Tendai Rupapa in CHAMBUTA
WHERE there is a will, there is a way.
The statement aptly captures the rapid transformation of Chambuta Children’s Home into a state-of-the art facility with buildings of modern architectural design courtesy of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her working partners.
Amai Mnangagwa is a hands-on person and if she is determined to do something, she will find a way to accomplish it.
One may be forgiven for thinking the home is now a hotel owing to its palatial outlook which compares favourably with modern buildings in big cities.
Old buildings that were part of the centre have been replaced with far improved ones, thanks to the work put in by the First Lady’s Angel of Hope Foundation and her working partners who include local authorities and the business community who gave Chambuta a facelift, making it a complete rehabilitation centre.
The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation erected a multi-purpose court for basketball, tennis, volleyball and netball.
The First Lady played tennis with the children and said tennis was her favourite sport.
She also watched volleyball competitions between Chambuta Children’s Home and Chambuta school.
Later on, there was a basketball match between Chambuta Children’s Home and Chiredzi Secondary school.
The Ministry also built a multi-purpose cultural and creative gazebo for indoor activities.
Chambuta now also boasts a computer lab where the children are taught Information Communication Technology.
Children who were living and working on the streets of major cities were committed to the facility by Angel of Hope Foundation where they are undergoing rehabilitation and being equipment with vocational training skills.
Some of the Urban councils adopted houses which they renovated and furnished so that the children have a home setup.
Each house has a mother, who the First Lady said must have Bible studies and prayers everyday with the children so that they grow up as God-fearing people.
Bedrooms were furnished with beds and fitted wardrobes while the sitting rooms were adorned with television sets and sofas.
The kitchen has electric stoves, fitted cupboards while all rooms were tiled.
The houses were well-painted and individually fenced, enhancing security and ambience at the centre.
Yesterday, the First Lady toured the breath-taking developments at the home where there is also piggery, poultry, goat rearing and gardening projects which she initiated.
The sporting facilities and computer lab are also open for children from the surrounding communities.
In her address, the First Lady thanked all urban councils for partnering Angel of Hope Foundation for the success of her vision.
“The work that was done here is breath-taking and alone I could not have accomplished it. When we first came to this place, it was an eyesore and I gave you a task to make it habitable. It was not an easy task, but because of unity we made it possible. I cannot thank you enough all the 32 urban authorities, you did a great job. As a mother I love all my children and in this project, there was no politics involved, we all had the same goal of making our children feel at home. Today we are all here to witness our hard work,” she said.
The Chambuta community, she said, must guard the centre jealously and not vandalise it.
“This home belongs to all of us including members of the local community. Even the multi-purpose sport and recreation facility and the multi-purpose cultural and creative gazebo, are also meant for children in surrounding communities. They should come and interact with their brothers here, do sporting activities together and also learn computers in the computer lab. Madzimai, even our self help projects tinenge takuitira pano. I also have my house at this home such that whenever I visit this place, I will be staying among you. We are now neighbours and I will be looking forward to seeing your children coming to play here mixing and mingling with their brothers who are staying at the home,” she said.
The mother of the nation emphasised the need for the community to shun stealing and vandalism because these were detrimental to development.
“We must not tolerate stealing in our community therefore, I do not expect to hear stories of this place being broken into. Also my children staying here, do not steal things from your houses and taking them to communities for sale. We want a drugs free community because the moment you start abusing drugs and alcohol, you will be forced to steal so as to get money to buy more drugs.
“We want these children to grow morally upright and community elders it is also your duty to give them wise counsel and teaching them the do’s and don’ts of life. It takes a whole village to raise a child so let us all be involved in raising these children for they are our children,” said the First Lady.
The Angel of Hope Foundation’s patron thanked the business community for also working with her foundation by extending a helping hand towards the success of the project.
Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Tino Machakaire said his ministry was indebted with the First Lady’s philanthropic work which drives to change the lives of children living and working on the streets.
“It is pleasing to note that such facilities we are gathered here to witness their handover, will be replicated in some other provinces. Our hope, is to see these facilities being used to empower the children and communities staying around Chambuta at the same time identifying, nurturing and perfecting of various skills,” he said.
