First Lady: True angel, beacon of hope

15 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
First Lady: True angel, beacon of hope

The Sunday Mail

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa was recently conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (Honoris Causa) degree by GD Goenka University of India in recognition of her accomplishments in raising the standards of marginalised communities, saving women from cervical cancer, protection of children, human rights and great philanthropic works.

Dr Mnangagwa has done commendable work, hardly ever resting, as she goes around the country to empower communities through various programmes.

The list of her exceptional philanthropic work is long and endless.

Below, is some of the philanthropic work done by Dr Mnangagwa to better the lives of Zimbabweans.

Dr Mnangagwa and her Angel of Hope Foundation always goes the extra mile to sow the seeds of love, unity and hope for the nation.

Widows, orphans, the elderly and people living with disabilities have had something to cheer about, thanks to the mother of the nation’s benevolence and her all-encompassing programmes.

As both mother of the nation and the country’s health ambassador, Dr Mnangagwa has been leading from the front in tackling issues that affect people like childlessness, inheritance disputes, domestic violence and caring for the elderly and other vulnerable members in communities.

She has been tackling the challenges of juvenile delinquency and counselling young people to remain respectful and shun drugs, alcohol and other social vices that affect their future.

Survivors of natural calamities, like the Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, were given a shoulder to cry on and she mobilised resources to alleviate their challenges.

Dr Mnangagwa has also visited the elderly countrywide.

During the visits, she encouraged communities to care for the elderly and performing acts of kindness as a way of training communities to live in harmony.

This is also contrary to views of misguided people who associated the elderly with witchcraft thereby neglecting them.

In most communities, it was noted during her visits that the elderly lived in abject poverty without decent meals and proper healthcare hence efforts by the First Lady to restore safety nets for them.

In January 2020, Dr Mnangagwa touched many hearts when she visited Umzingwane where people saw the importance of her efforts to restore safety nets for the elderly.

She met Gogo Violet Ncube (82) of Mawabeni Village who lived alone after her husband, her only child and grandchild died many years ago, leaving her to face life’s challenges alone.

When the First Lady visited Gogo Ncube, her homestead looked dilapidated and was crying out for attention, with the kitchen roof caved in.

Dr Mnangagwa’s visit rekindled Gogo Ncube’s hope for a better life, and she helped roof the house with her own hands before thoroughly cleaning the huts. Dr Mnangagwa through her foundation went on to donate an assortment of foodstuffs and toiletries to Gogo Ncube and other elderly people in that community.

She also embarked on nationwide tours to teach rural and urban communities on how to prevent the global Covid-19 pandemic.

So passionate about saving the lives of Zimbabweans, Dr Mnangagwa spent much of 2020, even risking her own life teaching communities about Covid-19.

She stepped up efforts to prepare rural communities against Covid-19 through enhanced awareness programmes that emphasised on hygiene and social distancing.

Dr Mnangagwa left no stone unturned in ensuring that people had access to vital information on how to protect themselves from the pandemic.

She distributed an assortment of foodstuffs, home-made face masks, sanitizers, blankets and detergents to the elderly and other vulnerable members across the country’s communities. She toured all the country’s provinces, including some areas deemed to have poor roads, to ensure everyone got information on the pandemic.

The First Lady’s interventions were timely because under the lockdown, the elderly and other vulnerable members of the community had run out of food.

Through her Angel of Hope Foundation, she has been mobilising Covid-19 resources for onward distribution to areas of need. Dr Mnangagwa also tackled social problems that erupted as a result of the introduction of a total lockdown like domestic violence, food challenges, child marriages and juvenile delinquency. Through her Nharirire yeMusha and Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba programmes the mother of the nation also speaks out candidly against domestic violence which affects the perpetrator, the victim and mostly the children.

She has emphasised the need to return to the country’s traditional ways of life which had inbuilt mechanisms to arrest such ills.

Women across Zimbabwe also benefited immensely from Dr Mnangagwa’s self-help projects which saw them start nutritional gardens, goat-rearing projects, farming, detergent making projects, sewing and cooking clubs among other money making projects.

In her efforts to foster peace in the home, the First Lady started engaging men’s representative organisations to hear their issues and help overcome ills such as physical and verbal abuse, domestic violence, abuse of children, rape and forced marriages, among others, that have mostly affected women and children. In February 2021, Dr Mnangagwa launched a cooking competition aimed at promoting Zimbabwe’s traditional dishes.  The First Lady’s Cookout Traditional Meal Competition, an initiative meant to showcase traditional food and its nutritional value, while also encouraging their incorporation in modern lifestyles. Chinhoyi was the first to host the competition with participants showcasing their talent in preparing traditional dishes such as Road Runner Chicken, mufushwa and muboora, among others.

The First Lady has also advocated cancer screening for women and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDS, and took the same campaigns to educate men on prostate cancer, among other diseases.

This saw her visiting various communities under the Free to Shine campaign, an initiative of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) which seeks to end HIV/Aids in Children by 2030.

Dr Mnangagwa is OAFLAD vice president. The campaign follows reports that 1,4 million children are living with HIV in Africa, south of the Sahara and this is over 50 percent of all the children living with HIV globally.

Every year, 150 000 children are newly infected with HIV globally.

First Lady said: “This is social injustice against children as new HIV infections among children are entirely preventable through provision of antiretroviral treatment to HIV positive pregnant and lactating women, safe delivery and infant feeding practices.”

Carrying on with her motherly love, commercial sex workers in some areas were plucked off the streets and introduced to self-help projects among other ventures to earn “clean money” and take care of their families in a dignified manner.

The First Lady and Angel of Hope Foundation have worked towards the transformation of Chambuta Refugee Camp in Chiredzi into a fully-fledged rehabilitation centre and skills training centre. As someone who has a passion for children, Dr Mnangagwa pledged to assist children working with the Department of Social Welfare.

Some children who were living and working in the streets of major cities and towns were committed to Chambuta where they are attending school and various courses so that they become self-reliant. All this is through the First Lady who spearheaded developments at Chambuta and roped in corporates, among other well-wishers, to achieve the dream. As the country’s environment ambassador, she has been working with the Forestry Commission to plant trees and educate communities on the importance of doing so.

She has spoken strongly against the cutting down of trees saying she was pained to see stakes of firewood on sale on roadsides of major highways and implored communities to stop the practice. The mother of the nation also initiated a schools’ feeding programme which was expanded to ensure children are well-nourished and free to pursue their education without challenges.

To sustain this initiative, wherever she does feeding programme visits, the First Lady provides maize seed for Pfumvudza, grain, rice, cooking oil and other essential commodities to schools.

Dr Mnangagwa also spearheaded the search for the National Dress Fabric after embarking on comprehensive consultations with different stakeholders and ethnic groups from all the country’s 10 provinces.

Speaking after launching the National Dress Fabric in January last year, President Mnangagwa lauded the First Lady for leading the milestone achievement that is crucial to promoting and preserving national identity.

The sky is the limit for the First Lady as she continues to show eagerness to do more in the future.

Most important, her constant phrase “leaving no one behind” captures the hectic schedule she always has and the cross section of communities that has benefited from her philanthropic works.

Congratulations Dr Mnangagwa.

Share This: