How do we work?
The Trust has built a network of volunteer helpers (44 to date – April 2010)
in the UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Zambia and Kenya. This
wonderful group deliver practical support for displaced farmers and their
families arriving in new countries – support which vastly enhances anything that
modest funding can achieve.
Typical Helper work will include:
• Provision of advice and guidance for new arrivals, and help with often
• Help to find accommodation and basic furnishing and
• Contact with recruitment agencies and related
• Act as a sympathetic ear or sounding board so they can discuss
worries and problems, and to keep in touch until they are established. Such
worries and problems can lead to a very wide range of supportive activities (see
“What do we do and how do we do it?”)
• Finally often, where necessary,
recommend to the Trust where financial support is needed. Many farmers arrive in
a new country with almost nothing: initial help with rent, with a second –hand
car to start a job, with basic needs for children’s schooling can make all the
What do we do and how do we do it?
Helping rebuild lives – A few examples serve to illustrate the
vital work of the trust
In recent years the Trust has helped over 200 farm families, and has been
able to disburse roughly £30 000 per annum. With your help we could do much
The following illustrate the wide range of Trust activities
beyond the basic logistical and moral support outlined in “How do we
- A farmer, with his partner and her young son, were found accommodation
with a retired UK farmer who helped with low rent and the provision of some
furniture and a TV.
Shortly after settling in they received news that
farmer’s ex-wife had virtually abandoned their two very young daughters who were
about to be taken into care in Harare – a truly awful prospect.
A ZFTF helper and friends managed, in an extremely
short time, to persuade the Foreign Office to issue visas for the girls to join
their father, provided he could get to Harare and find a judge to sign over
custody to him. This sounds simple but in reality was an extraordinary
achievement: the British Consulate in Harare was effectively besieged by
thousands of desperate people camping outside their doors and so normal access
channels were not available; finding a judge meant finding a lawyer – who had to
be paid, requiring the transfer of funds to Harare to buy Z$.
The helper then had to raise £3000 for airfares
and to cover expenses while the father was away.
Three very traumatic weeks later, father and
daughters were on a flight to the UK.
Three years later a happy, outgoing family is
fully settled in the UK
- Mr and Mrs A, both 75 and in poor health, had omitted to reapply for
residence in the UK, and were due to be deported back to Zimbabwe.
With the help of their local MP and immigration
lawyers, the Trust was able to have their residence permit renewed and so avoid
the awful consequences of a forced return to Zimbabwe
- ZFTF successfully obtained six scholarships for young Zimbabwe farmers
to attend Cirencester Agricultural College
Up to 200 Zimbabwe farmers are trying to start new
lives farming in Zambia. They have been warmly welcomed. Most will have started
with substantial bank loans at commercial rates. The high metal prices of recent
years have caused the Zambian kwacha to strengthen and so exporting farmers are
seeing a proportionate fall in income. For some this has meant debts rising to
The Trust contacted the heads of the banks in London as
well as the Zambian First Lady and the Minister for Agriculture in Zambia and
was successful in having the problem loans transferred to a new fund supported
by the World Bank and the Bank of Zambia at significantly lower interest rates.
This proved to be a lifeline for about 20 farmers.
- The murder of Martin Olds has been well documented in all its horror.
Happily his widow and son and daughter were able to come to the UK, and ZFTF
helped them rebuild their lives. Both children now have University/College