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Love Zimbabwe

2014. Martha Musonza Holman

Martha Musonza Holman, from Abergavenny, has forged links between communities in Wales and Zimbabwe since she was forced to flee from the country in 2001.

Martha founded ‘Love Zimbabwe’ and ‘Love Zimbabwe Fair Trade’, a social enterprise in Wales selling fairtrade arts and crafts made by women in Zimbabwe.  ‘Love Zimbabwe’ works with communities in Chinamhora Village to improve sustainable livelihoods and education and Martha has also worked with ‘Fair Trade Wales’, educating young people in Wales about the importance of Fair trade and ethical consumerism. 

Martha believes in the power of education and feels strongly that people deserve equal opportunities. In 2009, she established the Chinamhora Community Centre. The centre provides educational facilities including a fully equipped library building with a sensory room, a community building for workshops and meetings, and traditionally built huts for accommodating cultural exchange visits with students from the UK.

The charity is working to build a birthing facility at Chiamhora in Zimbabwe, a community that Martha works directly with, and are working to help expand their student exchange programme work with universities in London and Wales.

In a personal letter to Martha, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“Since you were forced to flee your home over two decades ago, you have found a brilliant way of connecting communities in Wales with those back in Zimbabwe.

“Through ‘Love Zimbabwe’ and ‘Love Zimbabwe Fair Trade’ you are funding vital projects for people in Chinamhora and rural areas of Zimbabwe. You are helping people start their own businesses, and get a fair price for their products, so they can support themselves and their families. You are also improving educational opportunities through the ‘Chinamhora Community Centre’ and your support for student exchanges.”

Martha said:

“I am so humbled with this nomination. I’m passionate about my culture. I wanted to do something back home to encourage sustainable livelihoods, to help eliminate inequalities in households by engaging women in community development projects, especially parents of disabled children.”

Brydie Parks, an Anthropology student at Lampeter university who has worked with the charity in Zimbabwe, said: 

“While in Zimbabwe I was able to help the community in different ways. Being able to help someone and see how much of an effect this has is really rewarding and changes your perspective on the world. Working with Love Zimbabwe is one of the best things I have ever done, they are fun, friendly and supportive and I cannot wait to help them more in the future.”

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