Towards the end of August, Antelope Park hosted 23 young people and group leaders from a UK-based youth group, who were enjoying a 17 day tour through Zimbabwe. During their stay, the visitors spent a busy, but enjoyable day volunteering at local community projects.
The day began with a tour of the new site of the Midlands Children's Hope Centre, where the visitors were told all about the plans for the new building and were able to see the latest addition to the site; the three finished chicken runs.
Next they joined children from the Mkoba 4 Primary School Grade 6 class who, despite being on their school holiday, were attending the ALERT Education Centre for the final week of their Conservation Education classes. The students recapped what they had learnt in front of their guests before enjoying a competitive game of football. While the boys from both teams showed off some fancy foot work, the girls skipped and played games. Before saying their farewells, the visitors handed out pens and pencils to each of the students and taught them some new songs.
To continue their day in the community, the group spent a few hours at the Drop-in Centre, where they were able to interact with street children who are the same age as themselves. Some of the group joined Centre staff on the outreach programme to witness the places the street children call ‘home’; generally in a park or an abandoned building. The rest of the group bought meat and vegetables and prepared a nutritious lunch for the children before joining back together to share in some songs. The visitors were really touched by the program and the short time they were able to spend getting to know the children.
The last call of the day was to visit the boys at the current site of the Midlands Children's Hope Centre orphanage, where the group received a warm welcome and enjoyed more football and singing.
It had been an exhausting, but exhilarating day for the visitors; an experience they will remember fondly for a long time to come. One group member, Natasha, commented: ‘I will definitely come back to Antelope Park and volunteer on the Orphans and Teaching Project. This trip has opened my eyes and I would like to work to help improve lives for African communities - especially with kids living on the streets.’
You can find details of our Orphan Care and Teaching Project in Zimbabwe here.