|Services||Shelter, Counselling ,Community,Engagement|
The Mathew Rusike Children's home (MRCH) is an orphanage that houses homeless children. The home is situated in Harare.
The Matthew Rusike Children's Home Childcare initiative was influenced by the work of the late Rev. Matthew Jacha Rusike who worked tirelessly for the benefit of the less privileged children. Rev. Rusike helped the church to establish a residential care facility for orphaned and vulnerable children in Epworth, 15km east of Harare in 1960.
The facility was registered in the year 1968, as the African Children's Home in terms of the Welfare Organisation Act (W/C 463/68). It was essentially providing residential care facilities for orphaned and vulnerable children. The home operates a multifaceted programme that combines residential care and community-based orphan care initiatives in response to the growing number of children in need of care.
To protect, care and provide for the well-being of children and mobilize community capacity to help them realize their full potential.
- To provide holistic and therapeutic family reconstruction services for separated children.
- To run effective transitional programmes for children leaving care and those who are heading families.
- To create a monitored childcare environment that will allow staff to spend as much quality time as possible with the children especially their own groups.
- To run an individual childcare plan based on the child’s uniqueness and their specific needs.
- To promote foster care and adoption as effective alternatives to institutionalization.
- To train and support foster carers and adoptive parents and empower them in childcare and HIV and AIDS issues.
- To equip the children with vocational skills and assist them to take an active role in the national economy.
- To facilitate appropriate community-based orphan care initiatives in line with the statutory orphan care policy and so decentralize childcare activities to all the MCZ districts and circuits.
- To run relevant staff development programmes.
- To cooperate and network with other interested organizations in promoting the welfare of all children.
The MRCH is a legal entity registered in terms of the Private Voluntary Organizations Act and its residential care facilities are registered in terms of the Children’s Act. It is run by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe who is the responsible authority, with the direct governance of the Board Governors appointed annually by the church conference. The Board is composed of highly experienced professionals from varied disciplines that include accountancy, medicine, education, clergy, law and social science. Well, as discuss any other issues pertinent to the development of MRCH childcare initiatives.
In order to provide focused and comprehensive direction to management, the Board is divided into five smaller committees of about four professionals each to assist the National Director in the following areas:
- Health and child welfare.
- Financial Management.
- Public Relations and Human Resources Management.
The Board sits every three months to consider recommendations from the various sub-committees and the National Director as well as discuss any other issues pertinent to the development of MRCH childcare initiatives. The National Director, who works in close liaison with the Board’s five specialized committees, directs the day-to-day management of the institution.
MRCH successfully completed the transformation from dormitory-based care to small group living facilities that resemble the normal community households. The institution established housing units each of which houses an average of ten children and two semi-independent facilities for young adults preparing for leaving care.The children are taken care of by a “caregiver” or house parent who besides catering for the upkeep of the children provides effective day-to-day counselling.
Tariro means hope, is under the care of Lillian Zanze. Lillian has worked for MRCH for the past 21 years. The oldest child in the family is Martha Sacharo who is 16 years old and the baby of the house “Blessed” is 6 months old.
Ruvimbo/ Faith house
Ruvimbo house which means faith. The mother of the house is Fungayi Tunha. She has been with MRCH for the past 13 years providing effective day-to-day counselling.
Mufaro Joy House
Mufaro (Joy) is the third housing unit. The caregiver or mother in this house is Linnet Marugasi. Linnet joined MRCH in 1988.
Shalom/ Peace House
Shalom (peace) house is in the care of Mercy Mashorokoto. Mercy is also one of the longest-serving member of staff who has been with MRCH throughout its various transformations. She join the home in 1984. Provides effective day-to-day counseling.
Grace house is under the care of Chishamiso Muzunze. She joined the home in 1994. She is the youngest caregiver and has ten children in her care.
Hope house also known as House Six is manned by Tellmore Tambudze who has been with the home for the past 13 years.
The babies unit houses children under the age of two except one girl Margret Mudzingwa who is eight years old. There are two caregivers in this unit, Mrs. Mildred Kadyautare and Mrs. Alice Shokobishi, who has been with the home for two years now.
Community Based Care
Community-Based Orphan Care Programme /Outreach Programme
The Community Based Care Programme (CBC) was initiated as a response to the growing number of orphaned and vulnerable children in society. In line with modern trends, which have proven that children grow better when assisted in their natural environment as compared to those placed in an institution, MRCH has managed to decentralize its operations to various Methodist Church in Zimbabwe districts throughout the country.
The CBC programmes are done with the help of community caregivers who work tirelessly on a voluntary basis in their communities. The volunteers undergo specialized caregivers training by MRCH and refresher workshops to equip them with skills in childcare work. The roles of the MRCH trained caregivers include the following:
- Identifying and assessing the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities,
- Compiling database for children in need of care,
- Visiting orphaned and vulnerable children and attending to their needs,
- Compiling reports on childcare work in areas of their jurisdiction,
- Advocacy and lobbying for orphans and vulnerable children in their communities,
- Encouraging community participation in the care of children.
MRCH is thus, effectively consolidating its CBC programmes in Harare East, Harare West, Gweru, Marondera and Bulawayo Districts. The home is working towards extending its services comprehensively to all the areas in Zimbabwe. MRCH CBC programme enrolled over 7000 children in various interventions such as school fees, food, clothing, rentals and medication. MRCH set up Community resource centres across the country where they used church facilities for the Psycho-Social Support services. In this regard, the facility at MRCH Epworth also serves as a Community Resource Centre for the children in and around the Epworth Community. This programme saw at least 50 orphaned and vulnerable children being assisted on a daily basis at each of these centres. Children are assisted with guided play and games, counseling, supervision of homework, health checks and provision of supplementary feeding. Thus, the Methodist church approved the use of its church buildings by MRCH as resource centres for children during weekdays and for church services on Sundays.
Community Health Programme
Alongside the CBC programme, MRCH also has a Community Health Programme in place that assists children who are chronically ill, mainly due to HIV and AIDS, in all these communities we support. Most of the children are orphaned due to HIV and AIDS hence some of them are also infected. In the last half of the year 2010, MRCH Community Health Workers attended to over 300 cases from the communities that it works with. She also helps the parents and guardians of these children with relevant nutritional and health education. Most of these cases are of home-based care nature. The Community Health Worker is therefore required to visit most of these patients and attend to them in their homes or assist them to get to the nearest health centre whenever possible.