Heart4Kids is, above all, a story of hope. Sandra Denenga, a Zimbabwe native who resides in the United States, founded the organization in 2003 in honor of her late mother, Pedzisa Denenga - a generous, revered woman who provided food and comfort to Zimbabwean children in need. Today, nearly 1 million Zimbabwean children have lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Experts estimate that one in five children in Zimbabwe will become orphans by 2010.
When Pedzisa passed away in 2003, her life inspired Sandra to a special act of charity while preparing for the memorial service. In honor of her mother, Sandra used her own money along with contributions from friends to buy necessities and gifts for more than 200 children in Harare, Zimbabwe and the surrounding villages. As Sandra handed out these gifts to the delighted children, she once again felt her mother’s pride and love. Thinking also about her young niece, who lost her dad (Sandra’s brother) to HIV/AIDS, Sandra realized the magnitude of the work needed to reach all of Zimbabwe’s orphans.
As Sandra explains, “I wasn't the only one who had lost a parent. I also saw how the loss of my brother was affecting my little niece. I decided to turn hurt into hope by taking care of children like her who have lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Zimbabwe, in the same way my mother took care of all of us.”
With that, Heart4Kids was born.
Today, Heart4Kids is a 501(C)3 organization that relies on donations from around the world to help Zimbabwe’s orphaned children. Because 90% of the orphans live with extended family, not in orphanages, Sandra’s strong connections with local village leaders and teachers allow Heart4Kids to give educational and medical assistance directly to the orphans in need. Eventually, Sandra envisions building an orphanage center as a home for 100 orphans—and a center of hope for the surrounding villages.
Now with every child that Heart4Kids reaches, the generous spirit of Pedzisa Denenga lives on.