L–R: Precious, Tsitsi, and Ronald at their old home outside Harare, Zimbabwe.
Ten-year-old Precious reunited with her father earlier this year after an eight-year separation. Until now, Zimbabwean law did not permit children under 18 to visit anyone in prison—even their incarcerated parent.
But through the tireless work of Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe, the law was reversed for Precious and four other families of prisoners in our child sponsorship program.
This a breakthrough for children of prisoners in Zimbabwe. Maintaining a connection with their incarcerated parent creates emotional stability, by helping them know their parent is safe, present, and still cares about them.
Precious and her four siblings were abandoned when their father was sent away. Their mother Jacquelyn suffered a debilitating stroke under the stress of working and caring for five children alone.
Mother Jacqueline immobilized after a stroke, forcing her 5 children to fend for themselves.
Jacqueline eventually moved to town where her sister could care for her, leaving her children to squat illegally in a rundown, two-room hut in a maize field.
The children's home in the middle of a maize field.
“My children were so young,” says Jacquelyn. “It worried me. What would they do for food, for laundry? Could they go to school?”
Twenty-two-year-old Morgan, Precious’s oldest brother, became the man of the house when he was just 14 years old. He’s been supporting his family ever since. Worries about his future and about his siblings weigh heavily on his mind.
Lord Remember Me cares for his siblings, while brother Morgan works. L–R: Precious, Lord Remember Me, Tsitsi, Ronald.
While Morgan works, 17-year-old Lord Remember Me cooks and cleans. For a long time, the children lived on a maize flour dish called nshima. Occasionally, they also had a few vegetables and were lucky to eat twice a day.
The children's makeshift kitchen at their old home.
“Some of the time we are afraid,” says 13-year-old Ronald. “The most frightening thing was mum was not around.”
Now enrolled in the child sponsorship program, the children’s situation is dramatically improved.
We helped them qualify for government-funded housing and build a new, safer home closer to town. The children re-enrolled in school, and the family receives regular food supplements. And now, with the visitation ban reversed, they can nurture their relationship with their father and begin a journey toward emotional healing.
Tsitsi and Ronald at their old home outside Harare, Zimbabwe.
Help children like Precious and her siblings experience hope for the future.