Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
Local authorities countrywide have fully supported First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s ongoing measures to transform Chambuta Children’s Home into a full-fledged rehabilitation centre where children living and working on the streets in cities and towns attend school and are equipped with life skills to fend for themselves.
Those that are gifted in sport will be given a platform to sharpen their skills and be able to compete at international level.
In this vein, representatives from Zimbabwe’s 32 local authorities last week toured Chambuta to assess the situation on the ground and see how best they could chip in.
The former street children were moved into the home following their interaction with Amai Mnangagwa sometime last year and pleaded with her to help them access basic needs, especially shelter, education and food.
As someone who has a passion for children, the First Lady pledged to assist, working with the Department of Social Welfare.
Her Angel of Hope Foundation, whose vision is to uplift lives of disadvantaged children and other vulnerable members of society, then identified Chambuta Children’s Home.
The visit by the local authorities last week comes after Amai Mnangagwa’s recent visit to the home where councils and private entities affirmed their support. Most urban councils have challenges of children living and working on the streets where they are exposed to prostitution, thieving, alcohol and drug abuse.
Gweru mayor, Councillor Josiah Makombe, who is the president of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ), said local authorities were geared to ensure the Chambuta project succeeded in support of the First Lady’s noble idea.
“We thought the best way is to encompass every local authority to buy-in into the First Lady’s vision, hence the decision for all the 32 local authorities to visit Chambuta,” he said. “We went and toured the place looking at how best we can assist.
“As much as we have homes in our different cities, this one is unique in the sense that it’s not just a home. It’s a place where children will come and get skills before they are released into the society to look after themselves, which is something we do not have as local authorities.
“What we have are just foster homes where we give them food. This one is actually good because it makes children enjoy what is being done there because they do academic studies, motor mechanics, carpentry and all that.”
After the tour, Clr Makombe said local authorities requested a write-up from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Angel of Hope Foundation so that they could commit themselves.
“We ended up having a resolution to have a write-up from the Ministry of Social Welfare and also from Angel of Hope and from Public Works and we have given ourselves a timeframe that by the 13th of November we would have finished our meetings. Each council will volunteer according to its capacity,” he said.
So committed to the success of Chambuta is the First Lady that recently she spent some days living and working at the institution with the children to get an appreciation of the institution’s needs.
Head of Chambuta Children’s Home, Mrs Tendai Adam, said the institution had become popular, thanks to the First Lady who made it possible to mobilise people through her initiative to help the children from vulnerable backgrounds.
“The mayors and town clerks from all towns and cities last week visited our home as they all came forth to help Amai’s vision of making our home more habitable,” she said.
“Our visitors made a tour of our place and pledged to come back and refurbish and furnish our dormitories, some pledged to assist with garden tools, water tanks, solar pumps and construction of new dining room block.
“We are so thrilled and anticipate to see the final work as the transformation is set to start soon. Amai could not have done it all by herself, we thank her greatly for roping in different sub systems for such a worthy cause. Through Amai’s assistance, Chambuta Children’s Home will never be the same again. We appreciate her dedication.”
Empowerment programmes towards the children are underway, being implemented through training programmes in agriculture, building and motor mechanics supported by Mushagashe Vocational Training Centre.
They will be provided with a certificate of competence before they are further placed on attachment in their chosen fields.
When Amai Mnangagwa recently visited the home, the children expressed gratitude to her for giving them an opportunity to improve their lives.