Nyagomos passion ignites One Million Zim Voices

nyagomo_handsover_petitionJOHANNESBURG - My life revolves around people, business, the community and supporting those in need, while my work involves caring for others, standing up for those who do not have a voice and supporting the efforts of fellow human beings in their bid to better their lives, says award-winning Barbara Nyagomo, a qualified general nurse

Based in Manchester, Nyagomo is the Director of One Million Zimbabwean Voices – a non-governmental organisation with offices and charity projects in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the UK. The organisation has also been instrumental in fighting the cause of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora fighting against their imminent deportation from the UK and trying to ensure their participation in their countrys forthcoming elections.

As the estimated four million Zimbabwean exiles continued to be left out of their countrys constitutional process under the inclusive government, and looked set to be excluded from the forthcoming elections, Nyagomos organisation last year led a number of protests meant to garner the international communitys support for the Diaspora to be allowed to participate. The organisation argued, and still argues, that voting is a persons fundamental right, hence the need for the Zimbabweans right to participation.

During one of the marches in London, Nyagomo personally handed over the Zimbabweans in Diaspora Voting Rights petition to British leaders at the Prime Ministers office at Number 10 Downing Street. But how did it all come into being? I am a very passionate community worker who loves working for the people because I believe that my purpose is to make people do better for themselves. That is why I formed One Million Zimbabwean Voices, whose main work is on charity, seeking to assist the hundreds of Zimbabweans and other Africans who are suffering around the globe, she told The Zimbabwean early this week.

Trained at the Parirenyatwa School of Nursing, where she was awarded the Best Student Nursing Award and having worked for some years at Harares Avenues Clinic, Nyagomo left for the UK in 1997, intending to further her career. In my early days here, I worked for St Thomas Hospital Intensive Care Unit in London, as part of the largest ICU team in the UK and specialised as a critical care nurse.

In 2001, Nyagomo enrolled with the Kings College in London, where she did Critical Care Nursing, as a way of formalising her skills. In 2004, she and her husband relocated to Manchester, where she became a mother and after the birth of her second child two years later, she decided it was time to go into business. I needed to spend more time with my children, who are both Asthmatic and feeling that I was missing the more important years of their life, I decided to work as a Nurse on part-time basis, something I still do even now.

In 2007, Nyagomo learnt to be an entrepreneur and started her own small business a recruiting agency that attracted several clients in and around the UK, but the agency closed due to the recession that gripped the world in 2008 and 2009.

However, Nyagomo did not allow that to stop her, as she recently used her resources to open another business – Afrobizsense, a business organisation that supports Africans to open businesses through offering them entrepreneurship training and sourcing funds for them.

Nyagomo is also involved with Top Notch Personnel, where she assists Zimbabweans get high-profile jobs in both South Africa and the UK. However, charity is now a major activity in her life, after she was touched by the plight of thousands of under-privileged Zimbabweans and other Africans, who need both humanitarian and material support, especially those based outside their countries of origin.

Life in the UK has taught me many things, but more than anything, I have always valued the lessons of Ubuntu/Humanity and family spirit that I learned from my days in Zimbabwe, added Nyagomo. Because of that, I have become directly involved in several charitable causes, after I realised a while ago that I was in a better position to help many of my fellow Zimbabweans and other people around me. I have so far worked as a facilitator for various Zimbabwean community groups, was part of the founding members of Rebuild Zimbabwe South Africa, but am now heavily involved with One Million Zimbabwean Voices, where I am the Director.

Nyagomos organisation, which has been heavily involved in political and human rights activism, is also in charge of a number of charity projects in South Africa, where it has done fundraising campaigns for unaccompanied children and is currently supplying food vouchers for them. The organisation is also in the process of raising funds for school text books for Zimbabwean children, to be sent to under-funded schools in Zimbabwes remotest of rural areas.

In recent years I have also become more energetic in support of Human Rights, Community issues, Womans Matters and Zimbabwean Issues. At present, I am most actively involved in providing support to Zimbabwean Asylum seekers, providing small business support, healthcare education and one to one lifestyle support. I am flexible, approachable and supportive of any project that empowers people, provides me with opportunity or opens the doors to allow me to change peoples lives.

All my work with the Community groups and Zimbabwe Charity organisations is on a voluntary basis and has given me the opportunity to learn more about community integration, human rights, funding, organising events, as well as working with other organisations and agencies. I have excelled as a great motivator and inject a lot of energy in my community to make a difference.

In recognition of her work, Nyagomo became the recipient of the first Southern Africans Achievers Awards in UK, held in London on August 15 2009, where she won the Best Business Woman Award and was also nominated Charity Champion.

She is currently studying for a degree in Social Sciences, which covers Social Policies, Sociology, Psychology and Criminology, which she expects to complete in 2014.

This year, one of Nyagomos projects One TV Africa, has been nominated for the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards, which recognise Zimbabweans throughout the UK who have pushed the limits against all odds to raise the Zimbabwean flag high and do both themselves and their countrymen proud.

One TV Africa covers African events in the UK and Southern Africa by providing on Demand TV viewing via the internet globally. It focuses covering news, current events and issues affecting people around the world, promotes African arts and culture community integration

But where does she get her inspiration?

I am the first born child in a family of seven, a true child of a farming and mining community in Zimbabwe, where we were taught the value of hard work at a tender age, she said. My father left us when I was just 18 and it dawned on me that I had to take up the role of assisting my mother in raising the family. I watched my mother work every hour she could to provide for us and drew both inspiration and comfort from her example.

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