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Zimbabwe, Africa

ZIM02a - Fountain of Hope - Mthombothemba Community Development

Partnership Ref.:



Gideon & Jennifer Chisamba



Funding Status:

Fully Funded

Partnership Type:

Community / Agriculture Development, Training / Education, Orphans & Vulnerable Children

Funding Size:

$8,000 - $14,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 8,910

Potential Budget:

US$ 20,000

Connected To:

ZIM02 , ZIM02b , ZIM02c , ZIM02d , ZIM02e , ZIM02f , ZIM02g , ZIM02h


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Funding Contact:

No funding required


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Population: 12.5 million

Life Expectancy: 37 years

GDP: US$400 per capita

Unemployed: 97.0%

83.0% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact

120 families are being assisted

140 children are being supported into schooling

Partnership Overview

Gideon and Jennifer and their "Fountain of Hope" organization have been involved in the community of Mthombothemba since 2000. Their main mission is to combat the spread and reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans and vulnerable children, women, and the community at large through the provision of orphan care services, HIV/AIDS workshops and community based development projects.

new damGideon and Jennifer have developed many networks and key relationships which has allowed them to have a significant impact in this community. Their strategy is to meet with the leaders of the community and to help them determine what the assets are, what the issues are and how they can best be dealt with.  In the last few years they have:

a) Refurbished two dams in a wet area. On the bottom dam they have developed a community garden, approx ½ acre. 20 families have 16 beds each inside a fence. They all help and encourage each other. They have a treadle pump from the reservoir to a large cistern in the middle of the garden. 

b) Refurbished a cattle dip in village A. This had been built in the late 1800's but was unable to be used for many years. Tick borne diseases are a real issue and this has made a huge difference to the community and community gardenthe health of their animals. 

c) Set up a community garden in village A. They had a well and bought an electric water pump. This now has nine members and they are responsible for the ongoing costs and maintenance. They are planning to double the size of the garden to around ½ acre and others now want to join the group. 

d) Set up a goat programme for orphans and for families in the community. The idea for both of these is that each family should receive 10 goats so they immediately get the benefits from having the goats. If they only get a small number of goats, the benefits take too long to accrue. If they get goats, they then come off the education and feeding programmes and are responsible to send their children to school and care for them. 

helping kidse) Started funding children to school. They see this as a short term issue and hope that the development of gardens and the goat programme will reduce the need for this. Every child at the local school has been assessed and those most vulnerable are assisted to get to school. 

f) Set up a feeding programme. Around 68 children are fed every day. These are the most vulnerable in the community. Each child is assessed, many of them would get at most one meal a day, some days many would go without food. As with the education programme it is expected that this will go down as families are empowered economically. 

g) Undertaken Foundations for Farming training. This has already made a huge difference to their maize crops and in fact a lady here won the prize for the best maize cob at the district agriculture show last year! 

Fountain of Hope endeavours to see the community rising up and being able to run income generating projects which will take families out of poverty and break the cycle of depending on hand-outs.

great cropThis partnership focuses on providing funds to get the most vulnerable children in the community into school and feeding them once a day, providing goat loans to families of vulnerable children so they can afford to send their own children to school, and training local communities in Foundations for Farming methods and mind sets. 

History of Partnership

In 2001 Rob Purdue, BHW Executive Chairman, travelled to this project as his nephew was living there. Rob was impressed by Gideon and Jennifer and they have continued to minister to this community since that time.  

BHW's Field Director continued to dialogue with them and in December 2012 we sent them US$300 to assist with training some of their people in Foundations for Farming. He then visited them in June 2013 and late in 2013 BHW commenced partnering with Gideon and Jennifer at a greater level, providing financial support for the children's home and community development, and personal support for Gideon and Jennifer.  


income generatorsThere are many beneficiaries here. Families are becoming self-sustaining and sending their children to school. Dams are being refurbished and gardens are being grown. Children are safer and better educated. The morale in the whole community has improved. People are eating better and are learning to work and take responsibility for their families. The children are learning better because they are eating better. People are better off economically and young people are beginning to stay and work rather than go into town. All round there is a dramatic improvement.  

