hopeproject.no for more information.