Thousands graduate with Angel of Hope and ZOU certificates First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa hands over a Certificate of Training in Basic Sign Language and Disability Awareness to Takiwa Fani during the 3rd intake of Angel of Hope Foundation and Zimbabwe Open University partnership graduation ceremony in Harare

Blessings Chidakwa

Herald Reporter

It was all cheers at City Sports Centre in Harare as thousands of people graduated and were presented with certificates attained courtesy of First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation partnership with Zimbabwe Open University.

Over 12 000 graduates comprising the elderly, orphans, widows, those with disabilities, have benefitted through open learning in Harare province alone since the commencement of the programme in 2021.

In the month of celebrating women, it was all ululations as they dominated the venue packing City Sports Centre to the rafters being beneficiaries of free education in various courses such as agriculture, computers, culture and heritage Studies.

Other courses were Early Childhood Development, Basic Nurse Aid, Entrepreneurship and Business Management, Basic Sign Language and Disability Awareness as well as Counselling and Guidance.

The training even united families with a mother in-law and daughter in-law graduating together while a 75-year-old granny also defied the odds by being among the graduates.

Those who undertook Culture and Heritage studies have already started walking the talk as they stood tall with some of their displays including handbags with national flag colours.

Presiding over the 3rd Harare intake graduation, Dr Mnangagwa applauded people from the province for partaking in these life changing programmes.“The Angel of Hope Foundation/ZOU partnership for community empowerment through open learning is a window of opportunity to access education without discrimination,” she said.

“As founder and patron of Angel of Hope Foundation, I am so happy to preside over the certification of Angel of Hope Foundation beneficiaries.

“I am truly moved by today’s record-breaking certification ceremony number that speaks to the huge demand for life- changing short courses,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa said against all odds, such accomplishments had been made possible by determined women and girls some of whom had children on their laps while others trekked to different venues to access training in different skills.

“These figures speak to an unprecedented human capital development that undoubtedly feeds into the knowledge of the economy upon which Zimbabwe intends to attain vision 2030.

“The creation of a knowledgeable mass of people within our communities underpins Angel of Hope Foundation/ZOU short courses programme,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa said the inaugural certification ceremony for Harare Metropolitan province took place on 29 November 2021 when a total of 1 645 Angel of Hope Foundation beneficiaries were certificated at Epworth Board ground.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa celebrates with graduands during the 3rd intake of Angel of Hope Foundation and Zimbabwe Open University partnership graduation ceremony in Harare

She said the second intake certification followed on 30 May 2022 for 1 065 graduates again for the Epworth community in an area known as ‘Kubooster’.

“Today (Monday), Harare Metropolitan province certificated Angel of Hope Foundation/ZOU partnership short courses trained beneficiaries comes to 12 146 following third intake trainings involving Chitungwiza, Highfields, Central Business Mabvuku/Tafara, district, Dzivaresekwa, Kuwadzana, Caledonia, Harare South, Mbare and Police Support Unit communities,” said the First Lady.

Dr Mnangagwa also acknowledged the month of March as the ‘Women’s Month’ meant to celebrate women and girls empowerment and achievements internationally.

“This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is ‘embrace equity’. The International Women’s Day 2023 #embraceequity campaign theme is to get the world to accept that people start from different life backgrounds, hence true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.

“Today as we hold this certification ceremony, let’s reflect on equity which recognizes that each person has different circumstances. Befittingly, the Angel of Hope Foundation/ZOU partnership for community empowerment through open learning embraces equity, embraces diversity, and embraces inclusion,” she said.

The First Lady said the certification ceremony was a celebration of women’s month whose campaign is embrace equity.

Dr Mnangagwa said everyone has the capacity to partake in various life changing skills.

“You are being certified as a symbol of honouring your dedication in various courses you partook in which should change the way you think, perceive things, behave and even relate with others.

“Let me applaud the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, for strengthening the partnership between Angel of Hope Foundation and ZOU which empowers all communities,” she said.

Mrs Winnie Mare was in cloud nine after having graduated in Agricultural Studies.

“I am beneficiary of Agricultural Studies and having a farm I am going to fully utilise the knowledge l acquired from the training to do proper farming.

“Through the certificate I am also now going to further studies and acquire a degree in Agriculture. Amai assisted us greatly. We want her to continue doing so to all Zimbabweans,” she said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa presents a Certificate of Training in Entrepreneurship and Business Management to Rushesha Watson during the 3rd intake of Angel of Hope Foundation and Zimbabwe Open University partnership graduation ceremony in Harare

Mr Terrence Nyamazana who was trained in Basic Sign Language and Disability Awareness in Dzivaresekwa said this is a good programme which is encompassing even those with disabilities.

“Most often they usually struggle to get access to education due to various reasons, among them financial challenges but Amai has saved us.

“We are more than delighted since the programme was initiated. Our hope is that the programme being spearheaded by the First Lady be continued with people benefitting freely,” he said.

Mrs Cleopatra Rudo Tembedza trained in Mabvuku-Tafara area who received a certificate on Guidance and Counselling applauded the First Lady for Angel of Hope and ZOU partnership.

“Through my acquired knowledge I will now be able to offer Guidance and Counselling to our communities tackling issues of drug and substance abuse.

“I will also be offering counselling to domestic violence and children abuse victims. This is a wonderful opportunity afforded by Amai to us young women so that we can sustain our livelihoods,” she said.

Mrs Jaylene Chimbadzo Murwarwa who was trained in Mbare thanked Dr Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation for partnering ZOU in the training.

“Amai has empowered us as women so that we engage in various programmes instead of channeling our energy to gossiping.

“Amai has indeed shown us love embracing us all irrespective of stature and social standing. I was a victim of domestic violence but through Amai’s teachings I was empowered and now I am taking care of my family,” she said.

Mr Nyasha Ndlovu who is part of a group of people with disabilities was delighted for being afforded an opportunity to be trained.

“We were having challenges communicating with the deaf community, but now we are able after being trained. We also now know how to live with someone with a disability.

“All those with children with disabilities should come to us so that we assist each other. We are more than delighted by the teachings initiated by Amai. God should continue to bless her,” he said.

ZOU Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Gundani said ZOU management and staff appreciate the special attention given to social and humanitarian empowerment programmes which Dr Mnangagwa is offering through the Angel of Foundation and ZOU partnership.

Graduands follow proceedings during the Angel of Hope and Zimbabwe Open University partnership graduation ceremony held in Harare. — Pictures Innocent Makawa

“We are always amazed at the unbounded commitment you (First Lady) have demonstrated towards empowering the disadvantaged members of our communities,” he said.

Prof Gundani said the graduates are beneficiaries of short learning programmes which are called life changing programmes because they change the lives of disadvantaged communities.

Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Mr Tafadzwa Muguti thanked the First Lady’s partnership with ZOU for encompassing Harare residents.

“Perhaps in the whole of Africa there is no programme that has so much impact like the one you have initiated Amai. We are witnessing the fruits of true visionary leadership.

“When we started, we were under a tree in Epworth, but today you have filled the City Sports Centre with just that programme,” he said.

Acting Harare Town Clerk Engineer Phakamile Mabhena Moyo thanked Dr Mnangagwa for pioneering programmes that transform lives of ordinary people in Zimbabwe.

“Thank you Amai for implementing programmes that ensure no one and no place is left behind. To ZOU, we appreciate the critical role you are playing in educating the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe,” he said.

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