GENERAL MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR/FOUNDER
The birth of Fountain of Faith Foundation (FFF) will mark an exciting new beginning for the landmine/ERW victims in Zimbabwe. A new beginning to an integrated social investment strategy, which will give an incentive to our mission to self-reliance in pushing back frontiers of poverty among the landmine/ERW victims in remote areas of Zimbabwe. Landmine/ERW victims face many challenges and we as a foundation believe that the best , most sustainable way to meet these challenges is to address them head on.
While we feel privileged to be able to promote education, health, self-help projects, shelter for all and awareness in the affected areas, we don’t claim to have all the answers. The best solutions to the problems will always come directly from the people in these areas themselves. They possess a more comprehensive understanding of their challenges. For this reason we at FFF will strive to come up with strategies which will help them make a difference in their lives.
We will seek to empower landmine/ERW victims to achieve their own goals. We strongly believe that sustainable upliftment comes when people are no longer dependent. Self-reliance imparts dignity and opens the door for individuals to take control of their lives, their environment and their future. We at FFF hope to serve these victims with humanity and humility.
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The landmine problem in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the war of liberation of Zimbabwe which culminated into attainment of independence in 1980. At the peak of the liberation struggle, the Rhodesian Army laid landmines along the Northern and Eastern border of Zimbabwe from 1976 to 1979, with the aim of preventing the infiltration of freedom fighters into the country from Mozambique and Zambia.
It is believed that laying of landmines were the last option by the Rhodesian Forces as means of containing cross border movement by freedom fighters. At that time, the war of liberation had intensified the decision to levels that were considered as serious threat to then Rhodesian Government security, thereby necessitating the decision to lay mines to favorable and crossing points. At the same time villagers were moved to protective villages to make room for the laying of landmines. It is now apparent that there was no consideration of the problems and concerns that would arise on the cessation of hostilities. The problem in Zimbabwe today could have probably been avoided and considerations been made of the adverse effect the minefields would impose to people, animals, economic growth and resettlement.
It is estimated that millions of landmines were laid in six distinct minefield areas namely.
- Victoria Falls to Mlibizi
- Musengezi to Rwenya.
- Sheba forest to Beacon Hill.
- Burma Valley
- Rusitu to Muzite
- Sango Border Post to Crook Corner with a total of more than 500Km2.
Various kinds of munitions which range from small to medium bombs remain scattered around the country. The munitions can be arms caches and some failed to explode upon firing and remain to be tempered with to explode. To date these minefields have killed more than a thousand people, several domestic and wild animals, while several people are still being injured and maimed.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF LANDMINES IN ZIMBABWE
We are very much concerned with the suffering caused by landmines to the populace of the affected areas especially the mine victims. Landmines hinder free movements, kill or maim both human and animals. The populaces in affected areas have and continue to endure the suffering of losing their family members and livestock and worse still trauma of looking after those injured by landmines. When one gets injured by a mine, he/she can no longer fend for him/herself and it becomes a painful load to the family.
Minefields in Zimbabwe were laid mostly on the borders and some further inland. After the hostilities, people who lived closer to the border and those in mined areas were greatly affected as they could no longer enjoy free movement and socialize with their relatives across the mined areas. Agricultural activities, tourism, infrastructural development and grazing land are also affected as mines claimed some of the land.
IMPACT: COMMUNAL LANDS
The areas of communal land are inhabited by rural farmers. The impact of the minefields is both economic and social is very severe especially in area adjacent to minefields where there is land pressure. Loss of cattle has a telling effect to the ordinary rural peasant. Cattle represent the only real wealth of a peasant family being the only savings and insurance they have. Income from crops is minimal, and only likely if there is good harvest, a rare occurrence since most of the mined areas are in the dry region where good rains are rare. Thus the loss of cattle and other livestock is a very serious issue. It is estimated that more than 500 000 people were traumatized by landmines which were laid in their areas.