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" We will bury ourselves"

A Study of Child-Headed Households on Commercial Farms in Zimbabwe

Copyright: Farm Orphan Support Trust of Zimbabwe

Compiled by: Lynn Walker, Executive Director, FOST

Contact Address:
Farm Orphan support Trust of Zimbabwe, P. O. Box WGT 390, Westgate, Harare, Zimbabwe, Tel: 263-4-309800, Fax: 263-4-309869 Email:

Any part of this study may be quoted or cited provided it is appropriately acknowledged and FOST receives information on its use.
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Table of Contents
  Executive Summary
1.   Introduction
2.   Background information on farm worker communities
3.   Methodology
4.   Objectives
5.   Details of the interviewees
6.   Summary of the findings: The children
7.   Summary of the findings: The Community
8.   Problems faced by child headed households
9.   Recommendations
10.   Interventions
11.   Conclusion

Acknowledgements and preamble

This modest study was primarily intended to inform the development of a programmatic response to the needs of child headed households in commercial farm worker communities. It was not the intention to undertake a full-scale research project, but to adopt an "action research" approach. Therefore, no literature review is presented with this report and the approach used has drawn considerably from the extensive experience and knowledge already acquired by FOST as an organisation.

The decision to "publish" this report was made because it was felt that it does contain information of value to other programmes working with orphans and vulnerable children and can contribute to the on-going debate with the country and region about how to address their needs.

Since undertaking this study FOST has begun to respond to the needs of the individual child headed households we included in the research. School fees have been secured from various sources for the children who have been forced to drop out of school and other material items such as clothing, blankets and food have been sourced. On-going follow-up visits and community awareness raising activities are being carried out to all households to ensure that these households, at least, have the support and care that they need for a positive future.

FOST would like to thank the following people for their support for this report and their response to the needs of the children therein:
  • Terre Des Hommes (Germany), and Fungai Dewere in particular, for the encouragement and for funding this study.
  • Hillcrest College Interact Club (Mutare), Ella Hargreaves and Victoria Nursing Home (Leeds, UK) and Jim Akre (USA) for sponsoring school fees
  • Joanne Baxter for putting together packages of material items for each household
  • The many FOST volunteers, too numerous to mention individually, who undertake the daily, on-going, support of these and other households with orphaned children
Sam and Penesera

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