Nhaka Foundation News

April 2021 NEWSLETTER

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As we started off another year with the pandemic still going strong, we knew 2021 would require more creativity, strength, and togetherness to overcome our challenging reality.  In Zimbabwe, schools and businesses are still closed, leaving children and families at home once again.  Although this adds another level of difficulty to everyday adversity, we at Nhaka Foundation are determined to work together to lessen burdens.  Our current situation makes ubuntu not just a kind, daily practice but truly essential for survival.  By relying on one another and helping our neighbors in need, sharing what we have been given, we are able to see entire communities advance and overcome. Thanks to generous monthly supporters and donations, modifications were able to be made to the food packs children in our PSS program currently receive, making them more nutritious and long-lasting.  These students are now enjoying protein-rich meals for five days, ensuring a greater sense of food security until school is back in session. 

READ MORE: https://mailchi.mp/ec6fc8939f91/nhaka-foundation-newsletter?fbclid=IwAR2gHFBO4LNj7VGXwAJJL_XuTqXpGMiwJl3M8nzcYuYrTux0a_-wrEvEa-w

AdministratorApril 2021 NEWSLETTER
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ECCD in Eswatini – VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced schools to close and ECCD programs to stop operating in Eswatini, it is time to convene a conference to discuss how to move the sector forward. Nhaka Foundation Eswatini is co-hosting this virtual conference will focus on bringing together country ECCD stakeholders and development partners to re-imagine early childhood care and development in Eswatini. The aim of the conference is to learn about the challenges confronted by government, academia, civil society and the communities in providing integrated ECCD services to young children. The conference outcomes will hopefully be linked towards providing some solutions too confront these challenges. YOU are invited to join this conversation: ‘Re-Imagining ECCD in Eswatini – Past, Present and Future.’

To be part of this conversation, REGISTRATION is open with:Eswatini Network for Early Childhood Development: +268 7625 1868 | zonahen@gmail.com and

Nhaka Foundation: +268 7645 4864 | nhakaeswatini@nhakafoundation.org

Email your details NOW!

AdministratorECCD in Eswatini – VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
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Doing good, better!

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“Elephant and Mouse were best friends. One day Elephant said, “Mouse, let’s have a party!” Animals gathered from far and near. They ate. They drank. They sang. And they danced. And nobody celebrated more and danced harder than Elephant. After the party was over, Elephant exclaimed, “Mouse, did you ever go to a better party? What a blast!” But Mouse did not answer. “Mouse, where are you?” Elephant called. He
looked around for his friend, and then shrank back in horror. There at Elephant’s feet lay Mouse. His little body was ground into the dirt. He had been smashed by the big feet of his exuberant friend, Elephant. “Sometimes, that is what it is like to do missions with you Americans,” the African storyteller commented. “It is like dancing with an Elephant.” Elephant did not mean to do harm, but he did not understand the effects he was having
on Mouse.

Harsh as this example may sound, I came to know this reality further into my service journey than I’d like to admit. Growing up in a Christian household, my parents taught me to value helping those in need and giving of myself from a young age. What I didn’t realize, however, is how toxic the “Western World” missions’ movement can be and the harm it can cause. In my mind, traveling to the other side of the world to give some new things to a family living in poverty sounded like a great idea. I’d get to visit a new place, meet new friends, have some fun, and feel good about myself for a little bit. Then I’d go back to my comfortable life in the States, virtually unchanged by my experience. I would have found no error in this and never would have guessed it could cause more harm than good in the long run.

“The “White Savior Complex” is a dangerous side effect of many mission trips 1 . We don’t realize that we love to play “savior” or Santa Claus, which is highly disempowering and even belittling to those being helped. It may give us instant gratification to hand out toys, but it ignores the long-lasting consequences. Despite our good intentions, we’re actually promoting dependence rather than empowerment. It is perpetuating an unhealthy dynamic where the benevolent, rich foreigner is savior, and the materially poor person is helpless.” We need to remember that poverty is a complex
issue that cannot be “fixed” simply by us visiting a developing country for a week. People that may have less material things than you are not helpless and cultural differences do not need to be changed or conformed to our ways of thinking, they are what make our world beautiful.

