Hope for a Child In Christ (HOCIC), a Bulawayo-based Christian non-governmental organisation, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and World Food Programme, is distributing food hampers to more than 50 orphans in four wards of Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

The allocations are done in Wards 8 and 29 in Magwegwe, Ward 10 in Entumbane, and Ward 17 in Pumula North.

Speaking to Relzim.org yesterday, programme officers of the faith-based organisation situated at corner Jason Moyo Street and 1st Avenue, Sunga Mzeche and Sibonisiwe Mugari, said the groceries include,  among other food products, up to 50 kg of mealie-meal per family every month.

The compassionate Christian organisation also donated seed maize to over 25 less-privileged rural families in the Matabeleland region in the past summer cropping season under its Special Cases programme.

“The resources we are having are just less than the need. We wanted to help more rural people this year because they did not harvest anything, but our resources cannot permit us,” bemoaned Mugari, one of the programme officers.

Since its inception in 1995, HOCIC has been involved in resource-exchange and psycho-social support programmes for orphaned children, payment of their school fees and supplying them with stationery up to 2009.

In 2010 the organisation introduced vocational training skills, with the inaugural graduation held in conjunction with the commemorations of the International Day of the African Child on 16 June last year at the Bulawayo Large City Hall.

Owing to limited funding, HOCIC focuses much on psycho-social support programmes during which children’s club meet every Saturday to discuss issues affecting them. Some of those issues include child abuse and reproductive health.  Resource persons from organisations such as Childline and National AIDS Council are sometimes invited to come and address the children.

HOCIC, a Zimbabwean interdenominational association that networks among over 50 churches in the area of child welfare and community-based orphan care, is in operation in the two districts of Insiza and Gwanda in Matabeleland South Province, Umguza District in Matabeleland North and in five districts of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.

“In the future, we do not want to remain a Bulawayo- or Matabeleland-based organisation, but we would like to cover the whole country,” Mzeche, another programme officer, stressed.

Meanwhile, HOCIC will partner with the National AIDS Council and Childline in belated commemorations of the International Day of the African Child on 18 June at Emakhandeni District of Bulawayo in Mpopoma suburb.  Children are expected to recite poems, act in dramas and perform some dances.