THE Chinese Embassy in Harare yesterday donated five tonnes of detergent-making ingredients and groceries to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation to bolster her empowerment programmes and transform the lives of a wide section of the country’s citizenry.
The donation comprised cooking oil, sugar beans, sugar, drums of soap stock and acid oil, dolomite and caustic salt for green soap-making.
Angel of Hope Foundation already has a soap-making machine which it uses to make soap for distribution to the vulnerable communities.
The foundation has also engaged women from different societal groups to be trained in the manufacturing of detergents in a quest to empower them so that they have a decent source of income thus promoting self-sufficiency.
The soap-making ingredients from the Chinese Embassy have already been put to immediate use with the foundation already making the green bar soap and other detergents which include dish-washing liquid, toilet cleaner and bleach among other products.
This will enhance capacity in a project that is already running, benefiting various communities.
In handing over the goods, wife to Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Madam Wang Wei said the Chinese embassy’s relationship with Angel of Hope Foundation had grown from strength to strength and had become unbreakable.
Madam Wang said it was rare to open a newspaper and not find an article highlighting the work being done by the First Lady to support vulnerable and marginalised Zimbabweans.
She commended the great people-centred work being done by Amai Mnangagwa across the country.
“It has become a norm and I look forward to those articles daily. Your approach to your work, one that is people-centred, has made you be loved and recognised not only by the local community, but also by the international community.
“The Chinese Embassy upholds this spirit of humanitarianism and people-centred approach with an equal commitment. Working with local organisations such as Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children Association and Dzikwa Trust, we have been providing consistent support for many orphans, children with disabilities and those living in harsh conditions,” she said.
Madam Wang said much more was being done by the local Chinese community including donating fertilisers, maize seed and drilling boreholes for communities and constructing classrooms for local schools.
A Chinese medical team, she said, provided medical consultations in Gweru and Bulawayo.
“As has been the case in decades, the Chinese and Zimbabweans always stand in solidarity with each other, especially when things get tough. Today we are honoured to formally hand over the ingredients for green bar soap making to the Angel of Hope Foundation and some groceries,” she said.
Madam Wang said ministers from China and Africa were convening a crucial conference in Senegal to take stock of progress in cooperation and chart the way forward.
“It is not a mere coincidence that our events happen on the same day. China-Africa cooperation has grown so rich and strong that everyday, on this continent, something wonderful is happening in this relationship, someone is benefiting from our cooperation. I am sure the age-old bond between China and Africa, especially between China and Zimbabwe will continue to flourish,” she said.
In her acceptance speech read on her behalf by Angel of Hope Foundation board member Mrs Rachel Nield-Geranios, the mother of the nation said her foundation’s existence was premised on bettering the lives of Zimbabweans who come from remote backgrounds, the underprivileged, women and children.
“We travel the width and breadth of Zimbabwe repeatedly assisting in the best way we can, the elderly, the orphaned, disabled, child-headed families, women, youth, children including the girl child.
“It is from this drive that Angel of Hope Foundation has engaged in project empowerment initiatives with the aim of uplifting the mentioned groups creating a pathway for them to earn financial independence,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa said as a mother she believed no one should be left behind and had also taken under her wing the responsibility of children living and working in the streets and founded a rehabilitation centre from them ushering new beginnings for the children.
The home, named Chambuta Children’s Home, she said, housed young boys of different ages who were rescued from the streets and it was her wish to establish a vocational training centre at the home in order for them to learn life skills that will assist in generating income, prompting self-sufficiency.
“I have also engaged women from different societal groups to be trained in the manufacturing of detergents such as soap and multi-purpose cleaners in a quest to empower women so that they have a decent source of income.
“These women include ladies of the night who have decided to change completely from a life of indecent solicitation for money to an empowered lifestyle of entrepreneurship,” she said.
Last week a group of former ladies of the night planted five hectares of the land they received to begin projects in farming and livestock rearing.
“I believe women can equally contribute to the development of our economy and every Zimbabwean citizen, if given the chance, has a pivotal role to play in uplifting Zimbabwe to middle income status. If we foster egalitarianism in our women through project empowerment, women of Africa have the strength to carry the economy of the entire continent on their backs,” the First Lady said.
She thanked the Chinese embassy for being an all-weather friend to her foundation and the nation at large.
“You have supported the Zimbabwean Government in this trying time of Covid-19 by donating personal protective equipment (PPE) and vaccines to help combat the pandemic and prior to this you have assisted immensely in projects aimed at empowering our people.
“The First Lady of the Republic of China donated PPEs to the First Lady of Zimbabwe in order to curb the Covid-19 virus. Your support has proven to be continuous as today we are once again to receive this endorsement from the Chinese embassy.”
The First Lady said the kind gesture would go an extra mile in assisting those in need of groceries and in the training of detergent making for income generation of various selected households in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.
She assured the embassy that the gift would reach the intended beneficiaries.