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InnovativeCommunities.Org Foundation

Friends Building Global Community

Chitungwiza Rokpa Initiative

Chitungwiza — known colloquially as Chi Town — is a high-density dormitory town in Zimbabwe. The town is approximately 30 kilometres south of the capital, Harare. The houses there are mostly high-density, single storey detached units, usually with a small yard for growing vegetables and corn.  Chitungwiza was one of the areas targeted in 2005 by Operation Murambatsvina, an event in which many residents lost their homes and businesses. Unfortunately, this community is now home to a number of disadvantaged families and needy children (OVC), many of whom have disabilities and limited resources available to them.

While some parent-to-parent support groups already exist in the area, they have been exclusively for parents of children with disabilities so far. The Chitungwiza Ropka Initiative seeks to expand the role and activities of these existing groups, and to provide relief care to more families in order to restore the parents' ability to care for their children and earn a living.  The major elements of the project will be the setting up of the Relief Day Care Centre (RDDC), where children with disabilities can go from Monday to Friday and other vulnerable children (OVC) can go regularly, if their parents wish, or on random days when the parents need to go out and work. We also plan to provide access to basic health--i.e., medication when required.

This initiative will provide many children with healthy, comfortable, and caring environments that will help them develop more positive and fulfilled lives.

Relief Daycare Centre

We already have a centre and building in Chitungwiza, and we will be working closely with the Manyame Park Residents Association, as well as with the schools and clinics in St. Mary’s, with the aim of reaching all categories of vulnerable children in the area. While children with disabilities will remain the nucleus of the groups, we intend to be open to other vulnerable children and disadvantaged families.

The centre will be staffed by facilitator/carers who would primarily be parents of children with disabilities (CWD), although other caregivers of orphans, single parents etc. could also come on board. Children will not only come and play under the carers' supervision but the carers will be trained to teach basic skills that are similar to a preschool. During the day, the children will be provided with access to medication, food, art and play materials. Mattresses will be provided so that children, especially those with disabilities, can play and sleep on them.

We also want to ensure that each group of parents is able to produce enough food to feed the children attending the day care; indeed, food security training in low-input gardening will be a first step, making sure that the food for the children at the centre is from the garden. To achieve this, member parents of the centre will be trained in Low Input Gardening and provided with a starter pack; we will also provide tanks to ensure that water is made constantly available for gardening, cooking and toilets.

In short, we are planning to provide the following in all phases of the project:

– Water tanks for municipal water to be stored
– Space to do gardening;
– Mattresses will be given for children to play on;
– The centre will have a play room and storage area with effective security.
– To provide a Kitchen to cook for the children; there is need to put in doors, cupboards and stoves.

After School Club

In addition to relief care, we would like to establish an After School Club (ASC) for school going OVC in the neighbourhood to come and do homework, study with supervision and voluntarily participate in arts and culture coaching.

The Rokpa Chitungwiza Initiative will establish relationships with a few retired teachers in the neighbourhood who will voluntarily provide guidance at the after school club (also possibly volunteers or interns when the political climate has stabilized). Children from the poor families in the neighbourhood without space to do their school work during daytime will be encouraged to come to the centre to do their work. Children will get assistance in doing homework, revision and coaching in arts and culture--i.e., music, traditional dance and drama.

Supplies needed for After School Club:

– Benches and desks 
– Art and play materials
– Drums, shakers, mbira, marimba, etc.

Project Launch and Development

The project is expected to begin as soon as funds for the core infrastructure are secured, and it is expected to run until such a time when those services are offered at a government centre in the same community. Leaders of this project include the representatives from St Mary’s/Manyame Park Residents Association, Local schools, Council Reps and Rokpa Support Network and the facilitators/caregivers are also voluntary members from the same community.  The Australian High Commission, VIDEA (WHEAT committee), and a number of private donors have graciously helped to get this project underway.  

ICO hopes to develop this initiative in Chitungwiza, and eventually expand into other communities, with your continued support.


ICO Initiatives

September 17, 2014
ICO’s Instruments4Africa provides opportunities to underprivileged children in Mali, one of Africa's poorest countries, to get an education and reach their potential. Building on Mali’s rich artistic culture, children receive performing arts training, and are part of a performing arts troupe guided by professional dance and music teachers.