giving totals

Total funding goal: $5,000

Total funding to date: $5,085

Remaining goal: $-85

Total Donors: 26

Vanavevhu - Children of the Soil

Vanavevhu is a U.S. based organization dedicated to assisting those children who have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Zimbabwe and have, of necessity, become the family head taking care of siblings. These children, who are primarily young girls, are

Project start date: 05/13/2011

Project completion date: 05/13/2012

Enterprising Youth-Led Social Initiative

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Operating in the African country of Zimbabwe, Vanavevhu (Shona for “children of the soil”) provides support in the way of food, health care and education, as well as targeted training, to promote the financial self-sufficiency of child-headed households affected by the AIDS pandemic and the economic and political crisis in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe. Vanavevhu is dedicated to the financial self sufficiency of child headed families and the development of these at-risk youth through education and training that will ensure a measurable socioeconomic improvement in their lives. Vanavevhu gives child heads the chance to overcome the obstacles they face as a consequence of the AIDS pandemic, economic crisis and political uncertainty. 

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Stahl Family Foundation

Amount: $2,500

Status: Matched

Processed: 2016-02-17

Where this project is located

Info about Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is located in central Southern Africa surrounded by Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, and South Africa. With a population of 12 million, Zimbabwe has the lowest age for women's life expectancy recorded at 34 in 2007. Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city and has a population of 1.5 million.

Project Milestones

  • Successfully reached 5 years of working with youth heads of household 
  • Received $50,000 worth of matching grants from US Rotary Clubs and the Rotary Foundation for infrastructure development on our 5 acres 
  • Established a for profit company V2 Enterprises a multi-dimensional youth-led social enterprise 
  • Employed 4 of the youth from our first 2 cohorts to work in the enterprise and support the youth participants still in the program 


The reality is that youth in Sub-Saharan Africa are desperate for employment and access to income-generating activities in order to sustain themselves and thus their communities.  There are too few opportunities for youth to work, largely because they possess very few skills and no industry where they might gain employment and learn a trade.  

Education systems available to not take into consideration the needs and interests of today's youth.  African governments invest heavily in formal primary educations but fall short in supporting secondary education.  In the context of rebuilding a failed state, it is clear we are too invested in education systems that promote philosophers at a time where artisans are needed.  We must develop unconventional education models for secondary school-age youth that will combine skills training with contextualized literacy.  Our objective is to create a Social Enterprise that will provide youth who are primary care givers with a source of income and a life skill. 

More Information

Vanavevhu was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Illinois in 2007 and is registered as a community-based trust in Zimbabwe. Vanavevhu began operations in 2010 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city when it welcomed ten child heads of families to participate in the program. Since then, ten families have been added each year and today Vanavevhu directly benefits more than 100 family members from 21 child-headed households.

Vanavevhu currently supports 21 child-headed households for a total of 120 children.  Each family receives a monthly grocery allotment and assistance to pay their utilities and school fees.  Our youth heads of household attend programming 4 days a week where they learn everything from Household Management to Small Business development.   
Our strategy has been to utilize direct interventions to break down the systemic barriers that have disallowed child-heads to set out on paths to becoming full and contributing members of society.   

We are unique in our approach because we recognize and acknowledge the decision-making role of the youth-heads.  We help these youth acquire the basic (life) skills needed to succeed in work and life through training that offers a mixture of basic and technical skills.  Many child-heads cannot complete formal education and thus our program offers an alternative to traditional education.  The benefit of this approach has been improved social and interaction skills in the youth - they are more confident and their self-esteem is significantly increased.  The youth have a greater sense of control over their lives and fell a greater part of the community.