The Sunday News
Harmony Agere in Mhondoro-Ngezi
MHONDORO-NGEZI Ward 7 and 8, like many other rural communities in Zimbabwe, have been plagued by multiple social challenges that include lack of decent sanitation, food insecurity and poor public health for several years.
Without proper public service infrastructure like clinics, water treatment plants and roads, the community has battled diseases and poverty. Sadly, it is often vulnerable groups like orphans, the aged, the disabled and the less privileged who suffer the most.
However, with community-based initiatives such as Yemurayi, the community has started to hope again.
Led by Gogo Mushava, wife to Chief Mushava, who presides over Mhondoro-Ngezi District Ward 7 and parts of Ward 8, Yemurayi has taken the initiative to care for the vulnerable and improve livelihoods.
As a way of recognising Yemurayi’s work, First Lady Auxillia Mnagagwa yesterday toured the groups’ projects and awarded some of the best-performing members in cleanliness.
“Members of Yemurayi Projects sometimes walk for distances to wash clothes for the sick and the elderly, including fetching water for them. We all know that since time immemorial, aunts and grandmothers did the important job of building marriages. Today, I am happy that Yemurayi members are also doing the same job. All these projects under the jurisdiction of Chief Mushava clearly indicate the invaluable role played by chiefs’ wives in the welfare of their subjects.”
First-prize winners in cleanliness in the old age, middle age and young age categories were Margret Sayine, Maria Kwirirai and Margaret Sengeya, respectively.
They each walked away with a bicycle and a food hamper comprising cooking oil, rice, washing powder and pasta. Gogo Mushava said she was inspired to start cleanliness projects by Amai Mnangagwa’s work as the patron and founder of Angel of Hope Foundation.
“All I needed was just one meeting with her as wives of chiefs to realise the amount of work we have in our communities. I was aware of the projects she was doing across the country and I also wanted to do the same here.
“In our community, we take care of the vulnerable by washing, cooking and feeding them.”
Yemurayi is, however, saddled by lack of resources, and the First Lady gave a helping hand by donating food stuffs, detergents and money to help the project in its operations. The First Lady advised members of the community to keep their houses clean. She also encouraged women in the community to start projects in order to raise income.
“The splendid job being done by women, which I have also witnessed, makes me, as a mother, encourage you to keep your households clean. And this includes sweeping, adorning the walls using the traditional method of dung, if cement is not readily available, as well as cleaning the dishes,” she said.
Yemurayi is now working to register its work as a community-based project.
“I have been told that this project wants to formally register in order to make it known across the country.
“Yemurayi intends to spread its wings as other community-based organisations. As an initiative made up of bold women, the organisation also promised me that it will try by also means to grow to other areas.”
The community, the First Lady said, was lucky to have hardworking women.
“As Chief Mushava’s subjects, I can tell you that you are blessed to have an initiative by women to assist the community. This is rare in some areas, so I implore men to assist your partners. If you support them, they will certainly fulfil their objectives.”
Community member Ms Sarudzai Mawere said the First Lady’s work is changing lives for the better.
“To us as a community, it is a good thing to be recognised by the First Lady. It shows us that we are doing things right. Through her work, she has transformed lives in this community and the poor are being assisted.”