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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Food Crisis in Zimbabwe

In a message dated 6/27/2008 10:22:52 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, ashbyj@ecoafricasocialventures.org writes:


Thank you so much on behalf of our artisans to everyone who responded our outreach. The funds will go towards this months food program and is really appreciated.

I received this as a text message this morning from M, the lady who looks after our teams of crafting artisans at our campus workshops.

“We went to vote because if you don’t, the Zanu youth today or tomorrow move door to door and check your finger to see if you voted. If not they will beat the hell out of you or demolish your home. So to be safe you need red ink on your finger. God! It’s terrible what they are doing. I wish it all comes to an end”.

And the world stands by....

Please pass this on, and our letter below, to everyone in your address books and let them know what’s happening in Zimbabwe. This will be another opportunity to help. Thanks so much.

Janice


Sent June 26th 2008
APPEAL – ZIMBABWE ARTISANS NEED FOOD
Hi everyone

You may have been following the crisis in Zimbabwe. It’s hard to get away from the awful news, particularly if you watch CNN and/or BBC or read the New York Times.

Our people are now being directly effected by the both the violence as well as their ability to feed their families. We are getting emails from Trust and Maria when they can get into town to send them (as there is little electricity in Chitungwiza from where they used to send emails). Otherwise, I am sending encouraging text messages and they are responding back and forth almost every day.

The inflation rate in Zim has now reached 180,000 %. Such figures become meaningless so one has to consider the effects. You see the price of a loaf of bread on a store shelf, (in the rare event you can find a store with bread). By the time you get to checkout, it has doubled in price. Food has become almost impossible to find.

We had to find a solution to keeping our artisans healthy and viable and to be able continue coming in every day to earn income from the work they love.

We have always been providing free lunches for all working on the mission campus and for our papermakers at the Young Africa campus. For the last two months we are giving cash bonuses specifically for food purchases by having found a vendor who comes to the mission once a month and our people spend their bonuses on a months supply of food for their families.

On top of all the other expenses to keep our paper-crafting organization in place, the food-bonus addition has stretched our resources to the limit. Raw materials, wages and essentials still need to be paid. We and all our Eco Africa artisans would really appreciate your help to keep the food supplies going through to them - by donating. You can do this via PayPal with a credit card on our website http://www.ecoafricasocialventures.org.

The situation remains extremely serious in spite of the withdrawal of the opposition leader from the run off election on Friday.

We told Trust to suspend operations (with pay) so our artisans will be able to stay home and safely off the streets. Trust thinks things will calm down after the election run off - we hope.

I quote from Trusts latest email to me this morning. “Things are quite difficult now in terms of food and the Z$ value, but you are helping a lot to our people in terms of the food pack project and the wages that we are getting which are inflationary adjusted and is helping a lot. So many people are being helped”.

Last weeks email. “ The run-off election dates are now fast coming and the political violence is now increasing at an alarming rate. Political Bases are now very common in our community where the youths are operating from, mobilising support in what ever form. We are still managing to work but I think as from Tuesday next week it won't be possible to work anymore that whole week up to Friday the election day, it will be rallies all over the place. I was in Mbare this morning, it was all rallies, now in Chitungwiza you have to drive your car with his poster on the dash board so the trick is you put it under the seat and when you see them ahead you just pull it and throw it on the dash then you can pass. I think we will be able to go back to work on the 4th of July, I think by then we will be able to see where the wind is going”.

I regret to send such serious and upsetting news. As you know by now I have always tried to inject a little humor into my newsletters, but on this occasion it hardly seems appropriate.

I hope that my next communication will be on a more positive note.

Warmest
Janice

JANICE ASHBY
Founder
Eco Africa Social Ventures Inc
306 West 73rd Street, Ste. B
New York, NY 10023
917 493 9515

http://www.ecoafricasocialventures.org

2 comments:

Brandon Hobson said...

Carol,
I have a very good friend from Zim who moved here with his wife and son a few years ago. His mother just recently arrived, but she can only be here for 90 days. So we're watching this closely and hoping for things to improve.
Brandon

Mirtha said...

Hi Carol!

Thanks so much for the support! I'm actually working with Janice in the Social Media front (blogs, forums, social networks) to raise awareness and hopefully funds to support the women of Zimbabwe.

Janice recently started her own blog:
http://ecoafricasocialventures.blogspot.com/
which I encourage you to take a look at, bookmark and add to your blog roll :)

It would also be GREAT if you could continue to blog about Eco Africa Social Ventures and the issues women and children in Zimbabwe face.

We also have a Facebook group which you can join to keep you up to date with our initiatives, events and accomplishments: http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php#/groups.php?ref=sb

Thank you so much for your support and all the best!

Mirtha