Ruth Butaumocho Gender Profile
When she left for the United Kingdom in 1998, Linda Satimburwa did not forget the trials and tribulations that her people back home in Hauna, Honde Valley in Manicaland, were facing.
Working as a nurse thousands of kilometres away from home and in a developed country for that matter strengthened her resolve to make a difference in her impoverished community.
And she has brought smiles to hundreds of people in her rural home Samaringa Village in Honde Valley by paying fees for close to 500 underprivileged children in the last seven years.
“The levels of poverty that characterised my life, while growing up, made me realise that I have a role to play in making a difference in my community,” said Linda during her visit to Zimbabwe recently.
Apart from paying for both primary and secondary students in the area, she has since expanded the initiative to co-curricular activities by donating football, volleyball and basketball kits. This is in addition to ICT books and overhead projectors she sourced for both Samaringa primary and secondary schools.
She has also extended her hand to the health sector by assisting Hauna Hospital maternity by initiating gender based awareness programmes at the institutions to educate the community on the dangers of the domestic violence.
The 45-year-old who is the founder of Global Hand of Hope International was recently honoured with the Community Champion award by the UK-based Zim Achievers Awards, for her initiating a number of community projects in her area.
“I am humbled by the recognition which will spur me to continue assist my people in whatever way I can. I would not want school age children to go what my siblings and I went through,” she said.
Linda who did both her primary and secondary education in Hauna recalls with sadness how her mother struggled to raise fees for her and her siblings, resulting in Mrs Satimburwa working in neighbour’s fields to put food on the table.
Seeing how her mother was struggling to raise fees for her children, well wishers including the teaching staff where Linda was attending school had to come to her rescue by chipping with both school and examinations fee.
That gesture of goodwill from her benefactors nurtured philanthropic aspirations in Linda. Soon after completing her secondary education in Hauna, Linda left for the bright lights of Harare, in search of employment.
Pushed by the high levels of poverty back home, she had to take up different jobs even menial ones to ensure that her meagre earnings would ameliorate the situation back home.
From being a chamber maid and anything in between until she was promoted to a hotel receptionist, Linda was beefing both her academic and professional qualifications.
It was while she was working at a local institution in 1998 that she came across an opportunity to train as a nurse in the UK.
The opportunity has since transformed her life, that of her siblings and the Hauna community.
“I am what I am today because of the decision that I undertook to explore opportunities in the UK. It has also opened my horizons while allowing me to assist my people back home,” she said.
With the organisation that she founded in 2007, Linda has been able to bring smiles to hundreds of families in Hauna and is planning to expand her operations throughout Zimbabwe.
With no donor assistance to fund her community initiatives, Linda has to use her savings from her pay-check and consultancy work to undertake all the projects.
“From my salary, I have to put aside 50 percent of it towards the projects that I am running back home. It has not been easy though, because there have been instances where our students have been sent back home due to delayed payments,” she said.
She has also been struggling to pay university fees for some of her students who did very well in their Advanced Levels.
Despite the glitches that sometimes threaten to derail her initiatives, Linda remains optimistic.
“I just have to continue pushing the boundaries to ensure that as many children as possible will have access to education against the odds,” said the mother of two.
She paid tribute to her husband and her board of trustees for supporting all her philanthropic initiatives.
The board is made up of George Golliate, Sue Mhundwa, Margaret Kututwa, Virgina Timburwa and John Madziro.
Linda comes from a diversified educational and practical background that covers secretarial studies, hotel management, nursing and midwifery, family planning and women’s health.
Apart from being an experience midwife, Linda has over 20 years working in the hospitality industry.