A Special Visit to Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Since 2005, Caritas Australia has partnered with local communities in Zimbabwe, and since 2004 in Mozambique. The regions face many issues including drought, sanitation, food security, and gaps in health and education systems.

In Zimbabwe more than half the population lives in extreme poverty, and this number is increasing (World Bank). With your support, Caritas Australia is working to address these issues by improving access to healthcare, education, clean drinking water, hygiene resources, and improving sustainable farming practices and knowledge within marginalised communities.

Sister Ivy re-visited our partners Caritas Hwange in north-western Zimbabwe. Caritas Hwange has been providing support to Priscilla, a grandmother and farmer who has been fighting to provide food to her family despite the increasing challenges of climate change-induced drought. Priscilla also features as one of Caritas Australia’s key stories for Project Compassion 2023.


Priscilla and her husband Charles with Sister Ivy near their home. Photo: Super Dube/Caritas Hwange

Since Caritas Australia’s previous visit, Priscilla was on the verge of facing further food security issues due to extreme drought. However, because of the generosity of people like you, Priscilla is now benefiting greatly from emergency food relief. Priscilla said: “Caritas Australia helped the community so much. They gave us toilets, dip tanks, water, gardens, poultry projects and piggery projects. They taught how to use water wisely, allowing us to keep living! I now know that water is life... I have learnt to train others in conservation farming so that they have enough food to feed their own families.”

With your generosity, our partners Caritas Hwange together with Sister Ivy and Caritas Australia worked really hard to pivot further support to Priscilla’s community: “I am absolutely thrilled that Priscilla and her family will be receiving emergency food aid… This is a good news story of HOPE!” Sister Ivy said.

After visiting Priscilla’s community, it was time for Sister Ivy to follow-up on another former Project Compassion participant whose life has changed thanks to your kindness.

Almost six years ago, Caritas Australia first had the privilege of meeting a remarkable young girl named Thandolwayo. Thandolwayo, who was just 12 years old at the time, would walk 7km through difficult terrain every day to collect contaminated water for her family. The health risks of drinking unclean water were great, but Thandolwayo and her family had no alternative. She struggled a lot at school because she was tired after this long journey every morning. Water scarcity often led to food shortages in her area and so she often went to school without enough food to concentrate on her studies.

Sadly, Thandolwayo is not alone. According to World Bank more than 40% of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity. Addressing this is something that Caritas Australia prioritises in much of our programs, as the effects of drought only increase as a result of climate change.

Through Caritas Australia’s partnership with Caritas Hwange, the community was able to install two solar-powered pumps and a 10,000-litre water tank. Today, Thandolwayo is a confident 16-year-old with the opportunity to attend high school, with dreams of one day becoming a nurse.

When Sister Ivy spoke with Thandolwayo last month, who said: “It has helped us all because now we can use the water to drink and bathe. There are more children going to school now because we have water… I am so happy. Please don’t ever forget me and the people in Zimbabwe. Thank you for all your help! I will never forget you.”


"Thank you for all your help! I will never forget you.”

- Thandolwayo

Sister Ivy also remarked: “what a joy to see Thandolwayo again after 4 years. I couldn’t believe that she now speaks fluent English. She told me that it only took her 2 months to learn!”

It’s one thing to hear about the remarkable stories and people your support has helped over the years, it’s another for our programs staff to be able to witness first-hand the resilience and determination of someone like Priscilla, or the vivacious smile of Thandolwayo who is now flourishing as a teenager. Sister Ivy is so thankful for having the opportunity to visit: “I am so grateful to be able to share with you the incredible stories of the communities in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique. I feel very blessed to be given the opportunity to see first-hand all the lasting change Caritas Australia supports every day for our fantastic partners in the region.”