As the world mourned Cecil the Lion and debated the humanity of hunting big game in Zimbabwe, a baby found abandoned in a pit latrine was being loved back to life nearby. How she got there, no one knows, but her plight fuelled purpose for those who joined WorldVentures Foundation™ (WVF) in August for Volunteer Days at the Rose of Charity Orphanage and its Community Center in Victoria Falls.
"My heart breaks when I think of that sweet baby, left to drown in human waste," said WVF Executive Director Gwyneth Lloyd, as she fought back tears. "The inhumanity is unspeakable but, as horrible as it is, stories like hers are all-too common. It's why we are called to serve."
Lloyd and her team led two groups of WorldVentures Representatives and Members to Zimbabwe August 9-16 and August 13-16 to clean, paint, furnish and construct a sustainable food garden at the Victoria Falls orphanage. The beautiful humanitarian Simangele Moyo founded the home in 2007 as a haven for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Today, services have expanded to include personal empowerment workshops, education assistance, therapeutic counselling and more. WorldVentures Foundation raises funds and provides volunteer support for outreach organizations like Rose of Charity to fulfil its mission to positively impact children worldwide.
Lloyd said education and clear paths to self-sufficiency will help end the cycle of teen pregnancy and baby abandonment that leads to institutionalization in Zimbabwe. To that end, WVF volunteers are helping to collaborate on funding a school dropout prevention program at the orphanage that includes vocational training for careers in tourism and hospitality. Lloyd also invited the management at nearby Elephant Hills Hotel about partnering with the home on training and job placement.
"Without the selfless contributions of our volunteers, none of this would be possible," Lloyd shared. "They've built more than a garden here; they've planted seeds of hope."
WorldVentures Rep Misty Anderson of Chattanooga, Tenn., was among the volunteers who came to lend support. With a heart for giving that stems from her own disadvantaged youth, she expressed her passion for the Volunteer Days program.
"I'm passionate because I was kinda raised like this," she said tearfully, while watching the orphans play. "I want to give because I didn't really have anybody to give back for me. Being able to overcome some of the things I've come from, I want to help others overcome. I would advise anybody to do this because of what you get out of it."