AFTER years of being confined to a plastic laundry dish owing to mobility challenges, life will never be the same for seven-year-old Tawanda Maduwa who is physically-challenged and cannot talk, thanks to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.

After hearing about the boy’s predicament, the First Lady yesterday gave the boy a wheelchair, foodstuffs, blankets, clothing and toiletries to ensure he lives a normal life like other children of his age.

So emotionally was yesterday’s event that Tawanda’s parents were fighting back tears and praising the First Lady for sweeping to the boy’s rescue.

Tawanda’s parents Mr Blessing Maduwa (29) and his wife Priscilla (27) were grateful to the First Lady for her intervention.

The child looks much younger than his age owing to his condition.

“My child’s challenges started at birth. I gave birth to him on 26 February 2013 at Nyamusosa Clinic and he could not suckle and health authorities referred me to Rusape General Hospital, but I could not raise the money and the situation remained like that.

“The child drank water until he could suckle on his own and I left him like that. At six months the nurses noted that the child could not sit on his own and advised me to do exercises with him. That time we then got a bit of money and started taking him to Rusape for exercises until the money ran out and that was that.

“The child cannot sit so I always carried him on my back.

“As he grew, he became heavy to carry on my back and other villagers advised me to make him sit in the dish where we supported him with blankets,” said the boy’s mother.

She was full of praises for the First Lady and thanked God for remembering her family through the wheelchair donation, which she said would help ease her child’s plight.

Her husband was equally happy, but choked with emotion as he thanked the First Lady for coming to his son’s rescue.

“I want to thank the First Lady for what she has done for my son Tawanda. This child is often confined to the home and I think the First Lady heard my prayers hence the assistance. I never thought someone from a higher office like the First Lady would remember us. She is a kind and loving mother who does not select her children.

“It pains me because I cannot work like other men as I will be taking turns with my wife to tend to this child. I urge people in similar situations never to lose hope and not to hide children living with disabilities. I used to talk about my predicament wherever I went, but today I have been taken to a level I never thought I would ever reach. First Lady, I urge you to maintain your good heart.”

The family survives on menial jobs in the community.

Owing to the absence of a wheelchair, they would lock the child in the house before leaving to carry out menial jobs to  put food on the table.

Tawanda’s grandmother, Mrs Cecilia Satumba could not hide her joy and implored the nation to pray for the First Lady for her kind heart and for giving her grandson a new lease of life.

“I am happy today. My daughter-in-law could not travel, including myself. We would take turns to keep an eye on my grandchild. This child was confined to a dish where he sat all day long. I am grateful for what Amai has done.”

Community representative, Mr Raymond Nyamuranga, echoed similar sentiments.

“We want to thank Amai Mnangagwa. As a community we were faced with the boy’s challenge. In the Shona culture we assist each other in times of need and this prompted us to approach the First Lady’s Office for assistance and she quickly intervened,” said Mr Nyamuranga.

Tawanda’s parents shed tears of joy after receiving the wheelchair and the goodies and also thanked the community for assisting them all these years.

They quickly changed Tawanda and his two-year-old sister into new clothes they received from Amai Mnangagwa.

The couple was also given clothes and several pairs of shoes.

In her remarks delivered by Mrs Failess Matemba from her office, the First Lady said she was duty-bound to assist those in need.

“After Rusape residents saw the challenges being faced by this child, they saw it fit to approach my office. They said they always saw me assisting the elderly, the disabled, the sick and the poor countrywide and decided to approach my office.

“Tawanda is a seven-year-old boy who can neither walk nor talk. As parents you are trying the best you can to ensure your child lives just like other children of his age.

Mrs Matemba said the First Lady who is kind-hearted, when she heard about Tawanda’s plight, saw it necessary to give him a wheelchair because she could not bear seeing young children suffering.

She said the First Lady had a passion for the well-being of children and this saw her removing children from the streets and committing them to Chambuta Children’s Home in Chiredzi.

“All those children now live as one family and this allows them to grow well. They write letters to the First Lady telling her that they are living well.

The First Lady in her remarks continued saying she hoped and prayed that the wheelchair and the basic commodities would go a long way in assisting Tawanda and his family.

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