Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chickens, Babies and Goodbyes

BFGO has experienced much in the past year... great things and hard ones.

We struggled as an organization through some fundraisers. We bit our nails and gritted our teeth as our Zimbabwe Poultry Project kept getting more and more expensive. We celebrated the great news that Marlena, from Zimbabwe, gets to remain in high school here in the USA - but still without funding, and then most recently, our Zimbabwe orphanage is going through two major changes: 1) Many of the older children are completing school and aging out. A hard reality! 2) Social Welfare in Zimbabwe continues to bring babies and toddlers into the orphanage...lots of them.

Our Zim Chicken Project has finally opened for business and we are so grateful. It will take a little while for it to turn a profit for the orphanage but we are well on our way.  To recap, because it has been a long while, BFGO established a water source and electricity, and then we provided all of the funds to construct a large building that includes 3 interior chicken coops. We purchased a generator and provided for various systems to be put into place to feed and water the chickens. Someone else outside of BFGO also donated some funds and they finally have chickens. The photos below are from the day that the chickens were delivered. Please rejoice with us - this has been a long and difficult but amazing project to be part of. We owe so much gratitude to the various people who contributed approximately $16,000 of the $20,000 to complete it.

Our next big thing happening in Zimbabwe is LOTS OF BABIES!
Our orphanage partner has been flooded with babies and toddlers. Social Welfare takes in children that have been abandoned and they find placements for them in orphanages. Our older kiddos are moving out due to age and those spots are filled with precious little ones. Several of these kiddos were abandoned roadside and others found in the brush. Our youngest was placed at just 7 days old. As a result, our board member, Elaine Smith, went to Zimbabwe and spent 9 weeks caring for them around the clock and to develop a baby/toddler program. A caregiver was hired and also trained. We currently have more kiddos than the homes have room for, but that is often the African way. There is not enough money to fund their formula and diaper needs, so this is an emergent need. We've established a baby fund at our website for donations. The photos below are a few of our newest residents.

Finally, a large number of our Zim orphans are completing school this Christmas and it will be time for them to exit the program. Our orphanage director has already worked tirelessly to help find many of them jobs and placements. In fact, several of those kids are already working at markets during the night and still going to school all day, while maintaining their studies and their chores. They earn very little money, but with a 95% unemployment rate in Zimbabwe, we believe that any opportunity is valuable.  This is one of the hardest aspects to this type of work - having to let kids go, but it's mandatory per social welfare. A few of the kiddos have achieved academic excellence, and for those, we desperately want to help them go on to higher learning opportunities in Zim or abroad. 

Please consider partnering with BFGO in one of the following ways:
1). Sponsor a specific child. You can research our kiddos over at the website.
2). Don't want to sponsor a specific kiddo? You may choose our Zimbabwe Orphanage partner via the website and set up a monthly donation of any amount. Your donation will be allocated directly to their greatest needs.
3). If you believe in the work of BFGO and want to offer your general financial support, you may set up a one-time or recurring monthly donation of any amount into our Greatest Need Fund.
4). If you feel compelled to help specifically with education costs for the kids who are aging out, you may make a one-time donation, or monthly recurring of any amount into our education fund.

All of these can be established at our website by clicking onto the donate tab, decide on the amount you want to give, and then choose the fund you desire by clicking the drop down menu. It's so simple and yet so impactful. You may visit our website HERE. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our updates. We continue to be deeply grateful for every engaged heart. God bless your tenderness and generosity.

Melissa Irwin and the BFGO Team