Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday exhibited her culinary skills when she joined women from Epworth to prepare sadza, roasted chicken, vegetables and soup while launching a cookery project in the area.
It was a marvel to see the First Lady doing pots and pans, ensuring her meal does not get burnt, just like any mother out there.
The cookery project is made up of seven groups of 20 people, and was launched as part of Amai Mnangagwa’s empowerment projects for women in Epworth.
The First Lady initiated the income generating projects through her Angel of Hope Foundation.
The foundation, in conjunction with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, provided training in various topics including hygiene and safety, costing, marketing plan and basic bookkeeping.
The First Lady brought a nutritionist, Ms Sharon Mvududu, from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, who taught the women skills ranging from cleanliness to nutrition.
Amai Mnangagwa challenged youths and men to form groups and come up with projects so that she can assist them.
She pledged to give women in the sprawling settlement small grain seeds to plant, while imploring youths to shun prostitution and drug abuse, among other vices.
Amai Mnangagwa taught participants gathered at KwaRueben hygienic practices and deportment.
She promised to provide them with apparel for the kitchen so that they look presentable while serving customers.
In her address, she urged beneficiaries of her projects to guard them jealously.
“I am a mother and a mother is not selective, she loves all her children, that is why I initiated these projects for you,” she said. “I love you Epworth. I am impressed with what I saw, the kitchen we prepared food in is very neat and the caterers were smart too.
“On personal hygiene, make sure you are smart from head to toe before you enter into the kitchen to cook for the public. You must also know the type of food your customers want so that you don’t waste food, inozosara isina kutengwa morasa.”
The First Lady, who is the country’s health ambassador, urged women in the cookery project not to use too much spices and ensure food was served while hot.
She jokingly said she was going to set-up her own takeaway restaurant in Epworth to induce competition and keep beneficiaries of her projects on their toes.
She issued out recipes to the women.
All the seven groups on Tuesday received kitchen utensils and ingredients from the First Lady so that they start their food vending business once cleared by relevant health authorities.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Esther Chinyanga, said as women from Epworth, they were looked down upon, but now they have gained confidence through the First Lady’s empowerment initiatives.
“Our mother laid a firm foundation for us by giving us training, kitchen utensils and ingredients from which we hope to build from,” she said. “She is not a selective mother, and what she did for us is evidence that she loves all her children countrywide. We promise to work hard to keep the projects alive.”
Provincial Development Officer in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Mr Enerst Chimboza applauded the First Lady for initiating the projects.
He pledged his ministry’s support in ensuring the projects are kept running.
During a recent interface with Amai Mnangagwa, residents of Epworth asked for help to start projects to generate income and sustain their families.
To escape current economic challenges, youths in the area had also turned to drug and alcohol abuse.
The visit by the First Lady made them turn the corner as most of them can now earn an honest living through sewing reusable sanitary pads, making detergents and opening food outlets.
On Tuesday at Angel of Hope Foundation offices in Belgravia, Harare, Amai Mnangagwa and her team were busy at work, with experts from Superior Detergents on the ground training beneficiaries on how to make laundry soap, lotions, petroleum jelly and dish washing liquid.
The First Lady is on record saying her programmes are not partisan.