Monday, 16 November 2020
Operation Neighbour Care (ONC) supports holistic care for adults and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS in rural Zimbabwe by training church volunteer carers to help reduce the rate of infection, care for the sick and for vulnerable children.
Orphaned at birth on the 8th of July 2019, triplets Lucy, Louise and Lily* are flourishing into strong babies despite the myriad of challenges they have already faced in their young lives. The triplets were brought to the ONC office by their grandmother Ellie* shortly after they were born.
An ONC worker said, “It was heart-wrenching. We cried, prayed and ran around looking for milk.” The workers successfully found a few small tins of the formula to give to the newly born babies. But, the tins of formula were the very last to be found. At the time, Zimbabwe had just returned to using the local currency and availability of imported products was diminishing. Fresh milk was also very expensive and would not be a sustainable option. However, with two weeks supply of tinned formula milk, the ONC team had time to come up with an alternative solution.
The ONC team started by mobilizing the community to help these vulnerable orphans as well as their grandmother. The team praised God for His provision through members of the community supplying clothes, baby blankets and cow’s milk. They also provided much-needed spiritual and emotional support for the family. However, the ONC team were in desperate need of access to goat’s milk as it would be a healthier alternative for the babies.
The two milk goats the ONC team always turn to in these situations had run out of their milk supply. The team needed a miracle. The team approached a local farmer in the area who raises mutton goats. Praise God the farmer loaned three goats to the triplet’s grandmother Ellie, with one kid each so Lucy, Louise and Lily could get the best quality milk! Ellie, also receives practical help from her neighbours in caring for the triplets.
The ONC team taught Ellie how to sew face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist her with income generation and enable her to be more self-sufficient. Ellie’s desire is for her grandchildren to grow up healthy and go to school. Ellie is grateful to ONC for providing urgent care to the triplets. The village was also greatly encouraged by the way ONC supported Ellie and the triplets during this time.
*Names changed to protect identities. Representative image used.
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