Mlambo targets US stars to raise money for hospital

Lumbie Mlambo is a source of hope for hundreds of mostly impoverished locals here. Touched by the plight of her contemporaries and inspired by the selflessness of her late father, she has pledged to refurbish the only hospital in Nyamandlovu, north of Bulawayo.

Lumbie Mlambo – founder of JB Dondolo charity.
Lumbie Mlambo – founder of JB Dondolo charity.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Mlambo recalled how life was rosy by rural area standards and how her father, JB Dondolo, was inspired by the passion to empower others.

She is grateful to her father that she had a decent upbringing and attained quality education, unlike many others in the area. He is the reason why she has embarked on a “Hospital for Hope” project to empower her peers through the refurbishment of the only hospital in her home area. The journey has taken her to the famed Hollywood.

Mlambo, 48, the founder of JB Dondolo Inc, was recently at the annual Oscars in the United States to seek the support of celebrities to raise funds for the project.

“We are currently in talks with a few celebrities we met at the pre-Oscars,” she said. Based in the United States, she has played a prominent role in the setting up of the fund, which seeks to raise $600,000 to rebuild the hospital.

“My late father was an orphan and he never went to school. He gave to the well-to-do and the not so well-to-do, alike. He had an eye for anything that was wrong and needed fixing. You could say he helped bridge the poverty gap by doing all he could with very limited resources to grow crops, raise cattle, pigs and chickens and sell them so he could use the money to help his community.

“He also used the money to send kids to school, give them clothes, food, shelter in his house as if they were his own children. Because I’m his daughter and I grew up under his guidance, I feel like I take after my father,” said Mlambo.

Igusi, the derelict hospital in Nyamandlovu lacks basic medical facilities as maternity, waiting and emergency rooms. Corroded asbestos roofing, a rundown fence, broken doors, smashed windows and dreary paint add to the gloomy picture.

It also mirrors the neglect public facilities have suffered from government after years of economic and political turmoil. JB Dondolo has broken the resuscitation into three phases.

The first involves the renovation of the roof, windows, doors and painting while the second includes the building of bathrooms, toilets, laundry room and guest house. The third includes the extension of a maternity ward, where currently there is one delivery bed and three recovery (post-delivery/recovery) beds, a mother’s waiting room and emergency rooms. The last phase would be to construct access roads to Igusi and hiring of staff.

“Igusi is really a clinic run like a hospital. This is the project that my late father was helping renovate but did not finish due to death. It lacks basic necessities. The hospital shares water with the school nearby. Our effort is therefore dual. We must move quickly to save lives,” Mlambo added.

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