I write none of these things to condemn or inflict guilt on an individual that may have unknowingly caused harm on a short-term mission trip in the past but rather in hopes to educate and encourage all of us to examine our heart intentions for service. When we are presented with an opportunity to serve, although it may be unnatural at first, I would challenge all of us to take some time to research the organization, their mission, and what you are being asked to do on the trip. Oftentimes harm can come through sending American volunteers to a community to complete a task they may not necessarily be qualified for, simply because of this “white savior complex.” For example, an organization may invite a team of common people from the United States to help build a house when they could have fundraised to hire local construction workers to do the task instead, in turn placing the funds back into their own community. Also, much like in the States, families and head of households in Zimbabwe crave to take ownership in the place they live by something as simple as building a garden or a piece of their home. By barging in on someone’s property and taking over, we are robbing them of the opportunity to provide and take pride in their contribution.

So, what is a foreigner’s place in international missions? I think it can be
summed up in this sentence: we may not be needed but we are welcomed, to observe, build relationships, encourage and learn. I have seen this to be true while traveling throughout the US, Asia, Central America, and Zimbabwe alike. Simply by showing respect for a culture different than your own, asking questions, providing assistance in areas it is asked for, admitting you always have more to learn, and encouraging local communities to keep pressing on is the most impactful thing we can do. Being welcomed into a new group of people as one of their own is a humbling experience, and a privilege we should not take lightly. Attending a short-term mission trip should not be the end. After arriving back home we need to do more. Even something as simple as sharing what you learned with others and advocating for an organization or community
can make a long-term impact.

All of these thoughts and views, as well as many other factors, are what drove me to make a commitment to Nhaka Foundation. Nhaka does an incredible job at creating self-sustainable communities while engaging involvement from willing volunteers in the United States in a healthy way. By providing programs that foreigners can support while employing members of local communities in Zimbabwe, Nhaka sets the standard for partnership between countries and portrays perfectly the teamwork needed in missions. Teachers, nurses, construction workers, business owners, and college students from the United States are invited to join in on brainstorming, training, and encouraging local Zimbabwean communities to spur them on towards further growth and development. It was such a powerful experience for me to hear countless stories of school leaders and community volunteers in Zimbabwe thankful for the encouragement they received from American visitors, but I’m sure those Americans learned and received even more in return.

As I learned during my last visit to warm, friendly, welcoming Africa, we all have a universal bond: ubuntu. “I am because we are.” I pray that as we continue to navigate our place in this world and do our best to make positive change, we would remember we’re all on the same team. Let’s not stomp down anyone’s differences but rather keep inspiring, loving, respecting, and learning from each other. I can’t wait to see the impact
we can make as a result, in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Alaina Miller
Missions Officer
Nhaka Foundation

1 https://intentionaltravelers.com/problems-with-mission-trips/
2 .When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… and Yourself,
Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett

AdministratorDoing good, better!
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UBUNTU – I Am Because We Are

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We are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us, – Barack Obama

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Many would want to quickly forget 2020 for so many reasons. I am one of those who want to quickly forget the turbulence that was in 2020 and embrace the new possibilities that come with a new year. At Nhaka Foundation, we know the impact community support can have on the future of a child. By rallying behind students, championing them to reach their full potential through mentorship, opportunities for growth, and resources for success, we have seen how far a little encouragement can go. In turn, students are becoming leaders and setting an example for their families and peers, creating positive change across generational ines. In 2021, we want to get into the new year with a celebration of the children, families and communities. To do that, I am digging into a concept that is celebrated not only in Zimbabwe and in the southern part of Africa but also around the world.

Ubuntu

AdministratorUBUNTU – I Am Because We Are
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Nhaka Foundation DECEMBER 2020 | NEWSLETTER

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P E R S E V E R A N C E ( N O U N ) – PERSISTENCE IN DOING SOMETHING DESPITE DIFFICULTY OR DELAY IN ACHIEVING SUCCESS.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE YEAR 2020 HAS BEEN

The year 2020 has not been one to take lightly. We’ve faced a global pandemic, economic and financial hardships, social and political unrest, and country-wide lockdowns. Where anyone might say these are valid reasons to slow down, temporarily pause work, and wait for the storm to pass, we at Nhaka Foundation felt differently. During spring and the early lockdown days, we were tempted to remain stagnant and embrace the ‘waiting season’ we thought we were in. However, God reminded us of His plan and encouraged us that this was not a waiting season, but rather the perfect opportunity to press on even harder than before.

