Friends of Hlekweni is a UK-based charity whose purpose is to support education and peace-building work in Zimbabwe, principally in the areas around Bulawayo and, more widely, in Matabeleland. Friends of Hlekweni also aims to help those suffering from hardship, especially young people.
Covid 19 update Emergency Appeal [dated May, 2020]
Trustees were in Zimbabwe in February, working with our partners in schools and peace building.
Zimbabwe is in lockdown now – schools are closed, food is hard to get and inflation is rampant. Water supplies in Bulawayo are very limited – 2 days out of 5. Physical distancing is difficult in townships, and on affordable transport.
We have been in touch with Friends in Bulawayo, and our partners, who tell us how difficult matters are. So, in collaboration with Southern Africa Yearly Meeting, and Friends in Bulawayo, FoH is providing emergency funding for about 25 Quaker families and to the families of the secondary bursary students we support plus some other projects, including support to an orphanage in one of the townships near Ehlekweni.
- £10 will buy 10 kg of maize meal, a packet of sugar beans, cooking oil, sugar and bars of laundry and soap.
- £10 will enable skilled local seamstresses to make sets of face masks – the Teachers’ Association is saying all children will need masks when returning to schools.
- £4 funds a month’s vital data to keep in touch during lockdown.
The World Health Organisation indicates that over 50% of the Zimbabwean population will need food aid to get through winter (May – Nov) even before Covid-19.
Please donate – details on our ‘donate’ page
Friends of Hlekweni was originally set up to support the work of the Quaker-run Friends Rural Training Centre at Hlekweni, near Bulawayo which, from 1967-2014, provided post-school training in vital occupational skills such as agriculture, building, early years education, and sewing, underpinned by Quaker values of equality, sustainability and peace. Through the generosity of many people, hundreds of trainees were helped.
Friends of Hlekweni has supported Samathonga Primary School for many years, particularly through a feeding scheme (now including breakfast as well as lunch), books and equipment.
In 2015 our objectives expanded to include:
- helping a wider range of schools improve the quality of the education they provide to all students through improved provision including better books, equipment and buildings;
- supporting individual students who otherwise cannot afford to pay education fees, including many orphans and some able secondary students;
- encouraging and training teachers to offer their pupils training in peace-building techniques and the non-violent resolution of conflict,
- supporting school-based feeding schemes which are known to incentivise attendance and improve educational outcomes for their recipients,
- the relief of hardship in selected cases.