Three lives transformed by a $20 note

A day out with Oasis ZimbabweA guest blog by Helen Smith

In a small tin-roofed house, about 3 metre square, we met Victoria (not her real name) and her 15 year old daughter. Victoria moved from a rural area to Harare 5 years ago, with her two children, after her husband abandoned her and an uncle threw them out of the family home. When the Oasis Zimbabwe Tanaka project workers found her she was barely surviving. Victoria had been reduced to sending her children to beg on the streets of Harare and they had nowhere to live. Something about Victoria prompted the worker to give her $20. Victoria used the money to buy bananas and then sell small bunches at a profit. She bought more bananas (to sell) with some of the proceeds and used the rest to rent a small shack to live in and buy food for the children, enabling them to stop begging and go to school.

Tanaka worker, Junic, talks to "Victoria" and her daughter

Tanaka worker, Junic, talks to “Victoria” and her daughter

The Tenaka project pays school fees for the children (about $25 per term) and they are both doing well there.

Without this help it is more than likely that Victoria’s daughter would have followed many others and ended up working as a prostitute on the streets of Harare. By most standards, Victoria still lives in abject poverty but she is a hard-working, hopeful mother who can keep her children safe and put food on their plates each day.