Meet the boys of Gweru, Zimbabwe...
Like the blazing African sun they are warm and bright. They are charismatic and colourful. They make you laugh one moment and then break your heart the next.
Many of these boys have impeccable manners. Like the colonial gents of yester year they will take your arm and steer you safely through the city streets. They will carry your bags and open doors for you. They will sacrifice their seat in the shade for you. They will share their only meal of the day with you.
They are quick witted and eager to learn – flicking through battered English story books and tossing out phrases that make them laugh. They are as loving and loyal as lions – pouncing on each other with a surprise hug or a playful embrace. They are fantastic footballers who, despite their broken shoes and torn up feet, play with passion and pride.
All of these boys sleep rough on the streets. Their parents are either dead or too poor to feed them. Some were badly abused by family members. All have been abandoned, in some way or other, by the people who were meant to protect them.
They live in tents made out of rubbish (see pics below) or squat in derelict buildings at night. Some have slits in their jeans where their pockets have been slashed with razor blades while they slept. Many of the boys sniff glue because it’s cheap and it alleviates hunger. Plus, like any other addictive substance, it medicates against a deeper, less visible pain.
These kids/ young adults are highly vulnerable and their situation is critical. Antelope Park – a private game reserve near Gweru - has generously donated a piece of land. The proposal is for two buildings – a home for boys and a home for girls (many of whom are working as prostitutes). The land is there. The plans are there. Now all we need are the bricks. Costs are as follows:
1 brick = $3, 2 bricks = $6, 5 bricks = $15, 10 bricks = $30
These kids don''''''''''''''''t need pity. They just need bricks. Please help!