First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa reads a book to Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema and permanent secretary Mrs Tumisang Thabela during the donation of books at Zimbabwe House yesterday. — Pictures: John Manzongo

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday handed over 30 000 books to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in a gesture which demonstrates the importance of partnerships.

The books are a result of a strong working relationship between the First Lady and an international organisation, Merck Foundation, a partnership which has yielded a lot of positive results for the country.

Amai Mnangagwa is the ambassador of Merck More than a Mother in Zimbabwe.

The First Lady values children’s education and has always been providing learning materials in schools and paying fees for disadvantaged children countrywide.

The books she donated yesterday are “Educating Rujeko”, which tackles issues of child marriages, “Tudu’s story” which deals with issues of infertility and “Make the right Choices” which dwells on doing what is right in this era of Covid-19.

Speaking at the handover ceremony yesterday, the First Lady said a special relationship has grown over the past three years between Angel of Hope Foundation and Merck Foundation which share the same values and are seized with the welfare and well-being of the most vulnerable in society, mainly women and children.

“Over the past few years we have come up with many ideas on how we can improve the welfare of our people. I am glad to say this partnership has yielded a lot of positive things for the country,” she said.

Doctors, the First Lady said, have been trained in specialist areas of infertility and embryology, diabetes mellitus, oncology and respiratory medicine. More than 100 doctors have been trained either online or have gone to India for specialist training.

“We have had media training in Zimbabwe. The importance of this is to have our media practitioners being able to write well-researched stories on sensitive health topics. For example, subjects on infertility which are considered taboo in our societies. They have a duty to inform the public with articles that have depth. Awards have also been given to journalists who have done very well,” she said.

She emphasised that Merck Foundation has also worked with her foundation in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I wish to particularly thank the CEO of Merck Foundation Senator Dr Rasha Kelej who is one of the most influential women in Africa for starting the Merck more than a Mother movement of which she is the president. This has brought issues of infertility to the forefront.

“Merck Foundation is also working with other African First Ladies. It is with this in mind that Angel of Hope Foundation and Merck Foundation have developed some reading material on subjects which need awareness. Knowledge is power. We need our people to be knowledgeable on these critical issues. That way, we also contribute to his Excellency’s call for Zimbabwe achieving an upper middle class economy by 2030,” said the First Lady.

In is acceptance speech, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema praised the First Lady for her gesture.

“The Ministry is aware of the spirit that you have towards the welfare of all Zimbabweans and the vulnerable members of our communities. It is a fact that you are doing a valuable task through the Angel of Hope Foundation.”

“The donation that we have received today is testimony of the good work that you are doing to all Zimbabweans. Your generous donation dovetails with the ministry’s vision of providing equitable, quality, inclusive and relevant education,” he said.

Minister Mathema said one of their major challenges since 2015 when they introduced their competency-based curriculum was the shortage of learning and teaching materials.

“The titles of the books you have donated do not only demonstrate the need for quality education for the learners, but also point towards moulding our learners along the expected values as enshrined in our educational philosophy of Unhu/Ubuntu,” he said.

In her vote of thanks, Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Tumisang Thabela said it was a fact that education was anchored on reading and more time people spent reading, the more they consciously and subconsciously gained the skill they needed to deal with the complexities of various tasks.

“Indeed, the books that you have donated Amai will not only enable learners to gain knowledge but enable them to acquire the much-needed skills and attitudes that are necessary for life. The ministry is therefore indebted to you for this good gesture.

“The books will help the children to make the right choices in their lives. We will also look into uploading the soft copies on our website and make sure they are accessed by all children. Amai you are more than a mother to us,” she said.

SOURCE: The Herald

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