Well-wishers and voluntary workers continue to make it a haven for abused, orphaned and abandoned children in a positive atmosphere in Mzilikazi high density suburb.
The home’s financial woes have been worsened by the current economic and political situation, which has seen a lot of both its local and foreign partners either scaling back or withdrawing funding.
The children’s rehabilitation centre, which is run by eight voluntary staff headed by the administrator, Alfred Ncube, and the matron, Rose Nyamarezi, currently caters for 63 children, 27 girls and 36 boys who live under one roof as a large family.
“All the children we enrol are referred to us by the government through the Department of Social Welfare. We take care of orphans and vulnerable children from abusive families. We have residential facilities for 43 children – but right now we are oversubscribed,” said Ncube in a recent interview.
Most of the children at the centre are from a wide variety of social backgrounds and the majority does not have traceable records.
Apart from providing shelter and food for the kids, Emthunzini WeThemba (Shelter of hope) also looks after the children’s needs and help them grow into independent adults through the provision of both formal education and life skills such as sewing , carpentry and agriculture.
“Out of the 63 children at the orphanage, 59 are attending school at Mzilikazi primary and secondary, which is the nearest school. One of the girls did extremely very well in her “O” level examinations last year. Another boy obtained 10 points at “A” level and we are currently negotiating with a well-wisher for his university tuition fees,” said Ncube. The boy has been living at the centre since 2002.
The centre faces huge challenges – notably its lack of capacity to provide necessities such as food, clothing, education and medicine.
“We are struggling to survive. Over the past years we have been relying on well-wishers who have been providing food and other necessities for the children. The staff members have also not been paid anything for a long time. We all do believe that each and every person has the power to make an impact in the lives of these unfortunate children, both physically and spiritually,” said Ncube.
The orphanage home is also grappling with problems caused by obsolete buildings and infrastructure.
“The centre needs a facelift. The kitchen roof has collapsed. Most of the cooking stoves and water taps are no longer functioning, while sewerage pipes need to be attended to as a matter of urgency. We are appealing for help to undertake all these projects,” added Ncube.
There are also hopes of resuscitating the vocational training centre, which was closed down several years ago due to shortages of funds to pay trainers. Emthunzini Wethemba orphanage was founded by the late reverend Elijah Ndoda in 1992 to care for six orphaned boys.
Over a million innocent children are orphaned or abandoned in Zimbabwe due to the devastating HIV/AIDS crisis.Post published in: News