Read more in the newsletter below

NEWSLETTER-Dec-Nhaka-Foundation-leaving-a-lasting-legacy

AdministratorNhaka Foundation DECEMBER 2020 | NEWSLETTER
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My Zim Reflections by Olivia Yoder

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My name is Olivia.  I am a twenty-year-old junior in college, and I am epically passionate about giving each and every child the ability and resources to a quality education.  When I was 16 years old, I made the life changing decision to move to Zimbabwe.  Many have asked why on earth I would do something like that and why would my parents allow it.  There is no other reason than the fact that I NEEDED to get out of my comfort zone and the Lord continued to open doors to this opportunity.  I lived in Zimbabwe for six months and attended a local high school for four of those months.  I lived and breathed the Zimbabwe lifestyle.  The Zimbabwean school I was attending helped me grasp an understanding of the reality of how important getting an education really is. 

For the last five years I have been able to be a part of the work Nhaka Foundation is doing in and out of their schools.  They are bringing necessary learning tools and concepts right to the schools and students.  From the purity conferences, to the outdoor play sets, children are getting fed in many ways.  In my most recent trip to Zimbabwe, at the end of march, the Nhaka team and I went to almost all of the schools that Nhaka has been involved in.  We saw first-hand the progression of how each school is utilizing their sustainable gardens and different projects.  As I went into the classrooms of every school; it is undeniable how much the teachers want their students to succeed.  

The communities and parents sacrifice their time and talents to ensure the children are learning in an environment that is safe and self-sustainable.  Although so many of these schools are constantly seeking new ways to help their students and the community, they are struggling to keep going.  Electricity is difficult to come by.  Clean water and a food source are scarce.  In the United States, our students are used to getting one to two meals a day at school alone.  In the schools Nhaka has partnered with, a student’s only meal a day may be something small at school.  Recently most of these schools have been unable to feed their students at school.  

For young children especially, they need 2 main things in order to learn to their best ability: nutrition and play.  They cannot be engaged in their learning if their bodies have not been fed, and they cannot concentrate when their brains need to be relieved and their social skills need to be replenished. Getting an education can change your life.  The teachers and leaders in these schools are selfless and are giving the students the best education, they can give.  The communities and parents have been sacrificial in order to provide all students with a safe and self-sustained environment.  

In order for these schools and students to keep thriving they need to be fueling their bodies with good food and clean water.  All children deserve a quality education as well as to feel free as a child should.     
Partner with Nhaka Foundation to make this possible for every child served.

Email volunteer@nhakafoundation.org or alaina@nhakafoundation.org for more information on how you can get involved.

Best,

Olivia

AdministratorMy Zim Reflections by Olivia Yoder
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Reflections of my time in Zimbabwe

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Hello Friends,
I experienced Zimbabwe for the first time in January 2020. Friends of mine are integrally involved in work that is happening there and after hearing them speak of this life changing journey on countless occasions, I finally joined them and experienced this incredible country first-hand.  As visions of beauty, relationships, challenge, and novelty race through my head, there is a specific experience that I have the unique opportunity to share with you.

While I spent a number of days serving with Nhaka Foundation at their purity conference at one of the schools in the program, helping with the health assessments and after school programs, I also got an inside look at the organisation through a one-day team building seminar that I led.  During that time, I enjoyed getting to know each person a little better, I learned about their specific roles in the organisation, and how they were each working to support the children in the different communities.  

Seated at a big conference table, introductions were exchanged as staff had the chance to “introduce” their co-workers and we jumped right in.  Much of the early part of the day was spent in facilitated, individual exploration and getting to know “self” better.  It was neat to watch people begin to comprehend themselves in a new way and recognize traits about themselves that they might not have realised previously.  In some cases, self-exploration was challenging, yet overall it benefited both the sojourner and his/her company as the uniqueness of each was shared for all to hear.  Nods, smiles, and the occasional laugh were exchanged as valuable traits of each individual were shared and acknowledged between team members.  Throughout this time, similarities and differences were brought to the forefront of people’s minds.

The remainder of the day was spent digging into those similarities and differences. The Nhaka Foundation staff wrestled through understanding others’ differences and how those differences might have caused tensions or breaks in communication on a personal or professional level.  Ultimately, unity and growth were the outcome.  Staff members learned to understand one another better and see the value in why each team member was created so uniquely.  Through the sessions the team members learned strategies that they could employ to encourage one another and intentionally interact in a way that was life-giving to those around them and to themselves.  

The day as a whole painted a beautiful picture of 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 where Paul writes about unity.  He begins the passage by saying, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”  Paul goes on to describe the necessity in the uniqueness of each body part and that when they come together as one, that body is able to function in unity for God’s glory.  As I sat at the conference table with my African brothers and sisters, my heart was strengthened and leapt for joy as the truths of this passage poured out of each of their lives.  Each one created uniquely for a specific purpose, yet collectively bringing God glory on a grand scale! 

As I worked with the Nhaka Foundation team throughout the rest of that week, their love for others was increasingly evident. Connect with the the Nhaka Foundation Team by sending an email to volunteer@nhakafoundation.org to learn about how you too, can get involved.

All the Best,

Alyssa

AdministratorReflections of my time in Zimbabwe
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Teenage Zim Memories

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Hello Nhaka Friends,

I have been blessed with the opportunity to partner with Rock Forward and Nhaka Foundation on two separate overseas trips.  I’m beyond grateful for my experiences with an organization and people that are God’s hands and feet in Zimbabwe, Africa. On both adventures, I was able to partner with the Nhaka team as we collaborated to organize a Purity Conference for local youth. The idea of the conference was generated from a space of Godly teaching, self-conviction, and an opportunity to share the grace that can be found through the blood of Jesus. In 1st Corinthians, Paul shares with us the truth that God has created our body’s as holy and living temples for the Spirit of God. As His children, we are to honor our body’s and recognize that they are not our own, but a temple for the most High to dwell. The act of virginity until marriage and sacred respect of our body’s prior to marriage honors God. Yet, with that said, there are many young teens that have been robbed of personal decisions that honor the ability to make the choice to remain a virgin until marriage. I believe that our Heavenly Father’s heart breaks when His temple is defiled, when choices are taken away, when innocence is robbed, when emotional scars are deeper than any physical wound could ever be, and when His children hurt. While the vast majority of us have the capability to independently make a decision about how to honor our bodies as God’s Holy temple, others have been stripped of that human right. I believe it is vital for kids to hear the heart of Jesus, to know that He loves them enough to die a brutal death for their sake, that they can be made clean and pure in His sight despite choices that have been unwillingly taken away, and that they are more precious than gold in the sight of God.

While the Purity Conferences have typically held similar schedules and activities, my experiences have been wildly different. A particular experience that I would like to share happened in 2016 during my first trip to Zimbabwe. One of the activities was for a handful of the students to write a brief testimony and then have the courage to stand before a crowd of peers and vulnerably share their experiences. This demanded a great amount of courage for these young teens. As a teen myself, I was expecting short, vague, and surface testimonies to be given. I could not have been more wrong. Typically, in the U.S., middle school aged kids are often viewed as being immature and annoying while simultaneously not often taking activities such as this very seriously. The contrary was true as I humbly observed multiple young Zimbabwe teens stand before their peers, share experiences that were quite personal, and willingly be vulnerable to share struggles endured with the found promises and faithfulness of God that was cultivated through the PSS program at Nhaka Foundation. It was amazing, I love to see young teens who are on fire for the Lord! The maturity and insight that we all witnessed that day will be etched in my mind forever. This activity opened my eyes to the different challenges that young Zimbabwean teens often face, some being quite far from challenges of my own, but many that affect teens no matter where we live. I was reminded that we are all tempted by similar situations and have similar challenges, despite having very different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, societies, and cultural norms. Proverbs 22:6 seemed to have been highlighted in my heart throughout our time at the Purity Conference, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. 

Through the PSS program, the Nhaka team works intentionally to train and teach kids in the way of the Lord, so that they can become leaders in their own spheres of influence. I value the opportunity to have been a small part of the lives of these teens and thank God for the opportunity to continue to learn from my brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, Africa. Connect with the Nhaka Team, volunteer@nhakafoundation.org and discuss the many opportunities you too, can participate in.

Best wishes,

Sydney

AdministratorTeenage Zim Memories
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My Zim Memories

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Bright and vibrant colors painted by the hand of God can be appreciated in every direction through brushed jade green grasses, aqua blue skies, and stark black and white zebra stripes; the smell of smoldering coals from inside circular outdoor kitchens paired with the scent of elephant dung; gentle laughter from children as they curiously peer out from behind a Baobab tree to see the Murungu walking among the local village; to stained red feet after walking barefoot in the African soil; this is how Africa arrouses my senses. 

In a small S-10 pickup truck, tucked between my father and an energetically passionate African, I found my love for Zimbabwe. The sun generously shared its warmth with us one spring morning in 2012 as we drove to Muphini Primary School. Windows were down, the ride felt as if we were maneuvering moguls, and the scent of burning wood made my eyes water. Or, perhaps it was my own tears as they cascaded down my cheeks, stained by the red dirt. We listened intently as our new friend shared his vision for communities and the legacy of African children. The final corner as we approached the school could have compared a fireworks finale. Hundreds of beautiful, bright, vibrant, curious, intelligent, loving, and inspiring children stood in a single file line with royal blue school uniforms and awaited what could be their only meal of the day. In that moment, a piece of my heart was planted beside the Baobob tree at Muphini Primary School.

It has been over eight years since my virgin trip into a community of people that have forever changed who I am, how I process life, and how I show love through actions instead of mere verbiage. I have had the honor and privilege of working hand in hand with the Nhaka team and have personally witnessed genuine care and concern for the well-being of the communities of Goromonzi. Team Nhaka concerns itself with holistic efforts of care through the promotion of early childhood education, to community gardening, to sustainable projects, to parental and community ownership, to school feeding programs, and the health and wellness of the young children. As a sister organization, we, the Rock Forward team partnered with Nhaka Foundation to create a program that both psychologically and spiritually promotes growth. 

The parable passage from Matthew 25 resonates in my soul as that of a blaring trumpet. Just as the parable of the bags of gold, we have been given much. Hundreds of opportunities are available for us to invest our resources, both that of time and finances. I can almost hear the audible voice of God asking me, “Amy, how will you invest in Me?”. In verses 34-40 Jesus says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” 

May the resounding sound of the trumpet echo in your heart, mind, and soul as you consider how to effectively use the gifts that God has given you to do unto the least of these.

A.J Yoder
August 30, 2020

AdministratorMy Zim Memories
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Why Most Parents Struggle to Teach

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When you ask people who can ride bicycles to tell you how they do it, more often than not, they tell you that they ‘just do it’. What is there to be said when all it takes is to get on the bike and pedal? Well, it takes a little more than that, because you have to balance, hold on to the handlebars, look at what is in front of you, while you are at it. If you miss any of these steps, you are most likely going to fall.

Where I come from, falling and getting a few bruises is all part of the process of learning how to ride a bike.

No one teaches you how to achieve the right balance, because no one knows how to teach that. There are people who know how to teach you to center yourself, and most successful dance instructors fit the bill. So, when you ask someone to teach you how to ride a bicycle, they get you on top of one, push you off and wish you luck.

In essence, you teach yourself while they watch.

Another scenario, one which has become more common these days is that of smartphones and adults. Most adults of a certain age struggle with navigating new smart devices or any number of the many apps that they come with. While many of the younger generation whose help they enlist are quite fluent with the devices or the apps, they struggle with breaking down the information such that others understand. So in the end, they just grab the handsets and do for the adults what they wanted to do. It’s easier that way.

The two scenarios I have painted above expose what is commonly known as ‘the curse of expertise’. You know it, you understand it, you want to teach someone else, but you cannot.

This, this curse of expertise, is the reason why most parents are unable to teach their children schoolwork. They know these things, they learnt them and mastered them, and they know how easy it is to do it. But when it comes to teaching their children how to do it, how to breakdown mathematical problems in order to solve them, or how to construct sentences, among many other things, they gravitate between extreme leniency and impatience.

They either become so linient that they take over the work and complete it for the child. Before the current crisis that has forced children out of school, this was only limited to homework. Parents would takeover their children’s homework, complete the homework, while asking for affirmations of understanding from the minor, who will only nod. At this point, it is no longer limited to homework, because these parents now have to teach more than homework.

The other side is that of extreme impatience. Parents failing to understand how a child can fail to comprehend such easy concepts. The result is parents shouting instructions at the child and increasingly getting frustrated at the child’s inability to grasp the concepts.

Many parents, naturally, will feel bad when they realise that that’s what they are doing. But, the truth is, they are trying to do a job they are equipped to do. Despite all their good intentions, they cannot teach because they are not teachers.

C.S Chiwanza
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

AdministratorWhy Most Parents Struggle to Teach
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