Montgomery Heights Children’s Centre, Zimbabwe

Montgomery Heights is a children’s home about 80 kilometres from Harare, Zimbabwe. It is home and school to 56 children, from 0 – 18, carers and staff. The children live in 4 houses: babies, toddlers, boys and girls. Most of the children are orphans, and have been at the home from a very early age. The vast majority of parents died of HIV. Montgomery Heights is also home to a church serving the surrounding area.

Lesley, the director is British, but has worked as a missionary in Zimbabwe for over 25 years, and now has permanent residency. She is helped by Fiona, a Zimbabwean nurse and the longest serving member of staff, mother of the girls’ home and headteacher. For each of them it is a life of total commitment, to be where God has called them to be.

The centre was initially set up by local white farmers. It relied on the farmers for food, practical support, finance and friendship but this was taken away when the white farmers were driven off their land. Suddenly the centre had nothing; they had to learn to farm, to become self-sufficient, and to be daily dependent on God and on donations. There are days when Lesley does not know where food is coming from. There is tremendous poverty and it can be hard to find essentials, especially since the economy collapsed. The result is that the home and school run on love, hard work and prayer.

Recently one of the boreholes failed, the main cooking stove and solar water heater in the girls’ home broke, the sewerage blocked and there were many power cuts. There are also occasions when babies arrive at the home so sick that there is no medical option. All that can be done is pray.

Worship and prayer is at the centre of Montgomery Heights. There is a Sunday service, in typical African style lasting a long time! On Saturday there is a youth service which brings in some young people from the neighbouring villages. School begins each day with a prayer, and there are prayers in the different homes each evening. Once a week the school meets together for assembly and worship.

Many of the children have endured very traumatic experiences, but are aston- ishingly well-adjusted. Zimbabwean Social Welfare, holds the home in high regard. Montgomery Heights is a real family. The older children help care for the younger children. Children who have grown up in the home and who have now set up their own homes, often invite children currently living at the home for holidays.

If you are an Amazon shopper, you will know about Amazon Smile. Every time you make a purchase, Amazon will donate to a charity of your choice. Could you choose Montgomery Heights Christian Care Centre as your charity? It will cost you nothing but will help Lesley and Fiona to continue caring for the children who have no other home.