We are now 6 weeks into our programme and things are in full swing. We are carrying out psycho-social support (PSS) sessions every week teaching the kids about child rights, sexual reproductive health and HIV and Aids. We have many exciting things planned for the final few weeks of our project, and it’s dawned on us all that our time here is quickly coming to an end and our ICS journey will be over sooner than we think. 

One of the projects we have been working on is setting up an income generating activity (IGA) with one of our beneficiaries. We managed to find her (beneficiary) through our link with the Rehabilitation Centre in Sukubva, as they run an after school club; a young boy called Tafadzwa attends this school club and he is currently living with his Aunt. Both his parents have passed away. This leaves both his aunt and him in a vulnerable position as they struggle to maintain a sustainable living environment. Controversy, Natalie and I got the chance to do a home visit, and her living space was extremely limited and it really made us think about some of the poor living conditions some people have and how in need  people are. The previous ICS cycle managed to raise enough money to send Tafadzwa to school, but this was only for a term, so for Tafadzwa to carry on going to school we’ve helped the aunt set up her own IGA in order to raise enough money to send Tafadzwa to school again.  The aunt (Hazvi) came up with the idea of selling sadza at a market place close to town. She came up with the idea and the location and presented us with a proposal of how she wanted to start her business. 

She was given an initial $150 in order to set up her business which provided her with enough money to gather the right resources and materials to start off the IGA. 

Controversy, Natalie and I worked closely with her helping assess the proposal, working out her budget, and creating a sustainable business plan. It was extremely rewarding and heart-warming getting to know her and building a relationship with her. We helped her with simple business skills and different aspects of running a sustainable business. 

After many proposal writing, financial planning and cash flow analysis sessions it was finally time to buy the equipment and for the business to start! It was a mad dash around town, in the blazing Zimbabwe sun trying to collect all the equipment needed, from sadza servers to chilli sauce and vegetables. After hours of trailing round the markets and a number of kombi rides later, we had everything we needed and the business was ready to start.

Our plan was finally coming together and it was a great feeling, knowing that our hard work was paying off, and we all felt we had achieved something. It was extremely rewarding to see the joy and excitement of not only the beneficiary, but also the ICS team.  

The time had come for the business to begin and Hazvi was now all set up and ready to start on her new business. After a few days, we went back to visit her stall to see how she was getting on and see the progress she’d made.  It was so lovely to see that our hard work had paid off and she was busy cooking sadza for her costumers.  It was such an incredible feeling to be a part of a project like this, and so rewarding to be part of the whole process. 

As Progressio ICS volunteers we hope to seek out and identify other possible beneficiaries to work with and set up other IGA’s in the future. So now it’s time to branch out and help other families who may be in need. 

Written by Molly Smith