By Style Correspondent
More than 150 people who were recently taken from the streets of Harare, have found a new home at Mt Hampden Training Centre on the outskirts of the capital city.
The training centre now harbours homeless people, mostly taken from the streets as part of government’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).
For the majority of the former street dwellers, the training centre has provided a new lease of life to them. They have been rehabilitated and absorbed into the arrangements of the institution doing ancillary tasks, like cooking and laundry.
Youth, Sports and Arts deputy minister Tinoda Machakaire, who toured the facility on Friday, said it was important for the former street kids to utilise their stay at the centre.
“We are going to work with relevant ministries so that you get proper documentation as well as get enrolled at this institution, but all we want from you is discipline,” Machakaire said.
“For now let’s focus on the fight against Covid-19. Practice social distancing and teach each other good hygiene.”
He said his ministry would help the former street kids get into mining and farming.
“Take this as an opportunity to start your life again. We will make sure that after going through training here, you get small pieces of land for farming. That is our priority, but please be disciplined,” he said.
Bindura-born Frank Mwambungo (26), whose “home” was at the corner of South Avenue and Orr Street, has joined the cooks at the training centre.
“I have seen the light. Rehabilitation programmes rolled out during this Covid-19 period have assisted us,” Mwambungo said.
His sentiments were echoed by 22-year old Maswell Bingwa, who said the Covid-19 pandemic had caused havoc in the world, but changed his life in a big way.
“I used to wash cars along Fourth Street in Harare and I slept on the streets, but now I am here and my life has changed. I now want to pursue a hotel and catering course here so that I become a professional chef,” he said.
The principal at the training centre, Ozias Marange, said vandalism and theft of some of the relief material from social welfare was becoming a problem.