Dear SOAP Friends and Supporters,
Hello again from the SOAP team in Zimbabwe. Regrettably, since our last newsletter, the plight of pensioners (and indeed of everyone in the country) has further deteriorated due to continued gross mismanagement of the economy, so this newsletter has little good news to share! Circumstances in the country are tougher than ever. One little bit of good news, however, is that with the advantageous Rand : US Dollar exchange rate we are able to purchase our monthly dry goods cheaper than before!
The most important news we wish to share is that our operations have been properly regularised. SOAP is now a legally incorporated charity “The SOAP Harare Trust” which is formally registered with the Ministry of Justice (Protocol no: TRM 20/2015) and lodged with the Master of the High Court (0000929 July/2015). This essential formalisation was made possible through kind and generous pro bono legal advice from Mark Warhurst senior partner in Matizinadzo and Warhurst. From its inception right up until July this year, SOAP Harare had been managed informally with no legal standing or formal constitution so we are very happy to now be a legal entity.
SOAP currently supports 235 pensioners – fewer than reported in our last newsletter due to natural attrition – but, given the general prognosis of a bleak economic future in Zimbabwe combined with the effects of a drought year we at SOAP expect the number of recipients to increase during the next year. We were recently made graphically aware of the tragic domino effect the country’s long term mismanagement has on the man in the street. Three pensioners, recipients who no longer required (or qualified for) SOAP assistance when their personal financial status had improved by the sale of private homes, were once again forced to rely on SOAP only a few months later due to the loss of their capital in the collapse of two local banking institutions.
The space and convenience afforded us of the Athol Evans storage/distribution facility continues to be a great advantage enabling efficient collection, assemblage and distribution of the food packs. And we are always greatly appreciative of, and give big thanks to, the team of volunteers who so generously give their time and effort every month to ensure the food packs reach the pensioners.
And as always, our sincere thanks and appreciation goes to the donors from all parts of the world (Australia, Botswana, UAE and Zimbabwe) without whose consistent, big-hearted support SOAP would not be able to sustain its assistance to the pensioners.
Sincerely, Deleen du Toit SOAP Distribution Cell: 077 235 4603 firstname.lastname@example.org