In his brief address, Deputy Minister of Labour, Public Works and Social Welfare Lovemore Matuke thanked the First Lady for her love and being apolitical.
“Amai you have shown us that all children are important. You are non-partisan and you are teaching us love and unity. The support you have given to Chambuta is overwhelming. You took children from the dust, bathed them and taught us that a child is important and belongs to everyone. When we first came here, these houses neither had doors nor windows. They were full of termites and were feared they would fall, but today this is a different story all together. We appear as though we are in the city. You have demonstrated love and humility Amai,” he said.
Mrs Tendai Adam, who is Chambuta children’s home Superintendent expressed gratitude towards the good works that the First Lady continues to do at the institution.
“The transformation of our home is beyond beautiful and this was made possible by the First Lady’s love and philanthropic work. A ‘town’ has been built as we now have electricity, running water, furnished houses with all household utilities, provision of a recreational facilities and the youth interaction centre with internet facilities. The works that Amai does go beyond just the renovations done here, having shelter, food, going to school boosts the child’s emotional well-being and sense of belonging. As the children who were living and working in the streets they have been through so much in life, through her works, her love and compassion heals the inner sorrows of these vulnerable children,” she said.
Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe President Councillor Josiah Makombe was ecstatic and sang praises for the First Lady.
He said if there was a way, the home must be named after the First Lady in honour of the great works she did.
“If possible, we from UCAZ ask the powers that be to change the name of this facility into your name because the work you did here is great.”
Cllr Makombe said what started as a thought, an idea in the First Lady’s heart, to transform the home into a place of safety and development for disadvantaged children had become a reality.
“When Her Excellency invited local authorities to assist her in renovating this place, at first, we had no clue how this former refugee camp, in its state at the time, could be turned into a children’s home.
“But as Amai explained her vision, we slowly began to understand. As local authorities we came together under Amai’s guidance and wisdom and adopted houses which we managed to renovate. We have done the work that Amai requested us to do and we did it to the best of our ability.
“The next phase is for these children to be taught skills here such as carpentry, brick laying, metal work, motor mechanics and so on so that we not only house these children but produce artisans who will contribute to the national economy instead of being welfare cases” he said.
Ms Shaida Kara from the Gift of Givers Foundation Zimbabwe said she was happy to witness the transformation of Chambuta and pledged her organisation’s continued support towards Amai Mnangagwa’s philanthropic work.
“We supported the First Lady by providing bedding and groceries for the children. We follow her and are inspired by the work that she does for the vulnerable groups across the country. We will continue to support her. We believe it is not going to be the first project that we will do together with her and we look forward to a long-term relationship,” she said.
Mr Venancio Kurauone the chairman of the Lowveld Business Development Association said; “We are very grateful for the initiative done by the First Lady. As a business community we embrace her philanthropic work and we put our hand in this while promising that we will protect and provide all the support needed at the centre.”
Mr Kurauone said what the First Lady had done removing the children from the streets was great since children living and working on the streets were abusing drugs.
A child living at the home was grateful to the First Lady for her benevolence and giving him a chance in life.
“I thank Amai heartily for what she did for me and my brothers. I was suffering on the streets and unsure where I would get the next meal. This changed when she took us in and gave us a rare chance to pursue our education and lead normal lives just like other children. May God grant her more favour,” he said while fighting back tears.
A foster mother at the centre, Mrs Esnath Zenda, thanked the First Lady for giving the children at the centre a new lease of life.
“I am staying with some of the children as their mother. We live with these children the way we do with our biological children. I care for their upkeep and check whether they would have eaten and bathed. We teach them that after waking up we make the bed, bath, sweep the house, clean the yard and water the garden. I have a bond with these children just like my own children. The children are respectful. The first lady’s programme is good because the children have sad tales to tell but here they are living well,” said Mrs Zenda.
Mayors, councillors and Chiefs attended the programme.
Through her foundation, the First Lady donated foodstuffs to the community.
The way the First Lady has worked hard to transform the centre alongside various partners shows how unity and passion to do good can drive positive change in the country.