|UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe Festo Kavishe thanks German Ambassador Karin E. Blumberger-Sauerteig for her government's contribution as children Brenda and Tinashe look on.|
By James Elder
ZIMBABWE, 26 February 2007 – Tinashe was just eight when he lost his mother to AIDS. His father disappeared soon after her burial, leaving Tinashe and his younger brother in the care of their ailing grandmother. For the next year the family struggled, sometimes getting handouts from neighbours, though mostly going for days without any food.
“I was miserable when my mother died,” says Tinashe, now 13. “But when my dad dumped us I thought that was the end for me and my brother.” His mouth quivers as he talks: “I was always hungry during the day and shared one tattered blanket with my brother at night.”
Today, Tinashe is in seventh grade and can confidently share the stage with the German Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Karin Blumberger- Sauerteig, UNICEF’s Representative in Zimbabwe, Dr. Festo Kavishe, and high-ranking government officials, as he did last week.
Without the slightest hesitation, the young man talked about the plight of orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe and articulated how their lives can be improved. He conveyed his gratitude to Ms. Blumberger-Sauerteig and received a standing ovation when he vowed to become a UNICEF Representative when he grows up.
Giving youth a future
Tinashe was speaking at the handover for the largest donation ever from the Government of Germany to UNICEF Zimbabwe. The investment ─ $23.5 million ─ comes at a decisive moment.
As Zimbabwe’s children suffer from an orphan crisis that risks depriving them of the chance for education and good health, the German donation promises to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.
As Tinashe left the stage, he was embraced by the German Ambassador. “It is children such as Tinashe who drive us,” she said. “He is the future architect of a Zimbabwe where all children live a happy and healthy life – free from hunger, disease and fear.”
The Federal President of Germany, Horst Köhler, also remarked on the plight of children in Zimbabwe during his opening statement of the Africa Forum in Accra in January. “If we do not give our young people such as Tinashe a future, then we have failed in the present,” he said.
Programme of Support
Under an agreement, the funds from the German Government will go to Zimbabwe’s Programme of Support and then be used for: