The children with Mama Jean at the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Mutoko, Zimbabwe
In 1989 a South African warrior woman was inspired to promote the setting up of orphanages that would care for children who had been abandoned due to the AIDS pandemic. In 1993 five people from Harare took up the challenge to open an orphanage in Zimbabwe. The Government leased an area of land to them and the work was begun to clear the land for both accommodation and agriculture.
The Birth of Mother of Peace
Mama Jean and Sister Stella were educated and trained as nurses in the U.K. With the help of U.K. charities, the Catholic Church and other philanthropists, Mother of Peace was formally established as a safe refuge for the children of Zimbabwe. The community continues to be operated by Mama Jean and Sister Stella and children of all faiths are warmly welcomed.
In their early years, given the lack of proper medical treatment and medication for the children, Mother of Peace was a hospice where Mama Jean and Sister Stella cared for the children while they were dying of AIDS or other fatal diseases. Today, given the provision of medical treatment, medication and living support from The Allen Temple Baptist Church AIDS Ministry and other donors, the fatality rate has significantly reduced. The children are nurtured at the orphanage and then they are reintegrated within their larger family group. Mama Jean goes a step further and continues to give the children support!
The orphanage is comprised of:
- 10 family homes each accommodating up to 16 children.
- A Medical Clinic which provides HIV/AIDS prevention education and treatment to children living at the orphanage and also, to adults and children in nearby communities.
- A primary and vocational school.
- A farming operation.
- A bakery.
- A Catholic chapel.
The Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland CA has been a supporter of the Mother of Peace Orphanage since 2000.
In late 2000, Dr. Robert C. Scott and other church and Ministry leaders attended the International AIDS Conference in South Africa. During their stay, they also traveled to Zimbabwe and were introduced to Mama Jean and Sister Stella at Mother of Peace.
Dr. Scott and the other Ministry leaders were greatly moved by the significant needs of the children and the overwhelming commitment of Mama Jean and Sister Stella. Upon their return to the U.S., they formally petitioned Allen Temple to adopt the orphanage and to provide financial support. This support continues today and provides for the well being, care and enrichment of every child living at the community.
In addition, at the Medical Clinic located at Mother of Peace, Dr. Scott leads a team of U.S. based and Zimbabwean medical professionals and administers life-saving anti-retroviral medicine therapies and treatment to child patients with HIV/AIDS. Allen Temple AIDS Ministry sources and pays for all HIV/AIDS related medications.
I am so thankful that we have had the opportunity to be a part of the work of Mama Jean and The Mother of Peace Orphanage. Mama Jean has come to our church on two occassions since I’ve been a member just to talk about the progress of the children she cares for. She also spoke about developing self sufficiency and sustainability through the farming operation and the bakery that they have!
We’ve all heard the statistics about the number of children being made orphans because of the devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic. Mama Jean has stepped out on faith and has built this caring environment to nurture her beautiful children. The orphanage now cares for 150 plus children, and more are being referred to her. Mama Jean has goals set to expand and care for 400 children. The Mother of Peace Orphanage is a loving wonderful environment and the children definitely are thriving!
I am also thankful that the black church has been able to get involved with Mother of Peace and stand up and be counted as fighters in this HIV/AIDS battle. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of children adversely affected by this disasterous pandemic. But thank the Lord for Mama Jean Cornneck and her heart for the children of Zimbabwe! Her work within the Mother of Peace Orphanage is blessed by the Lord!
Now, if we black people could just overlook our differences–our surface, shallow political and religious ideologies…and instead look at our similarities–that we want empowerment for ourselves and self determination for our black people–and focus on those similarities, we would certainly be able to replicate a million times over what Mama Jean Cornneck has done in her small corner of space over there in Mutoko, Zimbabwe, caring for more than 150 children! Imagine what we could truly do to uplift ourselves, whether we are baptists, catholics, atheists, agnostics, or whatever.
Thank You Mama Jean and Sister Stella for being warrior women for the good of our children!
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