This is a message from Tom Benyon OBE (Director and founder of ZANE) to the the HIZ mailing list, sent 14th Febrary 2013
Earlier this year you were sent a letter from HIZ’s chairman, Nigel Kay, with news that HIZ and Zimbabwe a National Emergency (ZANE) would henceforth be working together. I am pleased to confirm that the administration of HIZ has now been transferred to ZANE and the merger is complete.
Like HIZ, ZANE is concerned with the critical work of supporting Zimbabwe’s destitute pensioners. However, we also carry out vital work within impoverished communities, our aim being to enable people to become self-sufficient. ZANE is a relational charity – we do not provide bulk aid, and only give to those whom we know to be in need. We form the only holistic social services network in Zimbabwe; before your money is put to use, recipients are gently means-tested to ensure funds are never wasted. Please note that all ZANE’s donors have a choice as to which aspect of ZANE’s work they would prefer to support: (a) Pensioners, (b) High Density and Clubfoot or (c) at the discretion of the Trustees.
In 2011, ZANE was honoured to be The Telegraph Group Overseas Charity of the Year. In order to give you an idea of ZANE’s scope and how its work complements that of HIZ, please find enclosed nine articles written by Telegraph journalists concerning our activities in Zimbabwe.
(You can download the articles by clicking here)
You may be surprised to find also enclosed a booklet of poems! This was sent to our ZANE donors a few weeks ago and the response has been gratifying. I am fully aware that for many, poetry can seem incomprehensible. However, as T.S. Eliot once wrote, "genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." Many of the poems included touch upon themes close to ZANE’s heart: a couple are by Zimbabwean poets and evoke what it means to live under such a brutal regime; many tackle the pain of loneliness and there are stirring words of hope.
Donors may wonder how ZANE can justify the costs of producing such booklets. The answer is that we are in stiff competition with countless other charities and need to have an "edge": it is my hope that these poems will be kept, perhaps working their way towards a wider audience. ZANE's booklets have always attracted donations many times the cost of their production and we, of course, hope that this will once again be the case.
(You can download the book of poems by clicking here)
Perhaps I can remind you why so many of Zimbabwe’s pensioners are ruined? Between 2002 and 2008, the greatest inflation ever recorded stole the value of pensions and savings, and rendered many wholly destitute.
Today, the situation in Zimbabwe is worse than ever before. Part of the reason is that apparently there are to be elections and signs of the inevitable violence that historically accompanies such events are beginning to show. Costs have spiralled and if there have been any improvements in trade, these are irrelevant to the people we assist because they live outside the economy. What adds to their anguish is that over the years other causes have come to occupy the attention of the world's media; it is not surprising that Zimbabwe’s pensioners feel that they have been abandoned to their fate.
I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the work of HIZ. Its mission has been to provide food and support to nursing and care homes facing grave financial difficulties and in some cases closure. Since 2004, Nigel and Maggie Kay, together with their loyal team, have worked tirelessly. Zimbabwe’s pensioners have every reason to be grateful to them.
Likewise, I would like to pay tribute to ZANE's staff, bravely serving the frail and vulnerable of Zimbabwe.
Please take a look at the last page of the poetry booklet – there you will find nine reasons why ZANE is a unique charity and wholly deserving of your support.(You can also view the nine reasons by clicking here) We thank you for your generosity and hope to see you at one or more of the forthcoming ZANE events.
Tom Benyon OBE
PS: We would like to suggest that if your circumstances allow it, you might consider donating the value of your winter fuel allowance to ZANE. However, any donations will of course be gratefully received.