Dear SOAP Friends and Supporters,
Hello again from the S.O.A.P Harare team in Zimbabwe. The economic climate here has yet again deteriorated to dire conditions. a. The Zimbabwe government has put further restrictions on almost all imports (food included) to promote local industries we are therefore expecting shortages as the local industries cannot meet the local demand. b. Physical cash is scarce and even funds held in bank accounts are at risk due to the threatened introduction of “bond notes”. Therefore in order to mitigate the negative impact of the above we have done our best to put as much funding into stock as possible and we are requesting that our outside donors only remit funds to Zimbabwe as and when we require them.
We, despite the situation, continue to operate – supplying food parcels to pensioners in and around Harare, Chegutu, Shurugwe , Ruwa, Marondera and Nyanga. The management team changed the S.O.A.P. Harare’s eligibility age from 60 to 65 in order to ensure that recipients met the stipulated criterion of having lost their income during the hyper-inflation period and bank collapse. This measure protects SOAP from being looked upon as a replacement “social service”. Despite these measures the number of old age pensioners we support has increased over the last two months – up from 230 to 240. Because people lost their cash assets in the various bank collapses and have now come to the end of liquidating the fixed assets.
The number of people living in tents at Cleveland Dam continues to increase because of the above. Currently up to 14 from 10 last month. Pensioners who have up until now been able to make a plan and cope, are coming to Harare from outlying areas where mines and businesses have closed down or down-sized. We are very pleased to report that S.O.A.P. Harare’s financial base is currently sound insofar as there are sufficient funds to cover operating costs for the next four months through to November this year. And, strategically, in order to avoid leaving too much money in the bank funds were applied to the purchase of “long life/dry” goods so this stock is secured for the same period through to November (take out) and S.O.A.P. Harare’s cash investment is not at risk. Otherwise the operation continues as normal – with a wonderful team of 35-40 volunteers who contribute their time and efforts so generously every month, working over a two day period packing and delivering. Storage, sorting, packing and distribution of the “food parcels” is still done at/from the Athol Evans facility – for which we are most grateful. Donors from within Zimbabwe include :
- Crystal Candy who supply chocolate marshmallows every month
- Eskbank often supply extra fresh vegetables (rejects such as English cucumbers which are not “straight” enough for sale to the public) over and above that which we pay for
- Global Plastics give us all the plastic bags required for the dry goods and vegetable packaging
- Imara Asset Management who hold donated Old Mutual shares on SOAP’s behalf. These are held in reserve and will be cashed only when the financial climate in the country improves
- Several individuals and companies give cash donations every month (to a total of approximately US$300 each month
- Various items of clothes and linen are donated and distributed almost every month
- Unexpected irregular “surprise” donations are made – in June this year Inamo Agri (Pvt) Ltd based in Harare delivered 20 10kg boxes of snap peas which were a highly appreciated addition to the normal fresh vegetable contents. Also anonymous donations of US$750.00 and US$400.00. And of course our regular very generous greatly appreciated donors from outside of Zimbabwe continue faithfully to support us to the tune of up to US$35 000.00.