In 2002, Maryknoll Sister Kathleen Barbee, who has lived and worked in Africa for many years, and a Redemptorist colleague responded to the profound needs of Zimbabwean children living in poverty and established the Mavambo (“genesis”) Trust.
Mavambo programs assist children who live in Zimbabwe’s Mabvuku, Tafara and Goromonzi districts; many of the children who receive care are orphans whose parents died from AIDS. Starting with just a few helpers, the center now employees a few dozen workers, most of whom are local residents.
Since most of the children have been unable to attend school due to lack of birth certificates and/or lack of financial resources, among other reasons, Mavambo provides them life skills and psycho-social support. Hundreds of children have been trained in pallative care, since so many of them provide that service in their families. The center also works with child-led support groups for children living with HIV and AIDS, who continue to suffer discrimination.
Literacy programs and medical assistance are offered as well. Nutrition and health education are also available; the ultimate goal of all the programs is that the children will develop into self-reliant, healthy adults who are able to participate fully as Zimbabwean citizens.