Back in 2018, NorDan Technical Specification Advisor, Tom O’Sullivan, helped design and fundraise for an orphanage in the town of Kadoma, Zimbabwe. Since then, Tom has visited the town twice, firstly back in 2018 to visit the finished but vacant orphanage, then again in October 2022 to visit the children living in the orphanage.
A Quick Recap
The initial construction of this orphanage was overseen by Tom remotely from England and carried out by contractors from Tanzania. Tom stated that this was a challenging process as Zimbabwe can be an unforgiving country at times, with issues such as extreme hyperinflation making budgeting for the project extremely hard.
Tom’s initial trip was to visit the orphanage post-construction; this trip brought to Kadoma a variety of people from Tom's hometown of Stevenage, including a plumber, electrician, carpenter, and even Tom's own mother! Those who came to Kadoma assisted with painting the walls and gardening to help finish the orphanage and make it a liveable space for the children.
You can read about Tom’s initial trip and the relationship between Kadoma and Stevenage here.
Tom’s Second Trip
During his second trip back in October 2022, Tom was able to see the fully finished orphanage, as opposed to the vacant building he visited in 2018. He also had the opportunity to meet the children living there.
In addition to visiting the children, this trip had another goal: to bring over 400kg of donations in suitcases, including some NorDan branded supplies of course! Donations included clothing, women's products, footballs, and other items that are expensive in Zimbabwe but relatively inexpensive in the UK.
You’re probably wondering why the team couldn’t just ship these products over? Well, shipping to Zimbabwe can be extremely costly, especially for this type of supplies. Furthermore, customs can be extremely strict in African countries, which could have resulted in many of the supplies never making it to the end users.
As a special gift, the team provided a football kit for every local football team along with footballs in the hope of sparking community matches and bringing the locals together in ways that were not previously possible.
Tom described this experience as “An incredibly gratifying, humbling and a joyful experience.
How has Kadoma Benefitted?
When Tom revisited the orphanage during his second trip, he was pleased to report that it was a success. The orphanage is now divided into boys and girls, providing a safe environment for children who have had difficult childhoods to learn and grow. There is now a "mother" who lives with the children at the orphanage, and they have access to routines, safety and school.
We at NorDan wanted to help Tom and his efforts in Kadoma in any way we could, so we agreed to cover the tuition of all children at the orphanage in 2022.
We also wanted to ensure the children have the tools they need to grow and develop, hence why the majority of NorDan branded products Tom took over were school supplies and sports equipment.
Tom's Personal Journey
Tom’s personal experience in Zimbabwe was somewhat of a rollercoaster. Firstly, he shared that his living situation in Kadoma was a far cry from his comfortable life in the UK. Tom explained that he had to share a bed for the majority of his stay, had frequent power cuts and , of course, no Wi-Fi!
He also mentioned that the 10-hour coach journey into town ended up taking 17 hours in the scorching heat with 27 people on board.
However, it wasn’t all bad. Tom embarked on this trip with another goal in mind: to take the children on a trip to Victoria Falls, one of the world’s largest, and arguably, most beautiful waterfalls. Many of the Kadoma locals will never leave the town, making this an extremely memorable trip for both Tom and the children.
Tom believes that his charitable work has helped him grow and develop both personally and professionally. He stated that he has become significantly less ‘moany’ after seeing the resilience that the people of Zimbabwe show in the face of adversity.
Vision for the Future
Kadoma, like many other towns in Zimbabwe, still requires assistance in a variety of ways. The issues that the townspeople face, as well as the opportunities that they lack, are constantly evolving.
Currently, Tom is working on a second building for the town of Kadoma which will serve as a much-needed community centre.
The community centre is currently half finished, with plans to use it as a meeting space, education centre, and a place for youth groups to gather. They hope to eventually have a computer room to help close skill gaps and connect the town to vital resources.
Tom mentioned that the community in Kadoma is currently dealing with flooding, which has disproportionately affected the poorest areas due to a lack of drainage and infrastructure.
NorDan's Corporate Social Responsibility
NorDan is dedicated to using our platform to make a difference in the world.
We participate in a variety of corporate social responsibility activities throughout the year, including MacMillan Coffee Mornings, Movember, and charity golf days, in addition to funding education for children in Kadoma.
Last year we also made made an annual donation to support the work of Save the Children UK, and an extraordinary donation to support their efforts in Ukraine.
Our team has had the opportunity to learn more about the charity and how our contribution will help improve the lives of children all over the world. We are also fortunate to have a team of dedicated and generous people who volunteer their time to support causes that are important to them.
If you are interested in joining Tom and NorDan in supporting the cause, please reach out to the Stevenage-Kadoma Link Association by email or through Facebook: