My first introduction to Zimbabwe came in 1999 when I got an opportunity to do my Occupational Therapy university placement at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. I fell in love with the country.  I don’t think I was expecting Zimbabwe to be so beautiful or prepared for the real sense of community and family that I experienced.  Over the years since my first visit, I have followed the news of the many injustices that this country has had to suffer and I suppose I have felt frustrated at not knowing how to fight against the wrongs that have been done.  This is why I love what Julie has achieved with Gogo Olive.  Gogo Olive is actively making a difference to many lives in Zimbabwe, bringing a real hope for the future.

As Julie’s big sister I am really proud of her and I am keen to support and encourage her in whatever she is doing.  In 2010 I went to stay with Julie for 2 months and experience the world of Gogo Olive.  During many chats and discussions the idea for developing the project started. It was great how Gogo Olive was offering the ladies a skill, a form of employment and a sense of worth and value but we felt we wanted to do more.  We wanted each lady to journey into the fullness of life for which God had created them.  We wanted them to truly grasp God’s love and the plan He had for their lives.  So I decided to try and develop this idea, which is how Gogo Olive Cares was formed.

With Gogo Olive Cares, we aim to disciple the ladies in their faith, to practically address any physical needs they may have and empower them by education. We try to do this by having weekly times of bible study, carrying out home visits and organising educational workshops.  We also have an emergency fund, which can be accessed by the ladies.  This has proved to be a very valuable part of our fundraising effort, as it has been used a number of times to assist the ladies in life threatening situations.

I was able to spend nearly 4 years living in Zimbabwe developing Gogo Olive Cares but I am now based back in Scotland.  Shorayi, one of our knitters, has taken on the role of Gogo Olive Cares Coordinator and is doing a great job.

I still get to work with Gogo Olive from Scotland for which I am so thankful.  Currently, I manage the online shop and help with business development and marketing.  I still try and get to Zimbabwe for a visit when possible. 

I love getting to work alongside my sister and so many amazing ladies. I feel enriched and privileged to be a part of Gogo Olive and appreciate all that I have learned from being in Zimbabwe and working with our knitters.