The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE’S previously marginalised communities have this year been given a lot to cheer about, courtesy of multiple empowerment programmes targeting them by Angel of Hope Foundation in conjunction with its partners.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has been devoting time and resources to ensure those in marginalised communities are not forgotten.
She has barely had time to rest, traversing the country to assist those in need.
The Doma people in Kanyemba, the Mola people north of Zimbabwe and the San in Plumtree have benefitted from her benevolence.
Nutritional gardens, goat-rearing, castor bean production, dishwasher- and candle-making, among other income-generating projects, have been established in various communities countrywide.
A programme to sew reusable sanitary pads has also been rolled out by Angel of Hope Foundation in all provinces, bringing relief to thousands of women in rural communities.
Clinics and health posts have also been established in previously marginalised areas.
All these projects would not have seen the light of day were it not for the First Lady who has a passion for the economic empowerment of women and children.
On Friday, the First Lady duly held an appreciation dinner to thank various organisations and individuals who have partnered her in her mission to uplift and empower vulnerable groups.
President Mnangagwa was also in attendance.
In a heartfelt speech, the First Lady said: “There are a number of individuals and organisations who have stood with me and my Angel of Hope Foundation, ensuring that all my planned activities and interventions have been funded and supported. All what I have been doing through the foundation would not have happened or been achieved without the support from Angel of Hope partners.
“From the bottom of my heart, I really thank you for such acts of benevolence, which I appreciate and encourage.”
She chronicled how she started the foundation and her journey thus far.
“On becoming First Lady in the late 2017, a lot of things engulfed my mind. I looked at my background, looked around and saw vulnerable people and I felt they were calling me to assist. I felt in me the urge and willpower to do something to help, but I had no idea what to do,” she said.
“That is when the idea of an organisation to help me fulfill my dreams was mooted, and I founded the Angel of Hope Foundation early last year.”
The foundation, she said, helped her focus on what activities she could do, the targeted groups and the services the groups needed.
She added that it became easier for partners and other well-wishers to work with her.
Through the foundation, Amai Mnangagwa said she managed to streamline her interventions into key strategic areas targeting different vulnerable groups.
She narrated how she is assisting in the health sector, particularly in the area of non-communicable diseases, cancer included.
“The reality that I came across when I visited hospitals in 2017 alerted me to the many challenges faced by patients in hospitals. This prompted me to introduce a mobile clinic which focuses on cancer screening and testing through the foundation, working together with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders.”
On empowering women and youths, the First Lady said she initiated various projects countrywide in partnership with relevant ministries and other stakeholders.
“I deliberately empowered the chiefs’ spouses to be the agents of change and economic empowerment in their communities,” she said.
She also spoke about how she brought a new lease of life to once marginalised communities.
“I reached out to marginalised borderline communities, empowering them socially to co-exist with the rest and accept transformation and integration into the modern society,” she said.
“To date, the Doma and San communities are slowly adapting to modern village lifestyles through building permanent houses, leaving their hunter-gatherer nomadic lifestyle. I am proud to say access to health services by these communities has improved as clinics and health posts have been established through Angel of Hope Foundation.”
After visiting institutions for the elderly and children, she witnessed challenges of food and other essentials before giving a helping hand.
Also, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, she embarked on the “Poto neNdiro” campaign in partnership with churches.
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed.
In July 2019, she was voted vice president of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).
Some of the beneficiaries of her projects attended Friday’s event and showcased their products.
Several organisations and individuals expressed interest in partnering Angel of Hope, with some pledging financial help.
The First Lady also had an opportunity to mix and mingle with her guests as they sipped maheu, which she personally prepared.