Current State of Orphan Care
Once the bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe has descended into economic chaos over the past 30 years, and it is the children who have suffered the most. Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of orphans per capita of any country in the world. In fact, 26% of all children are not living with either parent, either orphaned or abandon as a result of AIDS or poverty. The National Aids Council of Zimbabwe reported in 2009 that 1.3 million children in Zimbabwe were orphaned by AIDS alone. Additionally, approximately 50,000 household in the country are headed by children below the age of 18.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of internal investment and years of political chaos, Zimbabwe has the lowest number of social workers to children in the region. The ratio of social workers to children in Zimbabwe is 1 to 49,587. Comparatively, in neighboring Botswana the ratio is 1 social worker to 1,867 children.
Zimbabwe does not allow for international adoption, and inter-country adoption is at a virtual standstill, with an average of only 15 adoptions processed annually in Zimbabwe. Orphan stigma and sexual abuse of these vulnerable children is unfortunately rampant. Thus, a generation of children are growing up without the support or education they need to break the cycle of poverty.