Once a fallow field on the outskirts of Harare, Hopley settlement emerged as a refuge for those forcibly displaced from their homes in 2005, with small shacks scattered across the open field, seemingly fragile against the elements. There were no stores, schools, or churches in sight, painting a picture of a community struggling to establish itself.
In 2008-2009, during a cholera outbreak that gripped the settlement, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) stepped in with cholera prevention projects. The efforts aimed to curb the spread of the disease and bring a semblance of stability to the community.
Amidst the challenges, a bright spirit emerged in the form of 13-year-old Agnes Mwenyali. Having lost her mother a few years ago and with her father disappeared, Agnes found herself in the care of her 20-year-old brother. However, his long working hours often left Agnes alone, seeking solace with neighbors in the absence of communal spaces.
Agnes’ story took a turn for the better when CRS intervened, providing her with a safe, clean toilet and a Hippo Roller. These simple yet transformative tools were not just about hygiene; they symbolized a beacon of hope and progress for Agnes and her community. The toilet addressed a crucial need, especially at night when safety and cleanliness were paramount.
The Hippo Roller, designed to ease the burden of water transportation, became a lifeline for Agnes. It meant she no longer had to spend hours carrying heavy water containers over long distances. The convenience allowed her more time for education, play, and socializing with peers. Agnes’ newfound access to sanitation and clean water contributed to the containment of cholera and significantly improved her quality of life with the added ripple effect which extended beyond her immediate circle, fostering a sense of community resilience in Hopley Settlement.
As Agnes rolled the Hippo Roller through the settlement, it became a symbol of positive change. The story of Agnes and the transformative impact of CRS’s intervention showcased the power of small, thoughtful initiatives in building stronger, more resilient communities, even in the face of adversity.
And so, this tale out of Hopley Settlement has become a reminder that the smallest acts of kindness, the simplest of interventions, can spark a chain reaction of progress. Thanks to the Catholic Relief Services, Agnes, with her Hippo Roller in tow, continued to roll forward, symbolizing the unstoppable force of hope in the face of adversity.