Tendai Rupapa in Bulawayo
First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa yesterday donated an assortment of goods that included groceries and blankets to the elderly and the disabled here.
Over 4 000 people thronged Harvest International Church where the First Lady not only donated the goods, but interacted with them.
In her address, the First Lady said it was everyone’s responsibility to look after the elderly and the disabled.
“I am urging local authorities, hospitals, development partners, churches and the generality of Zimbabweans to dedicate resources and their time for the welfare of the elderly,” she said.
“It is pleasing to note that our Government is implementing the policy of inclusivity and has adopted the motto of leaving no one behind.
“In all its programmes, Government has committed itself to ensuring that the welfare of all its citizens, the elderly and those with disabilities are included and well catered for.
“I present it as a challenge to all of you here and the nation at large to examine your activities and answer yourselves whether you are a part to this national thrust of leaving no one behind.”
The First Lady said in most cases the disabled people were left out in developmental projects.
“Our citizens with disabilities frequently find themselves excluded based on flimsy excuses that they are not capable of carrying out certain responsibilities. I want to make it very clear today that this is a fallacy based on ignorance and as Zimbabweans we should not find ourselves accommodating this old unprogressive and unproductive belief,” she said.
“We want to see our people with disabilities being accorded equal opportunities with their able-bodied counterparts. It is necessary for our legislators to push for a legislation that sets aside specific quotas for people with disabilities. Access to education by people with disabilities must be safe guarded.”
Minister of State for Bulawayo Province, Cde Angeline Masuku, thanked the First Lady for visiting the city.
“Mama your coming into this office has restored the dignity of women. This shows us that you are a true mother who has the people at heart and we thank you for that,” she said.
“We are proud because this constituency of the elderly and people living with disabilities has been a forgotten constituency, but you came up and took up their plight and we are very grateful. We thank you also for coming up with a charity organisation — Angel of Hope Foundation, which is also assisting many of our women here in Bulawayo.”