April-May 2021 | News

Creating better futures post-covid

Creating better futures post-covid

Reading Matins’ Rotarian Dorothy Dix and her charity Creating Better Futures are tackling the fall-out from COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the vulnerable the hardest. None more so than in politically-fragile Zimbabwe.

There, thousands of children missed vital months of education and training during lockdown. They live in homes without electricity, so there was never a possibility to learn digitally. Instead, they did household chores, or sold fruit on the streets to raise money to eat.

These children have fallen well behind their peers.

The loss of education has been especially harmful for girls. Many now face greater barriers to returning to school, including domestic abuse, teenage pregnancy, and even marriage.

Meanwhile, the pandemic sent hundreds of families deeper into poverty.

They had little or no access to food once the country entered lockdown.

The dire situation has prompted the charity Creating Better Futures, led by Reading Matins’ Rotarian, Dorothy Dix, to launch a UK appeal to fund a three-point recovery plan.

  • Training extra teachers to make up for lost school time.
  • Providing extra practical training opportunities in sustainable agriculture, computing and entrepreneurship.
  • Employing counsellors to help with children’s mental well-being.

UK Aid Match brings charities, the public, and the government together to help the world’s most vulnerable people.

The UK Government will match every pound donated and Creating Better Futures is hoping this might generate £200,000 for vulnerable children in Zimbabwe.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Dorothy Dix, created the charity in 2012, after studying in Norway, and then at the University of Reading.

“Rotary International has inspired me to become a member of the Rotary Club of Reading Matins,” she said.

“Education has completely changed my life. Therefore, here at Creating Better Futures we are passionate about building better futures for children living in poverty by providing them access to education and long-term welfare support.”

The charity works with around 5,000 children and the Rotary Club of Harare in Mutare and Domboshowa, two largely rural, poverty-riddled areas in Zimbabwe.

The last two years have been especially challenging because of Cyclone Idai in 2019, poor harvest caused by droughts, and now the coronavirus.

Creating Better Futures is focused on a child sponsorship programme, providing school fees and uniform for 180 children.

They also support 5,000 children through a feeding programme which guarantees each child two meals every day they go to school.

In working with girls and gender equality, the Berkshire-based charity runs a reusable sanitary pad programme. The pads are made from fabric and are washable.

After the initial success of the project, they are starting a social enterprise where members of the community make the pads and sell them, with the profits going back into the community.

The charity also runs a number of farming-focused community projects to give smaller communities a sustainable source of income.

For more information visit: creatingbetterfutures.org.uk

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