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Nyanga youths assisting the aged and needy

Getting food and school fees for them are among her major challenges.

But instead of retiring to an old people’s home, the aged woman, who says she does not know her age but claims to be old enough to have seen the Second World War, slowly walks around her yard singing a church hymn “Mwari Mubatsiri Wedu”, which means God is our helper.

“God continues to do great things for me,” she says with a broad smile exposing her toothless gums.

“There was an agricultural show here recently and I emerged as number one, beating everyone in the whole of Nyanga.

“I could not have done it without the help of these young ones.”

As she speaks, three youths in green t-shirts walk into her yard.

“These are the helpers which God sent me,” she says.

“They are not like other children who waste their lives away doing all sorts of bad things.”

The three youths are members of the Nyanga Urban Young People We Care (YPWC) group, mainly comprising of school children who volunteer to help needy members of the society during holidays.

After exchanging greetings and a few jokes with the old woman, Basil Hondo (20) quickly goes out to fetch firewood, Admire Ndoro (20) takes a 20-litre bucket to fetch water while Walter Sibanda (16) remains behind doing household chores.

Gogo Tsara, who says she is unhappy with her incomplete houses and wishes for better shelter temporarily forgets her worries as she chats away with the boys.

Roars of laughter punctuate the atmosphere so much that the boys’ one hour visit is extended by another one and half hours.

An almost similar scene unfolds in Village 24 Dombo Resettlement Area in Nyanga South’s Ward 23.

Gogo Sylvia Nyawera (80) says had it not been for members of the YPWC clubs; she would have starved to death because she could not till her fields on her own. She has sight and hearing problems.

“I never cease to thank God for sending these young people to assist me with my work which has become difficult to do,” she said. “I cannot even see you, what more a small plant.”

Most of the YPWC members in the rural area are school-leavers who dropped out of school for various reasons including lack of fees.

They assist the aged, ill and orphans with various household chores and also run errands for them on a voluntary basis.

The chores they do include assisting in farming, fetching water and firewood, cooking, sweeping and washing dishes.

They sometimes visit the needy just to keep them company and also comfort the vulnerable.

In cases involving HIV and AIDS patients, the youths complement care givers’ efforts.

The volunteers selflessly serve their society despite challenges of their own.

Some of them are variously affected by HIV and Aids, with many having lost parents to the pandemic.

“I was ill for a whole year when I was supposed to be doing Form III so when I recovered,

“ I decided to drop out of school so as not to burden my grandmother with school fees requirements as she is already struggling to raise the US$16 I need monthly for my health care,” 19-year-old Hilda Matanhire said.

“I spend US$6 to travel to and from the nearest hospital and US$10 for my card to be stamped at the hospital for me to be attended to.

“After staying at home for some months, I later decided to positively while-up time by interacting with other youths.

“I am happy I did because together with my colleagues, we have assisted needy members of our society in various ways which they appreciate.”

Hilda said through the YPWC club, she has learnt to appreciate that one can still have a lasting healthy positive life even if they are infected with the HIV virus.

She is a strong advocate for elimination of stigmatisation of HIV and Aids issues.

Explaining the YPWC concept, Family Aids Care Trust (Fact Nyanga) programme manager Daniel Mudzinge said the programme, which his organisation is implementing in partnership with donors, was aimed at empowering the youths with life skills.

He said it was also meant to ensure that needy and vulnerable people get help from within their communities.

ENDS///

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