What We Like About The Partnership

Gideon and Jennifer understand that transformation requires a broad based holistic approach to solving the issues and the starting point has been building relationships with the community. We are encouraged by the commitment of Gideon and Jennifer to this community - they have been involved here for a long time and have seen God working miraculously in this community through the various programmes they have started in consultation with the community members.


Key People

Gideon & Jennifer 

great coupleGideon was raised up in a very remote and poor community. His father died while he was still very young which eventually meant he had to stop going to school while doing Form 2. He hated God then for making his family poor, taking his father away when he was still young, and allowing the school authorities to chase him away from school when he really wanted to proceed with education. However his friends from school helped him to study from home by bringing their books to him and eventually, although he did not go to school formally like other children, he was able to write his ‘O’ Level exams and pass all the six subjects. 

He wanted to be a teacher but the colleges also wouldn’t take him because he had no money. So he again stayed home still with his hatred for God whom he blamed for causing all this. Gideon and his brothers went through very difficult times and one night, Gideon says, “He met me and told me that He died for me out of His Love for me.” That night he cried the whole night for it was the first time that he sensed that there was someone greater who loved him. The following day he went to see a Christian friend who helped him to accept Jesus as his personal Saviour. “That was the same day I realized that God had called me to communicate His love to orphans, vulnerable children and the poor.” 

He then later joined YWAM where he met Jennifer whom he later married and adopted her five children. They live in a rented house outside Bulawayo.  

Other People Involved

The project co-ordinator is Hidliza (Mr H). He is married, is from this community and lives in the community. He joined the team from working 10 years in a mushroom business. His role is to engage the villagers and monitor the projects they operate. This involves visiting, talking, chairing meetings and checking the finances.  


Vision And Annual Strategy

changing livesThe vision of Fountain of Hope is to communicate the love of Christ to orphans, vulnerable children, downtrodden communities, widows and families affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty by meeting their physical, emotional, social and material needs.  They do all that they do to point the poor to Christ, the true Fountain of Hope which never dries up.

This is done by:
• Ensuring that orphans and vulnerable children are in school by meeting their educational needs (currently paying school fees for 21 children out of a target of 50 children)
• Running a daily feeding programme for orphans and vulnerable children from Mthombothemba
• Reducing poverty in the community by training and running income generating projects like Foundations for Farming gardening, livestock management, goat and chicken loan programmes, chicken layers/egg production etc
• Running psycho-social support camps for orphans and vulnerable children during each and every school holiday period as well as free counselling services and life skills training.
• Discipling the church and the community to raise up disciples who are Glorifying God, Grounded in love, Growing in Christ, Going and proclaiming 
• Community development and leadership training to pastors and church leaders, to challenge the church to be a vehicle of transformation of their communities 


Personal Testimony


Daniel is the father/grandfather of eight children. Two are his children and six are his grandchildren. Only two are going to school and last year one child had to drop out of school a month before sitting his 'O' levels. This made Daniel very frustrated. 

Life is very tough for them, especially the grandchildren. Their mother had children to two men before dying. The youngest two have no birth certificate. This is a serious problem. Without a birth certificate they cannot become citizens, get identity cards or a passport, cannot go to a government school, get a formal job, register as a voter, get married officially…. Daniel says, "they are destined to become servants!”

Life has been hard for Daniel since he had an accident in the 1970's. He was working in an office in town but had to quit as he was badly injured. He is not a strong person physically. He has been given two goats from the loan programme to add to the 10 he has. It is still not enough although it does help a little with school fees. 

Last year two of the older children were taken from him and brought to Peniel Home (ZIM02). The boy, about 14, was HIV+ and very ill. He has improved remarkably and is on ARVs. The 12 year old girl had been raped repeatedly by a neighbour and uncles. The case was taken to court but there was bribery and no outcomes were achieved even though Gideon became involved.