Support for the refugees of Zimbabwe
Designing Hope set up a project of support for the Zimbabwean community of the city center of Johannesburg. This action includes the improvement of the sanitary conditions, the construction of toilets, supply of mattresses and sheets, heating and nutritional support, for a home-based care for patients affected by the HIV and the tuberculosis.
Written : 2010-10-27 - Last modified 2018-06-22
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This community gathers several hundreds of persons having found refuge since 2004 in the church "Central Methodist" of Johannesburg, situated in the city center. Between 1000 and 2000 people, men, women and teenagers sleep every night in this big 4-storeyed church.


During the day, the biggest places, including the nave of the church, are being used as classrooms of a school for the refugees.

A day-nursery is fitted out underground for helping the moms having an employment.

At nights, the wide corridors of the church are transformed into dormitories of fortune where the men sleep on the floor, and the women in the main nave. About fifteen teenagers sleep in the last floor in front of a wide glass windows, and directly on the stone floors.

The smallest do not (spend) any more the night in the church due to complications with the South African authorities and the mothers of these children have to find somewhere else to sleep.

Over the years, the internal life of the church however got a little organized and we count now a dressmaker, a professor of French language, a small library and a home-based care clinic for the people needing to stay in the bed during the day.


Designing Hope decided to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the people accommodated in the church. This support consists of :

- Arrangement of a small workroom with the existing equipment of the dressmaker, and the training of 15 women in sewing.
The training was the occasion of providing urgent needs of the center: bed sheets, bed covers, curtains...

- Support in the conditions of sleeping of the teenagers: repair of the windows, realization and installation of thick curtains, protecting at the same time from the sun in summer, and the cold in winter.

- support in equipment in the home-based care: beds, sheets, blankets, weekly contribution in food, repair of toilets and construction of showers, purchase of heatings...

This community being particularly affected by the HIV, the prevention and the access to condoms, are absolutely essential.
With volunteers of an office of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), situated near the church, a support group of HIV-positive patients was trained in packing condoms tduring their weekly meetings.

On the occasion, new series of condoms, with messages of prevention in Chona (main language of Zimbabwe), were printed by the association.

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