In Zimbabwe, Agape Leona is operating in three Parishes, which are St. Agnes Chitungwiza, St. Alois Hunyani, and St. Joseph’s Hatfield in the Archdiocese of Harare.  It has also made some impact in some other parts of the country by sharing knowledge on human trafficking through flyers, posters and workshops.  Agape is also networking with other organizations such as AFCAST (African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching) working group on human trafficking.

In different parishes, Agape Leona is giving support to the survivors of trafficking, orphans, HIV/AIDS victims and less privileged children.  The support given is in the form of counselling, spiritual support (prayers), financial support for fees and medication, and material support such as food and clothing.  In some schools Agape Leona helps children with feeding programmes, providing lunch each day to the less privileged children.  The main objective is to continue with this project and also establish permanent soup kitchens which will provide food to a large number of vulnerable children.

Agape Leona has carried out research in order to find out the people who are in the most need.  At the moment, about 50 children (5 to 18 year old) and 40 adults (19-40 years) who are survivors of trafficking, are being supported by Agape Leona.  Besides providing material and spiritual support, Agape Leona organizes some workshops for all members of our Parishes in order to raise an awareness of human trafficking and the healthy ways of improving their livelihoods.  Educating the society and the individuals is an important core value for Agape Lena.  Its main focus is to educate in order to bring change in people’s lives and change is achieved one person at a time.

Although addressing human trafficking is an important priority for Agape Leona, we also promote caring for the environment as we are urged to do in Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudata Si.  And we are pleased to be able to work to assist people living with disabilities and others who may be vulnerable.

Agape wishes to expand to other Parishes in Zimbabwe in order to empower the less privileged people by providing life skills education which can help them to run self-reliance projects.  Agape Leona could do more if funds were available.  There is great need to build or to buy a house to operate from and as a shelter for victims of trafficking and also to offer life skills to the survivors.  Agape sees itself growing and helping more people in Zimbabwe.  We are grateful for volunteers and all those who have helped us in cash and kind to make this organization meet some of its objectives in my country.

Sr. Annah Theresa Nyadombo, Ph.D., is a Religious Sistes of the Congregation of the Handmaids of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Zimbabwe.  Currently she is working as the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference National Education Coordinator and Child Safeguarding Coordinator and Consultant.  She has worked with the Carmelite NGO since 2007 and is a Commissioner in the Carmelite JPIC.  Sr. Annah Theresa is a founder of Agape Leona Foundation in Zimbabwe.

This article is reproduced with permission from CarmeNGO, the Bulletin of the Carmelite NGO www.carmelitengo.org