Epworth women and youths, some of whom had turned to prostitution and other vices to make ends meet, are enjoying a new lease of life following the rolling out of income-generating projects by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa through her Angel of Hope Foundation.
During a recent interface with Amai Mnangagwa, residents of the sprawling settlement asked for help to start projects to generate income and sustain their families.
To escape current economic challenges, youths in the area had also turned to drug and alcohol abuse.
But the visit by the First Lady recently made them turn the corner as most of them can now earn an honest living through sewing reusable sanitary pads, making detergents and opening food outlets.
At Angel of Hope Foundation offices in Belgravia, Harare, yesterday, Amai Mnangagwa and her team were busy at work, with experts from Superior Detergents on the ground training beneficiaries on how to make laundry soap, lotions, petroleum jelly and dish washing liquid.
Another Angel of Hope team had been despatched to Epworth to distribute kitchen utensils and ingredients to women and the girl child in all the wards who recently completed their cookery lessons so that they start their food vending business once cleared by relevant health authorities.
But it is the First Lady's ability to deliver at the shortest possible time that has endeared her with the generality of Zimbabweans.
Amai Mnangagwa is a hands-on person in matters affecting the majority.
She has spared no effort in ensuring that people earn a decent living through projects like goat-rearing, market gardening, nutritional gardens, castor bean production, and reusable sanitary pads making, among other projects that she has established countrywide.
In Epworth, poverty was highlighted as the major cause of moral decay and to assist the community, the First Lady urged women in the area to form groups so that she initiates income-generating projects for them.
Addressing the women after handing them certificates at the end of a detergents-making course, the First Lady said she believed in women empowerment.
"I came up with these projects so that you become self-reliant and not depend on any continued external support," she said.
"When I visited your area, it was disheartening to note that the girl child had turned into prostitution so as to escape the jaws of poverty.
"I want these children to move away from the streets. I also want to see women engaging in income-generating projects so that they are able to look after their families. If you empower women, you have empowered the nation.
"Madzimai tinoda chinhu chinobatika, tirivanhu vanosevenza isu, hatina husimbe."
The First Lady pledged to continue assisting the women until they get on their feet.
"As a mother and patron of Angel of Hope Foundation, my heart is satisfied when we do these great projects which not only empower women, but also assist communities," she said.
"I urge you all to take these projects seriously and I will continue working with you. The foundation will be sending out monitoring and evaluation personnel to check your performance and how the support provided translates into the planned positive changes in your lives."
Some of the beneficiaries shed tears of joy.
Agnes Mhembere (18), who is physically-handicapped was full of praises for Amai Mnangagwa.
"I don't know how to thank this God-sent woman," she said.
"My prayers have been answered and I can now earn an honest living through hard work."
Mhembere said she failed her Ordinary Level examinations, but did not have money to rewrite and improve her grades.
She is optimistic that with the knowledge acquired and a starter pack, she would make and sell detergents and be able to further her studies. Gogo Joyce Mususa (71), who stays with her seven grandchildren was over the moon.
"I have been empowered," she said, while ululating. "I now know how to make clean money and take away all my troubles. Our mother, Amai Mnangagwa, has been a real blessing in my life."