When visitors from Germany heard about the work Letty Mhizha was doing, they bought a five-bedroom house for her to take more children in.

Mhizha, who was speaking at the official opening of the house, said she started looking after orphaned children in 1999 when a church couple died and left five children behind.

“In 1999 a certain member of our church died of AIDS. Three weeks later his wife also died, leaving behind five children with no one to take care of them,” Mhizha said.

Two weeks after the couple was buried, Mhizha heard a voice instructing her to take care of the children.

“When I visited the orphans, the situation touched me. Their parents were from Mozambique. They had no relatives in Zimbabwe. I then took responsibility of the five children, which was not easy because I am a widow with my own five children. I had difficulties raising money,” Mhizha said.

Neighbors referred Mhizha to River Network, an NGO that takes care of orphaned children. Officials at the organisation told Mhizha that a man from Ireland who had a dream of a woman taking care of orphans, had come all the way from Europe to help her out.

“When I visited the Salvation Army, the Irish man was sitting outside with his wife. When he saw me he said to his wife, “There she is.” At that time I was looking after 47 orphans,” Mhizha said.

The Irish man paid school fees for all the children and is still paying them. Well-wishers from Germany committed to paying the fees of additional children. And as Mhizha took in more orphans, the Basic Education Assistance Module contributed to cover their school fees.

“We were blessed by the introduction of BEAM,” she said.

According to the Ministry of Labour, at least 400,000 children at primary school level and 150,000 children at secondary school level are supported by BEAM.