Peter Matambanadzo Senior Reporter
The First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday celebrated her 49th birthday at her children’s home in Mazowe, where she revealed plans to build a secondary school, a university, a hospital and a skills training centre. The home already has a primary school, which is also open to the public and has 30 houses, which can accommodate 1 000 children.
Addressing ministers, senior Government officials, captains of industry, relatives and friends at the birthday, the First Lady said it had always been her dream to do something for the less-privileged.
“When we get the resources in the future, we intend to do our secondary school of the same magnitude,” she said. “We also intend to do a hospital.
“I note that we are not all academically inclined, so we intend also to put up a skills training centre.”
Amai Mugabe said her other aim was to establish an interdenominational church and a university to be named after President Mugabe.
“I love children,” she said.
“I ensure that they have everything. I have always told people when I do charity work that I don’t do it to get public adulation. I do it from the bottom of my heart. I am doing it for the children.”
Amai Mugabe said despite the legal administrative framework guiding children’s homes that children should be sent out when they reach 18 years, she would look after all her 82 children at the home until adulthood.
“It defeats the whole purpose of bringing them into a home,” she said.
“When our kids attain the age of 18 that’s the time they require parental guidance and I don’t think it’s the best time to send them away.”
Amai Mugabe said she brought up several other children including Steven Karim, a medical doctor, and Tsitsi Tseriwa, who has just finished studying medicine, but she had never bragged about it.
“Some people when they give a second hand shoe they call television crews,” she said. “Va (George) Charamba (Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary), we must stop that. It’s not right. Imagine if I’m going to donate second hand shoes and I ask ZBC to come.
“Imagine how much fuel they are going to use to come there. It’s not worthwhile.”
The corporate world and well-wishers donated US$26 000 and R5 000 as well as a variety of gifts, including blankets and groceries, to the children.
The donated cash and goods will be shared among Amai Grace Mugabe Children’s Home, SOS Children’s Home and Matthew Rusike.