Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Solstice Matching campaign

Join us in...
The Summer Solstice Matching Campaign!
Dear New and Old Friends of Batsiranai,

Welcome to our first-ever fundraising campaign! Our wonderful fiscal sponsor, One World Children's Fund, is offering us a challenge grant of $2500! If our loyal supporters will donate a total of $2500 this summer from June 21st to September 21st, they will match each and every dollar!

That means we can end the summer with $5000 to help Batsiranai move towards self-sufficiency and send even more kids to school! Won't you please help us by making a generous donation? Our loyal supporter list is short and sweet, we appreciate any amount that you can give!

header 2OneWorldCF_green__2_ 2

How to Make Your Donation


Make checks out to One World Children's Fund (Write Batsiranai in the Memo line) and send to:

One World Children's Fund
1012 Torney Ave
San Francisco, CA 94129

Or online at OWCF's website:

Be assured that your donation will be credited to Batsiranai, if you simply:
1. Click on donation button on the home page (on the left)
2. Select Batsiranai from the drop-down list of organizations on the donation page, and fill in your information

And email us and let us know you made a tax-deductible donation! We honor your support.

Lynn Poole and Jan Stoner

What can Donations do in Zimbabwe?
$500 will do any ONE of these amazing things:

1 year of anti-seizure medication for 25 disabled children
1 year of AIDS medication for 1 person
3 treadle sewing machines
3 days of advanced Business Training for the management team
4 months of public school tuition for 5 siblings of our disabled kids
75 hours of individualized computer or English classes

About the Children


Most of the Batsiranai children suffer from cerebral palsy, a term that encompasses a number of neurological disorders that affect muscle control and coordination. Children are generally born with the condition as it results from a brain abnormality and the sypmtpoms are stable throughout life.

Althought the majority of Batsiranai children have cerebral palsy, but a number of other conditions are also present. These inculde micro cephalic, hydro cephalic, deafness, and one HIV+ child (with CP). Some have poor constitutions frequented by pneumonias and during the cholera epidmemic several of the children devloped cholera but all improved.

Meet Mai Edwin (Part 1 of Meet the Mothers)

Mai Edwin (Management Committee, widowed, son with Cerebral Palsy)

Artist Mai Edwin

Maybe this is a calling for me, having been given a disabled child. Through having this child, I have been able to know many more people than I would otherwise have; and I have been able to attend all kinds of workshops and through those learned a lot. For me it is very special to have a disabled child, because the Lord has trusted me to be able to take care of him. After all, I am "Mai Edwin!" ("mai" translates "mother of")

The Doll Campaign

header image doll campaign

They are small, cute and always smiling and have touched the hearts of people world wide. Just who are the Batsiranai dolls?

The dolls have been lovingly made by one of the Batsiranai women as part of a program organized between Batisiranai and Oxfam Australia. Sister dolls are made, with one doll going to the buyer and one doll given to a Zimbabwean child.

You can give a unique gift to a loved one, a gift that brings joy to two lives. By purchasing two dolls, you keep one and the sister doll remains overseas with a needy child in Zimbabwe from a family affected by HIV/AIDS. The dolls are individually named and decorated and are made from cotton fabric and dressed in traditional African costumes.

You can join in this campaign at any time, simply let us know that you are willing to pay for two dolls and you can improve the lives of two children!

The dolls have been a big hit, with more than 35,000 dolls sold over the past two years. We have just expanded their product range, adding a "mother with baby" doll to the collection. For each mother and baby doll sold, Oxfam shops will give a dollar to Zimbabwe breastfeeding clinics to support HIV and AIDS education.

Zimbabwe is in deep crisis: more than half the population faces hunger as a result of severe food shortages, inflation is running at 231 million per cent and the economy is in freefall. "The only wish I have now is for Batsiranai to grow bigger, and become an even stronger business so that we will be able to help others," Batsiranai member Mai Chiedza says, "because there are many people out there, just like us, wishing."

Despite the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe, the women are determined to continue making the dolls. Lynn Poole, who has played a pivotal volunteer role in getting this project off the ground, says it's a case of triumph over adversity. Join in the doll campaign today - support these phenomenal women and give joy to a needy child!

Our Mission And Vision

  • A self-help group for families with special needs children currently living in acute poverty and social and emotional isolation
  • Assist the families to negotiate the complex economic, medical, and educational requirements for a special needs child to develop to their full potential.
  • Create and expand a social entrepreneurial handicraft business so that mothers can work near their homes to support the needs of their families
  • Gain skills as community leaders to promote women’s empowerment in Zimbabwe

The mothers of Batsiranai dream of more!

They hope to:
  • Expand their markets to help all 600 families with special needs children in Harare
  • Have the ability to provide education for all their children
  • Obtain secure housing for each member and their family
  • Bring societal awareness to the value of people living with disabilities

How to Help

Sell Batsiranai Products

We welcome retail as well as wholesale sales. And if you want to hold a house party and sell these lovely products, we have volunteers to help you set up.

Invite a Guestspeaker

Volunteers who have worked and lived in Zimbabwe can tell inspiring stories of what life is like there and inspire you with the life-saving determination of the Batsiranai mothers


Batsiranai is assisted by a small group of volunteers in the US. There are heartwarming and realistic ways for you to become involved.


Your donation will help Batsiranai to develop its infrastructure and provide the mothers with critical business training and international marketing skills. It is through your interest and support that Batsiranai can expand. Tax free donations can be made through One World Children's Fund (Once on the OWCF donation page please select “Batsiranai, Zimbabwe from the drop down list.)

About Us

Batsiranai Mothers Group, located in a poor, highly populated township in Harare, Zimbabwe, is a women’s artisan group that creates embroidered and painted fair trade handicrafts for the international market. The members of Batsiranai are mothers of special needs children. In Zimbabwe, children with disabilities and their families are often shunned not only by society, but by their extended families as well. This social isolation and the lack of community often cause the families to spiral into extreme poverty.

Batsiranai began in 1998 when fourteen mothers of disabled children formed a support group. Their talent for embroidery inspired them to begin making handicrafts to provide an income for their families. They named their group “Batsiranai” which means “helping each other” in Shona, the local language. When the handicraft project begun, these families were underfed and hungry, now the Batsiranai motto is.... “Batsiranai has made us, FAT AND FATTER!"

Their drive and determination for success brought them to the attention of Lynn Poole, an American from San Francisco living in Zimbabwe. Since 2001, Lynn has been their full time volunteer and business mentor. In June 2009, Lynn was the recipient of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “Unsung Heroes Award” for her steadfast commitment to the families of Batsiranai.

During the last 5 years Batsiranai expanded and purchased 2 houses that are used for their daycare, Physical Therapy, workrooms, office, and housing for 3 families. The centre provides hot meals and a vegetable garden for the members and children working there.

Sales of Batsiranai products have allowed the group to expand to its current size of 100 members. It is self-managed by a committee of seven elected members. The group makes decisions as a team and is proud of their level of cooperation.

In Zimbabwe, Batsiranai is registered with the government through the Zimbabwe Parents of Disabled Children Association (ZPDCA) with a registration number of WO7190. Batsiranai is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), in addition to nonprofit status under the umbrella of One World Children’s Fund of San Francisco, California.

Batsiranai is indebted to the support of Oxfam Shop Australia, Ten Thousand Villages (USA), Rokpa Trust of Zimbabwe and Global Exchange Store and to the many volunteers and friends of Batsirnai who have given their time and hearts generously to the Batsiranai mothers.