By John Dongo
Tarisai Likangala is a young lady from Zimbabwe. She the founder of Deborah’s Heart Foundation, a youth-led organization based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Tarisai formed Deborah’s Heart Foundationin 2015 out of her desire to create an enabling environment where youths could devise solutions for challenges they are facing. She wanted to help capacitate young people and encourage them to actively and positively participate in their communities. As an organization, some of their focus areas include Career Pathing and Mentorship. What made them focus on these areas was their need to be as interactive as possible with disadvantaged youths.
As an organization, they have initiated a host of projects which include Write my future campaign, a project aimed at promoting access to education for children and youths. This project has assisted institutions like Gosha Primary school in Murehwa, Zimbabwe, where a total of thirty-seven orphaned children have received stationery packs including books and pens courtesy of Deborah’s Heart Foundation. Safe Hands Day Care, a centre for disabled children, is another beneficiary of the Write my future campaignwith twenty-six children from the centre having received reading materials under this project. Jacket-Bottom-Shoes (J.B.S) Campaign,is another project that Deborah’s Heart Foundationis running with. J.B.S campaignis conducted annually on the 16th of June as a way of commemorating the day of the African child. It is aimed at donating clothes and sanitary wear to young adults living on the streets of Harare’s central business district in Zimbabwe. Deborah’s Heart Foundationis currently running a One thousand stationery project, an offshoot of the Write my future campaignit is targeted at communities in Mufakose and Epworth in Zimbabwe, where school dropouts have been a consistent feature and they feel this project can go a long way in cutting down the numbers of school dropouts through ensuring that they have adequate stationery for use at school.
As an organization, Tarisai noted that their biggest challenge has been funding. Due to a lack of financial resources, they have had to forgo projects they were implementing in rural areas in Zimbabwe as the cost of reaching some of these places is beyond their means. They have challenges in accessing proper office space to work from as well and at times have to resort to making use of the local park, to have strategy sessions as a team. This lack of proper office space has led to would bedonors choosing not to invest funds. They have however, overcome some of these challenges by raising funds from the organization’s volunteer members through payment of monthly subscriptions. They get support from friends and family from time to time though it is still largely limited.
Tarisai on her quest to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people hopes in future to create rehabilitation centres, starting in Harare, Zimbabwe. where youths can access professional help for a range of problems including drug abuse to rape and depression at no coast. Access to professional help is expensive, and in most cases out of the reach of young people who come from disadvantaged communities. For those who want to start their own initiatives, Tarisai encourages them to never give up on their dream to make the world a better place. She calls on them to reach out and make use of key networks which include individuals or organizations that have a wealth of knowledge and experience in their chosen field. Tarisai also emphasized the importance of interacting with the right people who have the right mind-set that will encourage them and help them grow.