Zimbabwean Children’s Home Uses Scouting as part of its Care Programmes

Emerald Hill Children’s Home is a home for orphaned and other vulnerable children. Since 1914, the Roman-Catholic Dominican Sisters have provided shelter for children in need. Today, the home cares for the physical and spiritual well-being of about 90 children aged 3 to 20. The children come from a variety of difficult backgrounds, many of them having been abandoned by their parents or having gone through traumatic experiences of neglect, emotional and physical abuse, including sexual abuse. Apart from providing food and shelter, Emerald Hill actively focuses on the emotional healing of its children through Christian spirituality in daily life, the engagement of social workers and counsellors, and a number of other creative offers.

It is in light of this that the 9th Harare Emerald Hill Scout Group was opened at the home in 1937. Having started with just one cubs six, the group went through several transformations and homes until it finally settled at its current home, “the Kensington Scout Hall”. The scout programme compliments the physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social and character development care programmes provided at the home.

From commencement, the group used to run Cub Scouts programme only. However, in 2001 when David Love returned from South Africa, he felt it was imperative that a Scout Group be started as there were a lot of boys who were too old for the cub Scouts section but still wanted to enjoy the Scout programme. The boys worked on a few projects including the building of the Scout Hut. In 2007, 9th Harare Emerald Hill Scout Group opened its doors to girls when it accepted the first Girl Scouts into the group. The group is currently led by Romeo Kwenda the Group Scout Leader.

One of the Girl Scouts, Ivy Madakwenda, shares a poem to express what Scouting at 9th Emerald Hill Scout Group is like;

Honor – Scouting here at Emerald encourages honor as meaning the badge requires loyalty, trust and helpfulness.
Truth is sometimes difficult owning up for taking the last cookie from cookie jar can be hard.
Cooperation isn’t difficult because we are already brothers and sisters at home.
Learning makes school easier as the skills we learn during our Scouting activities are the same skills we learn at school.
Spirit- We have learnt to complete a task whether we are first or last. This is our spirit at 9th Emerald.
Food, glorious food – we love our food here at 9th Emerald. Ha ha ha!

Among the many camps, scouting skills competitions and activities the group has been involved in was the opportunity to send 5 Scouts to 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden 2011. Every year the Group also join millions of other Scouts worldwide in Jamboree-On-The-Air/Jamboree-On-The-Internet.

The Scout group runs a blog http://harare9thscouts.blogspot.com having previously started on http://9thharare.blogspot.com through which the share updates on their activities. In 2011 they kept in touch with their Jamboree participants through the blog http://2011jamboreezimcont.blogspot.com. You can also tweet them @9th_emerald.