Three young men from Gwayi River, Zimbabwe are launching an exciting new venture, even though the odds have been stacked against all of them their whole lives.
What is this exciting new venture?
A one-of-a-kind tech solution? A breakthrough discovery? A much-needed service no one has thought of?
It's none of those.
The boys are raising chickens.
What? Why is that exciting? My neighbor does that in her backyard...
It's exciting for 3 reasons.
- Some of the profits will support a local pastor and missionary. The boys are establishing the habit of participating in God's work financially at an early age.
- It will help people flourish. To say Zimbabwe's economy is dismal is an understatement. People are hungry. This helps people eat.
- The boys are learning how to be providers and to work hard.
ITMI's Charl van Wyk of South Africa and a co-worker from Zimbabwe, Cozmore, have been reaching out to Gwayi River, Zimbabwe. They've helped set up a maize mill, worked alongside local Christian leaders and implemented discipleship camps for young men in the village.
Charl van Wyk with some of the boys from the Gwayi River boys camp last year.
Charl and Cozmore identified four young men who showed promise in the area of business and helped them set up the venture. ITMI helped with funds to build the chicken coop, purchase the chickens and initial feed. The boys raised $75 of the seed money on their own.
ITMI helped with funds to build the coop and purchase the chickens.
Three of them have remained faithful to the project. Their names are changed for their protection.
Entrepreneur #1: John
John was born HIV positive. He has struggled with the limitations of the condition it all his life, often bedridden.
When his HIV status was exposed by one of the nurses from a government clinic, the local children's fear of him added to the hardship of his condition.
Charl says, "John loves this new project and the challenges that go with it. He thanked the others for letting him be part of this group despite often being sick."
Entrepreneur #2: Jack
Jack was born to a very young, single mother. He grew up with his grandmother in the bush – far away villages. His mother continued with her schooling after giving birth, and eventually married a local pastor. He has now been reunited with her in Gwayi River.
Charl says, "Jack is an introvert, soft spoken and often gets taken advantage of – this project is helping him become the man the Lord intends him to be."
Entrepreneur #3: Josh
Josh's parents died when he was very young.
Charl says, "As often happens in animistic African culture, Josh’s extended family treated him and his sister extremely badly. They thus ran away, choosing rather to be children of the community – moving around, hoping for the best."
Josh became a child slave - working wherever he could in exchange for food and a roof over his head. Charl and Cozmore's friend, Pastor Nyoni is now their foster parent.
Charl adds, "Praise the Lord for Christianity, which has transformed the lives of people who now, instead of treating orphans like garbage, take it upon themselves to house, feed and love the most vulnerable."
Cozmore reports the boys are smiling from ear to ear. When asked what brought them together, John responded, "It’s definitely Jesus Christ!"