Local couple house orphans

The Dhliwayo family of Muchena village, in Mutasa South constituency, opened their home to orphans at the height of the 1994 drought and, since then, more than 100 children have passed through their door.

Mildred Dhliwayo, the matriarch of the orphan project.
Mildred Dhliwayo, the matriarch of the orphan project.

Fifty-five-year-old Daniel Dhliwayo and his wife Mildred were moved by the plight of children who were homeless due to the death of their parents, or babies who were dumped at birth. Some of the orphans to benefit from their care were as young as a few hours old.

“It all started with two orphans in 1994. One was three-years-old while the other one was five. We named one Nyasha, she was from Old West compound, while the older boy was called Munashe and was from Freaks in Old Mutare,” said Dhliwayo. “Nyasha was abandoned by her mother who went off with her boyfriend to Mozambique. Munashe was found sleeping under a bridge in Old Mutare and we offered to assist him.”

Notable beneficiaries of the Dhliwayo’s care are Simon Nyathi, a University of Zimbabwe graduate who is now working in South Africa and Gladys Mutsemi, a

medical doctor in Bulawayo. Besides sending the children to formal schools, self-help and income-generating skills are taught at the homestead.

“We have started a poultry project and a cooking oil processing programme. For the poultry project, we have 600 layer chickens and 200 broilers,” said Matilda.

Their sons, David and John, who are based in England, are responsible for funding the project. The family also secured funding from an Australian-based NGO.

“I cannot mention the name of the NGO as we have been having some political problems because of our operations,” said Dhliwayo, adding that the NGO had promised to expand the cooking oil processing project and assist with school fess and other basic requirements.

Despite the noble work being done by the Dhliwayo family, the homestead has been attacked and labelled as an MDC-T project by Zanu (PF) officials in the area. Recently, another NGO based in Mutare offered to donate food and medication, but it was denied access by some Zanu (PF) officials.

“It is unfortunate that things have turned out like this. We are going to address the issue with our MP Misheck Kagurabadza so that he can do something,” said Dhliwayo.

Villagers in the area have castigated Zanu (PF) for politicizing a humanitarian project, in order to score cheap political points.

“A lot of vulnerable children have been benefiting from the Dhliwayo homestead, but it is unfortunate that some officials from Zanu (PF) are frustrating such noble and humanitarian efforts,” said Farai Dzingai, a villager in the area.

The Dhliwayo family said that despite the political interferences, they would continue to serve and assist vulnerable children in the community.

“We will leave it to God – he is the one who will guide and protect us,” they said.

Post published in: News
  1. Clementinah Rooke

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