THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) on Friday took 100 Victoria Falls orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) on a tour of the Rainforest amid plans to adopt some of those living around its game parks.
There are close to 2 000 OVCs in Victoria Falls and Zimparks wants to extend a helping hand to some of them as part of its social responsibility programme.
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri recently said programmes that ensure communities around national parks benefit from wildlife should help in fighting rampant poaching. The children were later served lunch at the authority’s lodges in the resort town. They were identified from Victoria Falls’ 11 wards and were hand-picked by child protection officers from each ward using the OVC register. Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said plans were underway to host children annually countrywide.
“We have done the same for 147 OVCs with Marist Brothers and next week we will be in Darwendale. We want this replicated in all communities adjacent to game parks,” said Washaya-Moyo.
She said while privileged children could visit resort centres with their parents and schools, it was Zimparks’ duty to make sure the underprivileged were afforded the same opportunities.
“They don’t have to hear about resort centres from other people. This is going to be a permanent thing as we plan to make it an annual event not only for children but for the disadvantaged elderly as well,” she said.