By Edward Mukaro
THE Covid-19 pandemic has brought untold suffering to the masses in Zimbabwe with one of the nation’s flagship vulnerable children’s food bank and academic scholarship providers, Dzikwa Trust reporting an influx of children in need of meals at the organization’s Dzivarasekwa 2 base, in Harare.
Dzikwa Trust supports vulnerable children in Dzivarasekwa through providing meals and local and international educational scholarships that are funded by benefactors mainly form Europe and other places around the globe.
The institution that was founded by a Finish couple Seppo Ainamo and his wife Oili Wuolle has managed to facilitate the education of approximately over a 1000 pupils, since inception, 26 years ago and has since been providing daily meals, stationery costs, tuition fees and uniforms for its multitudes of beneficiaries in the community.
However, the coming in of Covid-19 and its negative effects has got the Marah Hativagoni led Dzikwa Trust Board worried by the influx of orphans and vulnerable children at the institution, which has led to the stretching of the institution’s budget.
Speaking to The Business Connect reporters in an exclusive interview at her Msasa offices, the Dzikwa board chairperson expressed concern and called on members of the corporate world and well-wishers to chip-in and assist the institution to take care of the vulnerable members of society at the institution through any beneficial means, as the institution cannot turn away hungry and incapacitated children.
She also added that the number of children coming in for meals during the current national lockdown, since March 30, 2020, has increases since most families in Dzivarasekwa are failing to put food on the table due to the harsh economy and the incessant droughts, coupled by the effects of Covid-19.
“400 children are being assisted with school fees, uniforms, and daily meals. Most of these children are enrolled in schools that are in Dzivarasekwa.
“However, from April 2020, the number of vulnerable children in need of meals shot up to 800 and then to 1000 in a short while, and we have to feed these innocent children.
“Most parents in the Dzivarasekwa community are employed in the informal sector and given the lockdown regulations, they (parents) are not able to go to work and fend for their families, hence the influx of children at the center,” said Hativagoni.
Dzikwa Trust operations manager Taneal Kamuzungu added that the Trust is also in need of sponsors for some of the institution’s beneficiaries, who have excelled at their different levels of education but now face a bleak future since some benefactors have pulled out due the harsh economic environment brought about by the COVID- 19 pandemic.
“Dzivarasekwa is a vulnerable community. We are currently scaling up efforts to engage the corporate sector for the sponsorship of scholars on our books.
“We have about 50 students in need of sponsors in order to hold the children fulfill their dreams,” she said.
Dzikwa Trust has moved mountains, weathering economic storms over the years, and has established a state-of-the-art Information and Communication Technology center that is used by children in the institution’s books.
By Edward Mukaro