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Zimbabwe film wins BAFTA award

Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children, broadcast on BBC2 in 2010, which told the story of young sisters Esther and Tino and their struggle to survive, has won the 2011 BAFTA for best Current Affairs documentary.

A year after the film was first shown, the film crew returned to make a second film charting Esther and Tino's progress since they arrived to live at SOS Children's Village Bindura. Take a look at how Esther and Tino’s lives have dramatically changed since they came to live with SOS Children in Zimbabwe…

The first documentary followed the daily lives of children growing up in the country as they struggle to survive in dire conditions.  Esther, nine, is HIV positive and lives in a squatter camp just outside the capital Harare. She lives in a small tent with her mother and her three-year-old sister Tino, after the death of her father. The documentary follows Esther as she spends her days caring for her mother who is suffering from HIV/AIDS whilst also taking sole responsibility for the care of her little sister. Food shortages, poor hygiene and lack of medical facilities result in Esther and her sister frequently being ill. After Esther’s mother sadly passes away, the children come under the care of their uncle. However, he does not provide adequate care for the children, often leaving them alone outside in the heat all day.

Following the end of filming, the production team felt that Esther and Tino needed an alternative care solution to ensure their long-term well-being. After consultation with the girls’ uncle, the production team approached SOS Children to see whether we could help to provide them with a new home in one of our communities in Zimbabwe.

Esther and Tino came into the care of SOS Children’s Village Bindura. Our Village here has 15 family houses which provide a safe new home and a family for life for 180 children. Esther and Tino now live in House Ngoni, under the care of their SOS mother Kapurura. They have SOS brothers and sisters who come from similar backgrounds. When she first arrived, Esther was initially hesitant about the Village. As her SOS mother says: “When they came here Esther was saying: ‘Am I staying here forever or am I staying here for a few days and going back again?’ Now that Esther knows she has a safe home until she reaches independence, she feels reassured: “I like being well looked after. I like that I eat well in the evening and also in the afternoon and in the morning, and, at the same time, I go to school.”

Esther has started attending school for the first time ever and is being given private tutoring to help her to catch up. She says that she enjoys her lessons and is determined to do well: “I like learning. I am good at school. I will be a success. I will take my education to the highest levels.” Tino is attending the SOS Nursery on the Village site, and although she is still very young, she has already made significant progress since she arrived. Harold, the Village Director, says: “I think she already begins to feel more confident.” The children will grow up in the Village and have a normal family life. As Harold explains: “We try as much as possible to ensure that the life of a child in an SOS family is the life of a typical child anywhere else.”

Like Esther and Tino, up to one in four children in Zimbabwe are orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Across Zimbabwe, SOS Children are giving a new home to more than 500 children in our three Children's Villages. Three Family Strengthening Programmes provide food, clothing, school fees and medical treatment for more than 5,000 vulnerable and HIV/AIDS-affected children and their families, supporting them to stay together. Find out how you can help children like Esther and Tino by sponsoring an SOS Children's Village in Zimbabwe.