Visit our Harare post week 2

“The sun always shines in Zimbabwe”, well that’s my perception.  I’ve been told about the storm clouds and the rains, however every morning as I open my curtains all I can see is endless bright blue sky “Scorchio” is my first thought.

Streets of Zimbabwe by Amanda Thomas of Western Counselling

I’ve passed the mid way point of my volunteering experience – however I am very keen to return to see this venture become a true living entity – and am very aware that we now need get a property agreed and more Trustees and interested parties involved.  To this end, on Wednesday we are hosting a presentation on drug, alcohol and other addiction issues and suggesting that The Addiction and Recovery Trust and The First Step are a solution.  I shall be speaking as will a number of other committed folk.  Getting the community to invest both personally and financially is going to be key to getting this project up and running.

We attended a meeting on Wednesday for Gender Based Violence, HIV and Alcohol and to hear the Deputy Director of Mental Health, Mrs Sidholi, describe us as the Ministry of Health’s “partners” with a sound vision for residential treatment was a high five moment!

The Memorandum of Understanding has been submitted to the Ministry, returned and re-submitted.  I anticipate this cycle might be repeated a few times this week.  We need to ensure its agreeable to all parties and that includes the policy (legal and constitutional) dept, mental health dept and all Trustees.  We then need to be sure that the framework for service delivery is agreeable and the necessary license and registration is going to be available within this framework or will legislation be required.

It’s a long process and sadly one I will have to watch from afar, giving input as requested…

Western Counselling partnership with Zimbabwe for drug and treatment centres

We’ve started viewing properties and are preferring the rental/lease option currently.  Debate still continues about The First Step’s location, and I don’t think that will cease until we find a property that everyone can envisage being the residential centre.  We viewed one this weekend that was a potential candidate, however a considerable amount of work was required and it was in the outer outskirts of Harare.  We are hearing of other properties that meet the requirements, getting to view them appears to be a lengthy process.

At the end of this week we will know, from how well our presentation is attended and received, if The First Step will is currently viable and whether we should continue with our plans for this charitable enterprise that will benefit all sectors of the Zimbabwean communities.

If you would like to be involved in any way, volunteering time for renovation and redecoration purposes, training or counselling, alternatively donating to this worthy cause, please contact me: