Scientific evidence has proven that a mother’s care is a key determinant to a child’s biological development.
As a result, the nature of love has become the subject of scientific study over the last decade.
Some scholars have also come to conclude that a mother’s love acts as a template for love itself.
It is in the spirit of this kind of love that The Sunday Mail and its supporting partners celebrated Mother’s Day by extending a warm hand to the less-privileged members of society.
The gesture follows the realisation that there are people who have since lost touch with the world and do not have relatives to look up to.
To these people, survival hinges on the help from “strangers”.
But for residents at Chengetanai Old People’s Home and Nazareth Shelter in Chinhoyi, a smile was brought to their faces when The Sunday Mail and its partners took time to visit and donate some goodies.
The donation, which included blankets, mattresses, clothes, groceries, toilet chemicals, and a refrigerator, was in line with The Sunday Mail’s annual Mother’s Day celebration initiated in 2005.
However, away from the goodies, the lot of senior citizens is a miserable one.
The facilities are struggling to offer the best of accommodation for these elderly members of society due to dire financial problems.
Ms Dorcas Zuze (87), who went to Chengetanai Old People’s Home in 2007, after having worked as a farm labourer for many years and the death of her three children, said she had fallen on tough times.
Gogo Zuze, who suffers from asthma, said she was living in agony as she had failed to take care of her three children left behind by her siblings.
“I was identified by the (department of) social welfare. They brought me here since I could no longer look after myself. My grandchildren have also been taken to a children’s home,” she said.
“As I see, these kind people (who donated the goodies) filled me with joy.”
Investigations by The Sunday Mail In-Depth revealed that the two old people’s homes were in a sorry state.
The residents slept on the floor with a few blankets and the mattresses available are old and torn.
In the bedrooms, clothes hang on wire lines from one end of the wall to the other.
At times, the homes go for days on end without water, forcing the residents to relieve themselves in makeshift backyard toilets. While the centres have their challenges, founder of Chengetanai Old People’s Home Ms Florence Howard expressed appreciation for timely donation. She said life at the centre was difficult.
“It’s not an easy task because most of them behave like little children. Some are mentally disturbed, so it is difficult to communicate with them. They can even shout at you
demanding food. We have others who soil themselves,” she said.
“What makes the situation worse is that our water supplies are erratic and we do not have sanitary chemicals. This place is prone to diseases such as cholera and typhoid.”
Representative of HelpAge Mr Adonis Faifi concurred with Ms Howard, adding that one has to have a kind heart when dealing with the elderly.
“It’s very difficult to work with the old. It is sad to note that as we move around in the old people’s home and in the rural areas, some of them have even died due to hunger and cold,” he said.
“They are left with the burden of taking care of the orphans from their children who would have died.
“We are lobbying the Government to pass a Bill which allows the old people to be given grants to sustain themselves.”
Zimpapers, through its largest circulating family newspaper, The Sunday Mail, urged the business community to come to the aid of the less-privileged members of society.
The Sunday Mail Editor Brezhnev Malaba said there was need for sustainable solutions to the problems facing people in need of assistance.
“We need to share the burden of the people who are in need. A number of needs have been identified such as boreholes, televisions and many other things, but, as companies, it is our responsibility to provide solutions.
“The economy was unstable of late, which saw a number of companies closing down in the major cities, but you should be grateful that you have someone to remember you. I express my gratitude to all the sponsors who joined The Sunday Mail in this initiative,” said Malaba.
Labour and Social Services Minister Paurina Mpariwa said the Government has been facing challenges to fund homes looking after the disadvantaged.
“As Government we have always been monitoring old people’s and children’s homes because that is our responsibility.
“We go around the country, but it is unfortunate that not all homes benefit from the few funds allocated to our ministry,” said Minister Mpariwa.
The companies that donated to the two old people’s homes included Clipcrunt Real Estate, Peavy Chemicals, Chicken Inn, Chicken Slice, Toyota Zimbabwe, Helpage and Zimpapers.