Albert Marufu Features Correspondent
The Ladies of the UK (LUK), a community of Zimbabwean women based in England, has raised close to £40 000 to support members who would have lost a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.
The fundraising initiative, which is known as the LUK Covid-19 response, which started on April 13 and closed on May 15 sees each group member that would have lost a loved one receiving £1 000.
Flossy Kandodo, the founder of LUK, which has a membership of over 12 000 women, said so far 11 payments of £1 000 each have been made from the fund and at least 4 000 members have made their £10 once off contribution.
“We have now closed the collection (of funds) as previously agreed,” she said. “The total collected since we opened the fund is £38 071. We paid a total of £10 999.99 for 11 deaths.
“The closing balance as of May 15, 2020 was £27 071.42 and we refunded £70. We still await old Barclays statement which will increase the current balance.
“We expected to have a complete list of everyone who has paid by today. However, due to the fact that a number of people started to pay last minute within the past few days, our volunteer accountant Angeline Rati Muzira has not been able to finish the lists today as expected.
“We can certainly reassure you that Rati will work tirelessly to ensure the lists is compiled and we will certainly display them here as soon as they are reconciled within for transparency reasons. Thank you so much for all your support during this difficult time and for your patience.”
Kandodo said they will only stop making payments to the families when Covid-19 had been declared over by the UK government.
“There have been many suggestions, but we stand guided by the United Kingdom government,” she said. “There have been a number of suggestions with regard to what to do with the money when Covid-19 is declared over. The decision on what to do with the remaining funds will be brought back to the group and admins will deliberate on the suggestions.”
Kandodo added that LUK has administrators in each county of the United Kingdom and have a representative in Zimbabwe who helps in coordinating their efforts.
This is not the first time LUK has been involved in charitable activities in Zimbabwe and have been rewarded with numerous awards.
As recent as December last year, they successfully held a Christmas Ball to fundraise for the Chitungwiza Albino Children.
Kandodo revealed that many positives within the Zimbabwean community have been born out of the group.
“When I came into this country in 2004 there was so much mistrust among the Zimbabwean community with people reporting each other to immigration officials or fighting over women or men,” she said.
“We support each other be it social life, starting a business or in business. Many businesses for Zimbabweans were formed out of ideas that came out of LUK.”
A significant number of Zimbabweans, mainly in the health sector, have lost their lives due to Covid-19 in the United Kingdom.