The Sunday Mail
HUNDRENDS of vulnerable families in Marondera, Mashonaland East province, are benefiting from a food handout programme and scholarships that have been introduced in the area.
The coronavirus-induced lockdown has wiped off incomes and stolen livelihoods for many in the informal sector.
Lockdown regulations were relaxed recently, but private transport operators, nightclubs, casinos, unregistered informal traders, among others, have not been allowed to resume operations.
This is for fear that they could be vehicles through which the virus spreads as fears of a second wave grows.
However, Government has been providing a helping hand through a cushioning package for those that have been prejudiced.
Likewise, the private sector has positively responded to calls for them to also assist in the initiative.
“The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has turned our world upside-down in an unprecedented way. As the Adam Molai Foundation (AMF), we realised that there were gaps in the community that needed to be filled. When the coronavirus hit, livelihoods were jeopardised and we saw an increase in the number of people requiring food aid,” AMF chairperson Itai Watinaye said.
The foundation began its feeding programme in communities that include Nyameni and Dombotombo in December last year.
The initial programme included less than 100 vulnerable members of the society in Marondera.
However, the figure has since swelled following the outbreak of the pandemic.
The soup kitchens operate from Monday to Thursday every week providing two meals per day.
“We were catering for less than 100 people before the pandemic. However, the figure has since increased to 500 people,” revealed Mr Watinaye.
Besides the feeding programme, they are also in the process of identifying academically gifted but less privileged students to assist through scholarships. At least six students have already joined the scholarship facility.
Three are studying at Rhodes University (South Africa), while others have enrolled with local universities such as Great Zimbabwe, National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Midlands State University (MSU).
“As we engage in our life-changing programmes, we have grown into one big family and we need to reach out to more needy members of society. Our plan is to eventually make them self-reliant by creating employment opportunities and eliminate dependency.
“Among the students on the scholarship is the whizkid who recently made headlines after scoring 35 points at Advanced Level. Others are orphans or have unknown parents. In South Africa, we are currently committed to tuition fees of more than 100 000 rand per month.”
He said local companies are coming on board to partner them in their initiatives.
AMF programmes director Ms Nomagugu Matibiri said they were proud to be among those aiming to uplift communities by giving them the tools and skills that will empower them.
“We intend to establish self-sustainable income-generating projects to vulnerable communities. We aim to revitalise agricultural support initiatives for the benefit of vulnerable communities and to raise community awareness on the effects of environmental degradation,” she said.
“Our main focus is to empower our people and enable them to reach self-actualisation by introducing projects in the various communities thereby encouraging poverty alleviation. One area of interest is facilitating access to computers.”
The foundation is spreading messages meant to curb the spread of Covid-19. In addition, they are distributing personal protective equipment (PPE).