Zimbabwe was once the “breadbasket” of Africa: a country that produced so much food, it was used by the United Nations as a source of food relief in the region. But today, it is one of the world’s poorest countries. Despite some positive developments in recent years, many people remain in the grip of long-term poverty and starvation caused by a period of massive inflation and the destruction of the country’s agricultural sector.
Zimbabwe has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, and Christian leaders and congregations have been among the many victims of President Mugabe’s ruinous oppression. The octogenarian president has been in power since the country became independent in 1980. A referendum on a new constitution that is intended as a step towards democratic reform is due to be held in March 2013.
Barnabas Aid is supporting Christians in Zimbabwe in two ways: by providing food parcels to alleviate the hunger and starvation amongst Christians and by supplying seeds and training local people how to farm their land in a more productive way, based on principles of Christian discipleship.
The feeding project provides monthly parcels of essentials to the neediest Zimbabwean Christians, including widows and orphans. The agricultural training project then assists people who used to receive food parcels to move on to becoming self-sufficient. Because the farming methods it teaches are less labour-intensive than traditional ones, they are ideal for elderly widows or child-headed families as well as others.