First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has challenged Zimbabweans to work hard in unity if Zimbabwe is to accrue benefits from the new political dispensation prevailing in the country.
Addressing hundreds of people gathered at Bopoma Children's Home in Ndanga communal lands of Zaka yesterday, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa exhorted Zimbabweans to work for the development of the nation. The First Lady also presented food hampers to children at the home and five different other homes from across Masvingo Province.
"A new Zimbabwe, a new dispensation, needs hard workers," she said. "We need to work and create jobs in our country if we are to achieve socio-economic development. We cannot afford to just talk without doing anything, we need to work as one united family if we are to develop."
The First Lady implored traditional leaders to help in the restoration of Zimbabwe's moral fabric, stressing that she was concerned with a surge in the number of homeless children. She said her love for children was inspired by her own position as a mother and grandmother.
"I will continue to work tirelessly to help these homeless children and make sure they are taken care of," she said. "I want to urge all Zimbabweans to support me in this noble cause to help homeless children because some of them have special talents that need to be developed and nurtured.
"I alone cannot manage on my own to improve the welfare of these children. I need the support of all Zimbabweans to look after these children." The First Lady said traditional leaders should be at the forefront of inculcating cultural values that promoted development of the family unit.
She attributed the proliferation of children's homes around Zimbabwe to diseases such as HIV and Aids, together with increasing cases of baby dumping.
"We want a Zimbabwe that does not have children's homes and we can even consider options like adoption and foster parents for homeless children," she said.
"Our culture has reservations about practices such as adoption of children, but it's something that even our traditional leaders need to start seriously thinking about to see how best we can handle it to deal with the problem of homeless children."
The First Lady called for an end to child abuse and molestation in homes, a situation she said was one of the reasons behind the spike in homeless children.
"I am here not representing any political party, but as a mother and grandmother, because children are closest to my heart," she said. "It was my desire when I launched this programme to move around the country and see how these children are staying and familiarise with their challenges."
The First Lady said the spike in children's homes created many challenges, among them shortages of homes to accommodate them. She urged products of children's homes to remain in contact even after leaving, to promote unity and oneness.
The First Lady donated television sets and decoders to six children's homes in Masvingo, namely Bopoma, Alpha Cottage in Masvingo, Chingele, Chambuta and Chiredzi Children's Home, together with Lerenzo in Mwenezi.
Bopoma Children's Home director Mr Komborero Garira paid tribute to the First Lady for her courageous and painstaking drive to improve the welfare of homeless children. He said the First Lady was proving to be a true mother with a soft heart for children who were tomorrow's leaders.
Mr Garira appealed to well-wishers to assist Bopoma with a service vehicle and a bigger transformer to connect electricity at the institution, including a piece of land to start income generating projects.
The First Lady was accompanied by Masvingo provincial administrator Mr Fungai Mbetsa, Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Lovemore Matuke, Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Davis Marapira and Zanu-PF provincial chairperson Cde Ezra Chadzamira.