MATTER President Quenton Marty has often remarked that the hardest part of MATTER’s work is finding the right partners. Five years ago, we met Blessing Munyenyiwa, owner of Love for Africa in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. As we got to know him and saw his heart for the Zimbabwe people, it became obvious that Blessing was going to be a great partner. And he is. His passion and relentless energy to improve life in his country inspire us at MATTER to do all we can to see his vision become reality.
Five years later, with the help of generous donors and other amazing partners, our partnership with Blessing and Love for Africa has resulted in countless lives being saved, communities experiencing improved healthcare, children receiving a world-class education, and people throughout Zimbabwe knowing they matter.
Here are just a few highlights of what we’ve been able to accomplish together by partnering for the people of Zimbabwe:
Victoria Falls District Hospital
In addition to providing the hospital with updated equipment and supplies, and refurbishing critical areas of the hospital, in 2019 we designed and installed an oxygen plant on site. At the time, they were getting their oxygen in canisters from another hospital five hours away. Having their own supply of medical-grade oxygen was a game-changer and immediately began saving lives. When COVID hit the country the following year, the Victoria Falls Hospital stood ready and able to provide the oxygen and care their patients so desperately needed.
Current projects: We just launched The LEEP Project to provide the hospital with the equipment and supplies to do simple cancer screenings to prevent cervical cancer and save lives.
The Jeannie Burns Buckner Maternity and Pediatric Clinic
Working in collaboration with Zimbabwe’s First Lady and her Angel of Hope Foundation, the very remote area of Binga was identified as top on their list of areas desperately in need of a healthcare facility. With MATTER friend Jeannie Burns-Buckner championing the project, and Love for Africa overseeing the effort on the ground, this state-of-the-art hospital is nearly complete. When it opens in November of this year, it will be the first of its kind in the area. Also being built is a mothers’ waiting quarters and doctor’s residence, along with a nutrition garden.
The Lukosi Maternity Hospital
Several hours away from the bustling tourist town of Victoria Falls, lies the rural community of Lukosi. Its maternity hospital serves a population of nearly 10,000 and facilitates about 50 births per month. In addition to providing updated equipment and supplies, we also provided a surgical hub so critical patients can be treated on site instead of being transported several hours away to the nearest surgical hospital. A flourishing nutrition garden and Chaya trees are providing healthy meals for the expectant and nursing moms.
Current project: Building a doctors’ quarters for visiting doctors and specialists.
Nutrition Gardens and Chaya Trees
Nutrition gardens have been established at our hospital projects to provide nutrient-rich meals to patients. They also serve as demonstration gardens for the community. We’ve also started nutrition gardens at schools around the country. At the Hwange Main Camp Primary School, the nutrition garden is providing 640 meals a week. That’s over 2,500 nutritionally packed meals for the students a month!
Speaking of nutrition, Chaya is one of the most nutritional vegetables on earth. MATTER and Love for Africa are planting Chaya throughout Zimbabwe to fight malnutrition and food insecurity. Chaya trees have been planted at all of our nutrition gardens, and in other areas as well, including 40,000 trees near Victoria Falls.
Next phase: We are currently planning for five women’s growing co-ops to include training on how to grow Chaya, fence building around Chaya trees, preparation of Chaya and cooking demonstrations.
MATTER Innovation Hubs & Centers
The first MATTER Innovation Hub (MIH) opened at the Victoria Falls Primary School in 2019. Created in collaboration with Jamf, the MIH uses Apple coding curriculum and emphasizes student-center learning focusing on creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills to prepare Zimbabwe’s children to succeed in the high-tech world of tomorrow.
Since 2019, we’ve opened Innovation Centers in the capital city of Harare, as well as at Mosi High School in Victoria Falls.
Current projects: An Innovation Center will be completed at Hwange Main Camp Primary School in December 2021.
These are just a few of the projects we’ve collaborating on in the five years of our partnership. There is so much more happening, so we invite you to come and see for yourselves! Let Blessing and Love for Africa show you the amazing work being done to improve lives throughout his country. Trips are being planned now for 2022 and we’d love for you to join us! Go here to learn more.
Blessing’s favorite quote is from Winston Churchill: “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” Blessing has taken this truth to heart. His life is the epitome of what it means to give and serve others, and we are more than blessed to call him partner and friend!