From December 1 – 15, Chido Govera conducted her first “orphans training orphans” session at Kufunda village near Harare, Zimbabwe. Since she was eight, she dreamt of this moment and it was a very special fortnight for her and the first group of 35 girls and women.
The training focused on two main areas: practical skills and what we call life skills. Practical skills are all about sustainable basic food production, preparation and preservation (of course including our famous mushroom farming), soil and environmental conservation, water harvesting and management and waste management.
Life skills targeted topics around healthy living and general hygiene, sexuality and general femininity, HIV and AIDS (preventing and living with HIV and AIDS as well as living with and among people infected by it), communication and expression (story telling, art and performance) and community building and leadership.
The young orphans came with different issues, disorientation, and stresses that would have interfered with their learning process if not addressed. That’s why during the first week, time was provided for sharing personal stories and expressing whatever there was to express. And then, gradually the training agenda was introduced. It was important to provide space for a long welcome and share expectations. This was followed by a gradual invitation to shape the intentions for the training and beyond.
The second week provided a more rigorous approach to the practical and theoretical aspects on the different topics around both practical and life skills. We also conducted an expression workshop with Koen Vanmecheln; encouraged reflective personal story sharing among the whole group; and affirmed intentions and practical steps for the post-training period. All participants were more relaxed and able to express even their confusion; to stand and give a presentation; or host a discussion around any topic of their choice from the provided agenda.
The two weeks were full of activities and one could observe the girls and women opening up and “growing” every day. They will take back all they learned during the training to their villages and become trainers for other orphans there. This is the intended cycle and giving-back mechanism the foundation stands for: make them strong to help themselves and their communities.