As leaders of all parties involved in the Rhodesian struggle continue to seek a peaceful solution to the continuing conflict, one of the most pressing human problems to emerge has been the fate of children orphaned by the war.
CU Sign "African Children's Home Epworth Mission"
GV Orphans playing at soccer (2 shots)
SV Orphans gathered around Rev. John Jabangwe, Orphanage superintendent
CU PAN ALONG Family of seven boys (2 shots)
SV Mr. Jabangwe comforting small brother and sister (2 shots)
CU PAN FROM Boy playing in tree TO children playing on swings (2 shots)
SV Children on slide
SV Children playing on rubber tyres (3 shots)
GV Children returning to dormitory and posing on steps with net dogs (4 shots)
The official death toll in the Rhodesian war has almost reached 4,400 since the beginning of 1978. This figure makes this year the bloodiest so far, since the start of the six year conflict. Last year 3,142 were officially listed killed in the fighting.
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Background: As leaders of all parties involved in the Rhodesian struggle continue to seek a peaceful solution to the continuing conflict, one of the most pressing human problems to emerge has been the fate of children orphaned by the war. At one home near the Rhodesian capital, Salisbury, a refuge has been created for a large number of these orphans.
SYNOPSIS: St. Epworth's Children's Home, once an ordinary orphanage is now haven for another kind of orphan. Twenty-four of the sixty-six youngsters here lost their parent in the war. Most now try to forget the past, but their refuge is threatened with closure and its superintendent, Reverend John Jabangwe is fighting rising costs to keep it open.
This family of seven boys made their way to the orphanage from a tribal trust area 150 kilometres (90 miles) away after seeing their parents die in their burning hut. Nobody knows how they made the journey alone and unescorted.
This brother and sister, aged about seven and nine, have refused, like many others, to speak about their past, despite Mr. Jabangwe's sympathetic questioning. All that is known about them is that they saw their father and mother shot dead.
Resources at home are limited. The children enjoy the few facilities provided to the full, but there is no money for new toys. Mr. Jabangwe relies upon government grants and donations from missionary societies and the public to run the orphanage. He attributes the decline in donations to the economic effects of the war and, despite having to cut back on some essentials, is determined to keep the home open. Above all, he says, the government is unlikely to close the orphanage because there is no where else for the children to go.
Apart from loving care, the children receive training in religion, gardening, animal rearing and farming. The orphanage pays for them to attend a nearby municipal school and when they come home, attempts to provide them with security for the home life shattered by the war.