Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
AT least 100 secondary pupils are set to benefit from First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s scholarship programme covering girls from different communities in all the country’s 10 provinces starting next year. Amai Mnangagwa revealed this during the official opening of the National Girls Camp at Lake Chivero which she organised through her Angel of Hope Foundation.
The scholarships seek to stem the surge in child marriages and ensure the girl child has access to education.
The First Lady’s intervention comes at a time when most underprivileged families marry-off daughters of school-going age after failing to cater for their education exposing them to serious health challenges and abuse.
The scholarship programme, the First Lady emphasised, was a way of empowering the nation and ensuring everyone had access to education especially the girl child.
The boot camp involves engaging, interacting and empowering girls who will get advice and teachings on several topics from qualified and experienced facilitators.
The First Lady said: “This camp is a unique opportunity and platform designed to empower, educate and engage you through interacting with various stakeholders and experts coming from different professions,” she said.
“As your mother, I want to see you all young girls grow up to be successful women equipped with technical, intellectual skills and upright moral standing.
“After this camp, I expect that each one of you will be ambassadors in your various provinces, schools and communities.
“I believe that every girl should be awarded the opportunity to learn all skills that will enable them to better themselves making them confident girls with self-high esteem.”
Amai Mnangagwa said the inaugural national boot camp will also help the young women learn on how to overcome any of the negative circumstances in life.
She added that the girls will also participate in talent shows and win prizes.
The First Lady said the girls in the boot camp were selected through the district and provincial structures of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavima said the First Lady’s programmes were transforming the nation. He said Amai Mnangagwa’s vision of empowering women should be commended.
Minister Mavima urged the girls to take the lessons they will learn from the camp seriously adding that the future of Zimbabwe lay in their hands therefore those awarded with the scholarships should take the opportunity to do their best.
Provincial Affairs Minister for Mashonaland West Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said: “In order to empower a society, you have to empower women and Amai you have gone a step further to empower these young women who are the mothers of tomorrow.
“Amai, your initiative will go a long way in alleviating social challenges like abortion and early marriages hence the boot camp which is offering a total package is well suited for our girls.”
The girls thanked the First Lady for the boot camp and scholarships.
Sithokozile Shonhiwa (16) from Minda High School in Matabeleland South said as an orphan, the scholarship from the First Lady would go a long way in fulfilling her dreams.
Nokutenda Mutsutsururu (14) from Mashonaland East promised to make the best out of the scholarship.