Who we are

Children of Zimbabwe Society

We are an unaffiliated Finnish charity that will take your support in full to those who need it most

The Children of Zimbabwe Society is a Finnish voluntary organization with neither political nor religious affiliation. The society was previously known as Zimbabwe Aids-orphan Society, yet renamed itself in 2021. For over 25 years, we have been running a program to support the education and well-being of some 400 orphans in Dzivarasekwa, a poor suburb of Harare. The Dzikwa Centre is
a vibrant community center we have built for the children. Two-thirds of the children in our program are girls as they are more vulnerable than boys. The children go to local government schools and live with their extended families. In Zimbabwe, the program is run by our local collaborating partner, the Dzikwa Trust Fund, and its small permanent staff. In Finland, operations are entirely volunteer-based. A major voluntary contribution is made by the two Finnish founders, Seppo Ainamo and Oili Wuolle, who spend half the year in Zimbabwe overseeing and directing program delivery. The Society currently has about 500 members. The low administrative expenses are covered by membership fees to ensure that all donations go in full to those in the greatest need.

All began in 1992..

Our story

The story of Dzikwa began in 1992 when Seppo Ainamo, a Finnish man who moved to Zimbabwe in Harare after a business consultancy, promised to pay school fees for an 8-year-old boy, as his single mother could not afford it. Slowly the project started to grow and in 1995 Seppo supported eight underprivileged Zimbabweans. Oili Wuolle, who worked in Bank of Finland, found herself in Zimbabwe working for an educational organization for the Southern Africa in September 1996. In 1996 Seppo and Oili became a team as they shared the same desire to do good. The number of children supported increased to 36 in the same year.

With encouraging support from friends and relatives, Seppoand Oili were able to increase the number of children each year. In 2002, the project was properly registered as a foundation in Zimbabwe: the Dzikwa Trust Fund, which today acts as a local partner for all operations. Zimbabwe’s Aids-Orphans Society was established in Finland 2003 to increase the credibility of operations. Society cooperates with the Dzikwa Trust Fund so that Dzikwa owns our activity center for children in Dzivarasekwa, which was started in 2007. In 2021 Zimbabwe Aids-Orphan Society was renamed, and continues as The Children of Zimbabwe Society.

Our Mission

We aim to provide needy and talented orphans in Dzivarasekwa with access to sustainable
long-term education and welfare.

Our Vision

Children chosen for our programme are given a good start in life. The sound basic education they receive empowers them to build up their own country.

Our strategy

Our Society raises funds and supports in various ways the education, welfare and personal development of poor, talented orphans in the Harare township of Dzivarasekwa.

The day-to-day running of the programme in Zimbabwe is carried out by our local partner, the Dzikwa Trust Fund, with the support of the civil society organisation, the Friends of Dzikwa society.
Read our strategy document (in Finnish).

Our principles

Our programme has the best interests of the children at heart, stressing their physical integrity and emotional well-being as members of their own community, in accordance with the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). We use the funds raised wholly for the education and other benefits of underprivileged orphaned children,
two thirds of whom are girls. The sponsors’ payments cover the education of their own named children. No more than 20% of the funds we raise are used for activities outside the remit of the support programme in Zimbabwe. All work in Finland is done by volunteers, costs being covered by membership fees.

Our programme stresses the following basic values: hard work, honesty, a sense of responsibility, initiative, sincerity and help for the less fortunate. We value the children as members of their own community and representatives of their own culture. Our programme gives priority to openness, transparency and accountability, ensuring that all involved with our work can follow what we are doing, see where the funds we raise are going and keep track of the children’s progress as closely as possible. Our programme has neither political
nor religious affiliation.

Annual reports and operating plans

Click here to read our annual reports and operating plans.

Privacy policy

Our privacy policy is available here (in Finnish).

Rules of the association

Rules of the association (updated 18.7.2014) are available here (in Finnish).

Board 2021

Kaisa Leikola: chairman
e-mail: kaisa.leikola(at)gmail.com
tel: +358 40 508 4784

Pirita Mikkanen: deputy chairman
Risto Heikkinen: member
Oili Wuolle: general secretary
Maria Ainamo-McDonald: member
Sarianna Leporanta: deputy member
Thomas Djupsjö: deputy member

Marikaisa Niskanen: finances and invoicing