Matthew Rusike Children’s Home 2022 Booklet
Greetings in the name of our crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ! It is that time of the year when we come together as a people called Methodists to celebrate the establishment of the Matthew Rusike Children’s Home. This year, we are celebrating Matthew Rusike Children’s Home Week as we contemplate a life in a Post Covid 19 era, praying that 2022 will hold better prospects to return to some level of normalcy.
The COVID 19 scourge has left many children within our communities orphaned, a development that subsequently, calls the Church to take heed of the true religion that God accepts, which is, “to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
This booklet is meant to give us a synopsis of the work that is being done at Matthew Rusike Children’s Home and the challenges the Home is facing. It is also meant to remind and challenge us, as individuals, families, circuits, societies, church organizations to take up our role of taking care of the vulnerable children in our communities through supporting the work that is being done at the Home. The booklet is also meant to help us to appreciate that helping the marginalized and vulnerable members of our society is a fulfilment of our Mission of “Transforming lives through a holistic approach grounded in scriptural principles.”
May God continue to bless us as we remember that “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord- and He will repay you!” (Proverbs 19:17).
Rev W Dimingu
Day 1 A Christ-woven nest for orphans and vulnerable children
James 1: 27
Matthew Rusike Children’s Home is a Methodist church run institution founded by the late Rev Matthew Jacha Rusike who worked tirelessly for the benefit of the less privileged children in the 1960s. The facility was registered in the year 1968, as the African Children’s Home in terms of the Private Voluntary Organizations Act (PVO 463/68). It essentially provides residential care facilities for orphaned and vulnerable children and community-based orphan care initiatives in response to the growing number of children in need of care.
Matthew Rusike Children’s Home (MRCH) has developed into one of the largest child welfare organizations in Zimbabwe, with carrying capacity of 100 children of ages 0 to 18 years in its Residential care facilities and a further 1000 Community Based Orphan Care Schemes, and employing a staff compliment of 24 in its childcare services.
The children under residential care are placed in the home through the Government department of Social Development.
Vision: A Christ-woven nest for orphans and vulnerable children.
Mission: We exist to transform lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe through biblical teaching, nurturing and training into adaptive and responsible God-fearing citizens.
Residential care: Matthew Rusike has a residential care facility for children in Epworth town,15 km east of the capital Harare. The 100 children at the home are shared among 8 housing units where they live as families under a care giver resembling a normal family set up. We provide them with shelter, food, health, clothes, education, love, care, counselling, pastoral care and survival skills. We also run poultry, piggery and garden projects to supplement on food needs and generate income.
We run a clinic which is manned by a qualified and state registered health officer and is responsible for primary health care for our children.
Matthew Rusike Children’s Home has got an early childhood development centre with 60 children attending learning programs. The ECD centre caters for our infants who integrate with children from the neighbouring community. 35 of our primary school children go to Epworth and Widdecombe primary schools. 35 secondary school children go to Matthew Rusike college, Epworth High, Waddilove, Chemhanza and Kwenda schools. Our 2021 November O Level candidates came up with 4A, 3B, 2C and 3A, 4B, 2C apiece. 2 are in Advanced Level class. We also have 2 undergraduate first year students at University of Zimbabwe and ZEGU, studying Forensic Accounts and Social Work respectively.
Community Childcare Program Donga and Mzinyathi
Matthew Rusike Children’s Home is running a community childcare program in Matebeleland South and Midlands spearheaded by the two centres at Mzinyathi and Donga. 51 children are receiving educational support at Donga since 2019.
Programming in Mzinyathi will resume soon.
Foster care Program
We are running a foster care program in the following circuits: Wedza, Kwenda, Sadza. Chideme, Kwekwe for over 10 years. We have 44 trained and registered Foster parents who looks after our children during school holidays and take our children without traceable relatives after discharge.
Matthew Rusike College started as a study group in 2012 under the leadership of Mr Astonishment Mapurisa (MRCH Former National Director) with the aim of assisting our children who were struggling in education. Members from the surrounding community joined in the study group until it grew in numbers to be registered as a private college in 2014. The college continued in the growth trajectory and in 2018 the Methodist Conference put in place a board of governors to oversee the running of the college. The college transformed from a welfare approach to a business model and became a stand alone entity from the Home in 2019 with an obligation to support the Home financially.
1 Do you have circuit/society coordinators for Matthew Rusike?
2 What are the duties and responsibilities of MRCH Coordinators?
3 You can be a Friend of MRCH and support the care of vulnerable children. Get in touch with coordinators and staff for more information.
Day 2 Children in conflict situations Genesis 21: 15-20
The Genesis 21 story is a devastating story of desperate waiting. The story unfolds with Abraham and Sarah waiting for the fulfilment of God’s Promise of children and wealth. The waiting went on so prolonged until Abraham and Sarah reached advanced stage of age. Out of desperation Sarah decided to give her maid to Abraham to bear her children. In any case this was an acceptable custom in the ancient Eastern world. Abraham gave in and a child was born, Ishmael, with Hagar the maid servant. It is at that point that God came to fulfil His promise and gave Sarah a son Isaac. This resulted in Hagar and the son Ishmael being chased away. Hagar went out into the wilderness with the child. When the food she had was finished she went into desperation.
There are four childcare stories all tied together on desperation as represented by the two women; Sarah and Hagar.
Scenario 1 Barrenness
Sarah found herself in a desperate situation when she could not bear a child for Abraham. She came up with a plan, not driven by choice but by desperation, to give her maid servant to Abraham to a wife and bear her children.
Scenario 2 Genesis 16:15
Hagar gave Abraham a son Ishmael. That created a desperate situation of hatred, jealous and anger.
Scenario 3 Genesis 21:2
God remembered Sarah and gave her a Son, Isaac. Tables were turned around creating a desperate situation for Hagar and her son Ishmael. Home is characterized by fights, hatred and revenge
Scenario 4 Genesis 21:14
Hagar and the son Ishmael are chased out of the family of Abraham. They are in a desperate situation where they lack the family provisions of basic necessities for survival like food, shelter, security, love, care, relations and entitlements.
Children are at the centre of the Abraham’s family turmoil. They are the victim of circumstances and are at the receiving end. The pre-birth environment is a crisis of expectations. Abraham and Sarah made serious blunders in an attempt to solve their desperate situation of childlessness. The two children, Ishmael and Isaac are born in the midst of a crisis, in a toxic environment were relations are strained.
We have children at Matthew Rusike and in our communities who come from similar environments of families in conflict. They are victims of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual), torture, neglect and abandonment. They require love, care, healing, rehabilitation and nurturing. Hence our Mission: To Transform lives of orphans and vulnerable children through biblical nurturing, teaching and training into adaptive and responsible God fearing citizens.
1 Discuss situations were you find children caught up in the cross fire of family conflicts? Communities in turmoil? Institutions? National and world disorder?
2 How can the church help children in such circumstances?
Day 3 The role of the church in the lives of children Luke2:52
Experience sharing from a former child Tapiwa Goronga (2022 candidate for Itinerant Ministry)
Matthew Rusike Children’s Home takes care of children from 0-18 in line with the statutes of the land. Some of the children are re-unified with parents or relatives (depending on the circumstances), adopted or put under foster care. When they attain the age of 18 they are discharged from the Home. Tapiwa was raised at Matthew Rusike, he is a young adult and is a candidate for the itinerant Ministry in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. If he succeeds, he will be the first Methodist Minister coming from Matthew Rusike Children’s Home. A brief conversation on his experience is shared below.
1 What period have you been at MRCH?
∙ I was at Matthew Rusike Children’s Home for 11 years
2 How was life like in general?
∙ The life at Matthew Rusike was a life full of memories. A life of highs and lows due to adaptability challenges, learning to interact and live with children from different backgrounds was not easy. However the mothers were very caring.
3 What questions did you battle with?
∙ The question I battle with is most is , How did it happen that I ended up at MRCH?. The issue of coping up with the outside world which I was not used to. The future of the vision that was established, where would it be in the next 50 years? Will the church be able to continue supporting the cause? Questions of sustainability of livelihoods of children and ancillary staff and the standard of the Home?
4 What were the joys and sorrows?
∙ The trips and the interaction with Sponsors from Qantas cabin crew, while the sorrows were encountered during school holidays when others will be going for Holidays while some of us some times we were left behind. The other thing was the stigma issue when notices were being given in churches when sourcing donations for the Home. I got annoyed by expressions like: “nherera dzedu” (our orphans), “Kunherera kumusha wedu” (our home for orphans) it made me feel as if I am still lonely. Even at school “vana vehome” (children from the orphanage) this was so embarrassing.
5 What regrets do you have for your time at MRCH?
∙ My regrets at MRCH will be regretting on missing life opportunities that were presented to the home with different stakeholders for the children to explore their talents.
6 What contribution did MRCH make to your life?
∙ The Home moulded me to be who I am. My passion in serving others through the word of God was developed at Matthew Rusike. To a greater extent, my life was shaped by principles of the home, Leadership, responsibility, respectfulness, integrity, I do not know where I could have been if it was not for MRCH.
7 What message do you give to MRCH?
∙ My message to the MRCH, The world is in a state of confusion, you are obliged to nurture the children who are under your care in order for them to face and conquer the challenges in the world. The little things that you think are little they are a great blessing to others, God is watching, some will not be able to appreciate but God will reward you.
8 What is your message to the outside world?
∙ The world should not sympathise with those in orphanage rather it should embrace them and prepare them to face the reality of the world, the dynamics of life in which they will end up in. Policies and programs must be developed to offer equal opportunities to all children in spite of their circumstances so that they can fully exploit their potential.
1 The church has changed lives of many children through Matthew Rusike Children’s Home since 1950s. How can we improve in our service delivery? Kindly put forward your contributions through MRCH Coordinators in circuits, visit our Facebook page and share or contact us through our email on email@example.com
2 How can churches assist discharged children in their integration process into the society?
Day 4 The mother’s love Psalm 82:3-4
Experience from the mothers at MRCH
Matthew Rusike children’s Home consists of 8 housing units were children live under the care of a mother/House Parent. The 8 House mothers are responsible for care, love and protection of children 24/7 ensuring that they have food, clothes, go to school, have done their home work, are in good health, have time to play, pray and sleep. Each House mother looks after 10-12 children. A Voluntary relief mother come in their place when they go for off days or vacation leave. The following is a conversation with 3 of the mothers.
How long have you served at Matthew Rusike?
10 years as a voluntary relief mother, 6 and 15 years as caregivers
What is life like in general at MRCH?
So far so good, though sometimes we face challenges of resources and behavioural challenges of children.
What are the joys and sorrows?
It is a source of joy to look after children whom you do not have biological ties with and yet they obey, respect and love you. We enjoy the working conditions and being with the children. The fact that we nurture our children following Christian principles is also a source of joy. Our sorrows normally emanates from our encounter with children who misbehave.
We also had an unfortunate incident a few years ago when a child under our care passed away. The experience of losing a child by death was devastating.
What is your contribution to Matthew Rusike?
Part of our contribution to Matthew Rusike is look after them through Christian standards, love them, provide health care and encourage them to go to school. Help them to grow physically, spiritually, academically through the help of our Lord Jesus Christ. Train them to do all house hold duties and to work in the fields and in the garden. We also help them to behave well as they grow.
What is your message to the children?
Our message to the children is that they must respect those who guide them and work hard in school. They must be strong and courageous to face the challenges in life regardless of their background they can excel. They must humble themselves before God and their elders and have vision and focus. They must be obedient, goal oriented, strive to know God and be able to do various jobs.
What is your message to the outside world?
Our message to the outside world is that they must take care of their children and those of their relatives. They must not abandon or neglect these children. We also want to tell the world that Matthew Rusike children are just like any other child out there who need love and care. If you can help us with resources to provide for their needs we would appreciate greatly. More importantly one’s background does not determine one’s destiny.
1 How can the church support the work of House Parents at Matthew Rusike?
2 How can the church extend its mission work on children in communities?
3 We can participate in various ways for the betterment of children at MRCH. What service do you volunteer towards work at Matthew Rusike?
Day 5 Understanding God’s heart on children Matthew 18:1-6
From The Chaplain’s Desk Rev F Mhlanga.
Hymn 235 in Shona reflects on the will of Jesus Christ concerning Children. The disciples tried to block children from coming to Jesus but Jesus came to their rescue and summoned them to come to him.
Vs5 “And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me.” We are encouraged to welcome and show love to children as a sign of welcoming God. We are compelled to take children from Matthew Rusike into our homes through the Foster care program and afford them an opportunity to experience and learn natural family life. If we open our homes to these children in need we are responding to God’s call and doing His will.
Vs 6 “But if anyone causes any one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” God does not want these children to be harmed.
We harm these children through various ways like:
i Rejecting them
ii Denying them good shelter
iii Not providing them with health food
iv Denying them any opportunity to receive good education
v Not training them on survival life skills
vi Emotional abuse
vii Verbal abuse
viii Physical abuse
ix Not clothing them adequately
We learn from the word of God that we must do everything that brings joy and good life to children and by doing so, we do the will of God. In order for us to do the will of God on children we must also consider the following:
a Providing them with healthy food
b Clothing them appropriately against poor weather conditions
c Giving them an opportunity and access to good education
d Good communication
e Avoid all forms of abuse
f Providing good shelter
Exodus 22: 22-24 Clearly reveals what is in the heart of God concerning orphans and widows. Widows are also a vulnerable group in the society. It is therefore our divine duty to respond to the will of God and assist orphans and widows. Our children at Matthew Rusike require our support through.
l Paying for their school fees
l Providing with food
l Taking them into our homes during holidays through Foster care program
l Providing counselling services, mentorship etc.
In conclusion, we are duty bound to do good to all the children we come across all the time and fulfil the will of God. Here are few reflections from some authors concerning children who are orphans:
Russell Moore, “Genuine faith shelters the orphan.”
David Platt, “We care for orphans not because we are their rescuers, but because we are the rescued.”
Day 6 Lets support childcare ministry Jeremiah 49: 11, Acts 20: 35
MRCH Areas of need
a) Financial and material support
l Establishment: The home accommodates 100 children in its full capacity
l Staff MRCH has staff establishment of 23 dedicated, skilled and committed personnel offering services in childcare, admin and project section. About 15% of the budget goes towards their remuneration and upkeep. Sometimes they go for months without pay because resources are not enough.
l Budget: MRCH has an annual Budget of $597000 usd whose source is entirely donations from well wishers in cash or kind serve for a 10% contribution from the project section and fundraising efforts during Matthew Rusike Day, Marathon and dinner dance. $49750usd is required per month for a smooth running of the Home.
l Unit budget: A child need $15 per day for shelter, food, clothes, medication and education.
l We need blankets and clothes (for ages 0-18, for boys and girls, including winter clothes), school uniforms, sports wear, shoes and toiletries.
l We also need tablets, text books for all levels of education, stationery, bibles, hymn books, story books, fiction, sporting items and toys.
b) Infrastructure repairs and maintenance
l This is a critical area that requires urgent attention considering that some of the buildings are now too old.
l Electrical repairs (lights, wiring, fridges, stoves etc)
l Roof leaks, ceilings
l Cupboards and wardrobe repairs
c) Business unit support
l To supplement on food budget and income generation the Home is running agro-based projects in poultry, piggery, fishery, market gardening and rabbits.
l Our call for support is in business advisory and partnerships.
d) Needs at our community centres Donga in Shurugwi and Mzinyathi in Matebeleland South
l Solar powered boreholes
l Infrastructure repairs and maintenance
l School fees and food items
e) Appeal for sponsorship towards an Educational and Recreational trip of our children to Kariba in August 2022 at a cost of $100usd per child.
f) Expert services towards childcare
l Counselling (Pastoral, rehabilitative, psychological, medical etc)
l Teaching academic and skills
Day 7 Sunday service: Waiting upon the Lord Isaiah 40:31
MRCH BIG SUNDAY: WORD, FELLOWSHIP AND FUNDRAISING FOR OUR HOME
l We are coming together for the cause of children after 2 years of non-activity as a result of Covid19 pandemic.
l We thank God for taking care of us throughout the difficult moments and moreso for protecting us from Covid19.
l Let us hear God speaking to us through the preacher of this great day for children at Matthew Rusike.
l We also have an opportunity to fellowship with our children and each other after two years of lock-downs and restrictions. Our children spent the better part of the 2 years locked up in these walls. As a result we are planning for a recreational trip for our children to Kariba in August 2022 at a cost of $100usd per child.
l Lets bring our donations in cash and kind. As we bring our donations let us remember that we have 3 MRCH centres, Residential care in Epworth, Community based care centres in Donga Shurugwi and Mzinyathi in Matebeleland South.
l We are also encouraged to participate in the fundraising activities that are lined up.
Banking Details for Financial Support:
First Capital Bank Nostro Account 21573675029
Domestic FCA 21573675142
ZWL Account 21576290535
Ecocash Merchant code 1512274930*Amount# Matthew Rusike Children’s Home
ZESA Account for tokens 37131484711