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Project Tariro Completes Merger with Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center

June 29, 2012

As of June 29, 2012, Project Tariro has completed its merger with the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center (VCT) located in the Old Mutare Mission, Zimbabwe, adding new services for people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as orphans and vulnerable children. This new development comes with the support of Africa University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, The United Methodist Church of Zimbabwe, and Friends of Project Tariro, U.S.

Mr. Mutsa Mujaji (Project Tariro Board Chairperson) said,

“By unifying these programs at the Old Mutare Mission, we will be able to strengthen our ability to help those who struggle with the effects of HIV and AIDS in the Manicaland community.”

Project Tariro began in 2007 as an initiative of United Methodist deacons under the leadership of Rev. Paul Van Buren, a deacon from the East Ohio Conference. “I witnessed the stigma of HIV and AIDS while working at Africa University, and felt that the United Methodist Church could do something more to help those who suffer, overcome isolation and live better lives.”

Just as Project Tariro was getting off the ground in 2009, VCT lost much of its funding and began scaling back services. “It was apparent that the energy behind the start of Project Tariro could benefit the existing clientele of VCT, so the board voted to merge.” said Van Buren. Transitioning has taken a bit longer than expected, but a more robust program is imminent.

Project Tariro currently provides medical, emotional and spiritual support, nutritional guidance and gardening, and job skills training for income generation. The additional services that come with the merger include identification and assessment of children who can benefit from orphans and vulnerable children assistance, and more in-field testing and education. The added programs will require a greater level of support, but leaders feel confident that where need is coupled with faith, difficulties can be overcome.

To learn more about Project Tariro and find out how you can assist, contact Paul Van Buren at paulvanburen@comcast.net.

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