AIDS Orphan Endeavor

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16 million children have lost parents to the AIDS pandemic spreading across Africa. Six thousand youngsters are orphaned every day. These are overwhelming statistics … but making a difference in the lives of these children may be easier than you think. A U.S.-based ministry is showing the way. Kim Riemland reports.               

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(Locator: Marange, Zimbabwe)

At 8 years old, Whisper Nyadongo is the caregiver to her family. Her father died of AIDS and her mother, Mazvita, is weak from the deadly disease.

Mazvita Nyadongo/Mother: “I felt sick since 2004 and up until now I am still struggling.”

It’s Whisper’s job now to gather firewood, cook, and tend to her 4-year-old brother Washington. The future for these children is a concern for a mother who knows she is facing death.

Mazvita Nyadongo/Mother: “School fees is one of the challenges, books, food.”

In this distressing time, she finds comfort in the United Methodist Church’s Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor--ZOE. The project provides food, clothes and an education to hundreds of children.

Today, Whisper has a chance to start school, with a new uniform and a daily lunch.

The Rev. Greg Jenks/Founder of ZOE Ministry: “Food is not only nourishment, in a lot of ways food is medicine. I’ve talked with headmasters who’ve talked of kids fainting in school because of hunger. It goes deeper than a child getting food to eat, a uniform to put on. She knows that in some way she is somebody special.”

The Rev. Greg Jenks founded “ZOE” three years ago. Thanks to donations, four and one half million meals are served per year, and 2,500 uniforms are given to students.

(Translator says for Washington): “He wants to be a conductor, a bus conductor.”

(Translator says for Whisper): “I want to be a teacher when I finish school.”

Mazvita won’t live to see her children grow up, but she does have hope for their futures.


For more information about the ZOE ministry, visit the Web site at