About ZIMCARE TRUST
THE HISTORY OF ZIMCARE TRUST
Hopelands Trust/ZIMCARE TRUST
It was formed in 1957 with the aim of providing special training and the environment in which intellectually challenged children could be helped to develop their inherent skills and abilities so that as they grew older, they would be able to contribute , within the limits f their condition, to their own support. The people who formed the Trust, and here the Trust’s outstanding founder the late Lt. Col Dick McGill must be mentioned as it was his driving force which overcame the early difficulties encountered in getting Hopelands successfully established. After vigorous planning and fundraising the Children’s Holiday Association donated Montgomery Heights to the Trust in 1959. The Trust soon realized that the most urgent need then was a centre for young men, plans were immediately made to make Montgomery Heights a place where intellectually challenged youths could receive some form of useful training.
The first group of trainees worked hard in developing the centre. They helped to install additional water supplies, build staff houses, workshops and developing the land. Thereafter trainees of between 16 and 22 years of age were taught farming, carpentry, metal-work, gardening and poultry. Produce was mainly for own consumption while surplus from chickens and eggs was sold to local shops. In 1960, the Trust turned to its next priority which was a place where children and young women could be cared for and trained. In 1962, the Diocese of Mashonaland donated a hostel in Eastlea known as St. Catherine’s. the work of developing St. Catherine’s into a major centre for the care and training of intellectually challenged children and girls had started.
However, further expansion was necessary. Provision had to be made for children living outside the Salisbury area. Residential accommodation would be available at St. Catherine’s but the parents of children living ib Bulawayo and other areas were anxious that training facilities for their children should also be provided near their homes. This saw the establishment of Sir Humphrey Gibbs which was initially a junior center, providing training for young children and older girls in the same way as St. Catherine’s in Salisbury. Over the years, the need for additional facilities and accommodation was realized and the center was developed into a complex unit providing for the training and care of intellectually challenged people of all ages
In July 1962 again through the financial assistance of Government and social organizations, the Trust bought the 110-acre Homefield Farm, about 19km from Salisbury near Mount Hampden. The plan was to develop the farm into an economic unit where both men and women could help to earn their living by using the skills and abilities they had developed through their training at other Hopeland’s centers and at the same time provide them with a home in a sheltered environment where, instead of being outcasts, they would be an essential part of the community.
To this day, ZIMCARE TRUST is a Private Voluntary Organization (P.V.O) 57/82 with a nonprofit making agenda, administering 14 centers across the country for persons with intellectual challenges.
In Harare there is Homefields, St. Catherine’s, Zambuko, Ruvimbo, Tinokwirira and Batsirai.
In Chitungwiza there is Sharon Cohen.
In Kadoma there is Rubatsiro while Mudavanhu is in Gweru.
Bulawayo has three centres which are Sir Humphrey Gibbs, Simanayane and Sibantubanye while Masvingo and Mutare has Ratidzo and Chengetai, respectively. All these centres caters for children with intellectual challenges by providing specialized education and care for age groups between 6 and 17 years as well as young adults from 18years and above. Young adults are trained to do gardening, weaving, woodwork, welding, metal work, candle making, pottery and poultry to enhance their skills so that they are not entirely dependent and can sustain themselves post their time and experience in these centres.