THREE schools in Hwange District have received sewing machines from the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa in a programme to build the capacity of learning institutions to become economic hubs for their communities.
The three schools are St Mary's Primary School in Hwange Central, Nechilibi High School in Hwange East and Ndlovu Secondary School in Hwange West.
The gesture follows a visit to the district and Matabeleland North province by the First Lady last month where she interacted with communities, educating particularly the youths on cultural values through her ixiba national programme.
Amai Mnangagwa noticed the need to capacitate youths particularly those in school and instructed local leadership to identify those that can be given sewing machines so they start income generating projects for themselves and their communities.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo handed over three sewing machines, accessories and fabric to Nechilibi Secondary School located at Cross Mabale while St Mary's and Ndlovu will receive theirs in separate ceremonies.
Present at the handover ceremony were Chief Dingani-Nelukoba of Mabale, officials from Hwange Local Board and Hwange Rural District Council, heads of Government departments and members of the Joint Operating Command.
Minister Moyo challenged schools to think business and use the machines to make school uniforms and clothes that can be sold around the community for self-sufficiency.
"I am here sent by the First Lady who loves Matabeleland North. She was here recently where we spent the day with her as she met boys and girls and she donated groceries to 400 families. The groceries were distributed to all the seven districts.
"She then said we should identify three schools in Hwange that can be given something to use to sustain themselves. Before we knew it we got a call that the equipment had arrived hence we are here to hand it over.
"This should help you and you should sew uniforms so that pupils can buy from your textile department," said Minister Moyo.
Nechilibi High head Mr Sihauli Nyoni thanked the First Lady for the gesture saying the machines will help improve pass rate at the school especially by capacitating learners in practical subjects.
"We are really happy. We have students who have been failing Mathematics and Science subjects and now we can also capacitate them in practical subjects so that they have something in life," he said.
Mrs Ellen Simpande, head teacher in the Textile Technology and Design department said the sewing machines will help improve pupils' skills.
Form Four pupils Michelle Mbesa and Emmanuel Sibanda who are in the textile class said they were grateful as the new machines will give them access to doing practical lessons and make their learning easy.
Representing the Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu, Hwange District Schools Inspector Mr Walter Moyo said the benefits of the sewing machines should improve livelihoods in the whole community.
"The President (Mnangagwa) recently said schools should create business hubs, hence this should assist in discharge of learning. The textile department should now start making uniforms and also design clothes that can be sold to the community," he said.