Mental Health Advocacy and Trauma Healing
I AM Mbare initially partnered with Aqua Healing, an organization that provides trauma counseling, to provide trauma healing workshops to youth in the community. Group counselling sessions encouraged participants to share stories about the trauma they had experienced with the intent of restoration of heart and mind, and the realization of the harmful impact of any negative activities that had both been victims on, and that they had inflicted upon others. I AM Zimbabwe teams have continued this work, providing free individual and group counseling sessions to community members who seek assistance for traumatic experiences.
I AM Mbare School for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
The I AM MBARE School for Orphans and Vulnerable Children aims to address the inequitable educational opportunities faced by young children who have experienced adverse life circumstances, including poverty, destitution, trauma and the death of their parents and/or guardians. The school provides free education and a nutritious meal to 400 children from Grades ECD – Grade 6. All children and students are instructed using the national curriculum developed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. Enrichment activities include music, sports and yoga led by local artists and organizations. All teachers and administrators at the school, work as volunteers.
I AM Zimbabwe Trust K.U.T.A.M.B.A Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program
In 2004, with the growing awareness of the importance of early childhood education, Zimbabwe’s National Early Childhood Development policy mandated that all primary schools in the country offer two years of Early Childhood Development (ECD) for children 3 to 5 years of age. In March 2020, I AM Zimbabwe Trust welcomed its first group of children to two new ECD programs, the first in Mbare and the second in Epworth. Research has long supported the notion that learning through play is essential to a child’s cognitive, physical and social development. In Shona, one of several indigenous languages spoken in Zimbabwe, the word ‘kutamba’ means ‘to play’. The I AM ZIMBABWE K.U.T.A.M.B.A. ECD program is guided by the principles of Knowledge, Understanding, Teaching, Awareness, Mindfulness, Building and Action (K.U.T.A.M.B.A.). The ECD program provides free, play-based, high-quality learning experiences to orphans and vulnerable children ages 3, 4 and 5 years old.
Ladies Hub was founded as a way to positively engage, educate and empower young girls and women within the community. We want the female members of every community to understand that they are valuable, worthy of respect, and capable of achieving their dreams and aspirations. We want to uplift the women in our communities and help them claim or reclaim their sense of dignity through skills and leadership-based trainings, parenting classes, sexual reproductive health and family planning, prevention of STI’s and HIV/AIDS and self-advocacy against abuse and domestic violence.
Boys to Men
Boys to Men has been founded as a counterpart to Ladies Hub. We believe that young boys and men within the community play a vital role when considering gender-based issues. The focus of Boys to Men will be around education and training on themes such as skills and leadership, parenting classes, sexual reproductive health and family planning, prevention of STI’s and HIV/AIDS, prevention of domestic violence, and substance abuse.
I AM Zimbabwe has partnered with various local organizations to advocate and educate around the importance of environmental stewardship. Team I AM Mbare was instrumental in the founding of the non-profit organization ‘Team Up 2 Clean Up’. This is an annual campaign where team members from each community spend a day beautifying their community including the removal of trash, the planting of grass and trees and the repurposing of items such as old tires, to support community projects. Tree Knowers and Growers partner with our community team members to teach about the history of different tree species in each area, the essential role that trees play in the health and well-being of the environment, and how to develop nurseries through the planting of new trees.
Support of Teenage Mothers
There are many young girls in our communities, aged 17 and below who are expecting babies. Some of these girls live in extreme poverty and lack the necessary resources to sustain their own health let alone adequately care for the health of their impending arrivals. I AM Zimbabwe community members assist these young girls through the provision of ongoing mental and emotional support, essential caregiving items for the babies and access to health services. This support is all in a bid to help these young girls prepare for motherhood while attempting to mitigate the harmful impact of poverty, shame, and fear. I AM Zimbabwe has been supported in this effort through partnership with Turbo Baby Wear, a local shop that sells items for babies.
Sports, Arts and Culture Sports, such as football and netball, play an integral role of peace and justice due to the spirit of unity that develops when different groups within the communities develop relationships through competition. The annual Sports Days are one such example of this unity. These bring out hundreds of community members to engage in planned activities, support the Junior and Senior sports teams and build a general sense of camaraderie and fun. Arts and Culture are recognized and celebrated through music, drama, dance and storytelling.