First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa addresses the elderly, widows, widowers, people living with disabilities and the underprivileged during a Covid-19 interactive session in Bulawayo yesterday. — Picture: John Manzongo

GETTING a shoulder to cry on in times of distress and someone to lift you up when down, helps cultivate a sense of belonging which rests the mind.

Such are the effects of the work being done by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa through her Angel of Hope Foundation across the length and breadth of the country.

She has made meaningful contributions that have left many, including previously marginalised communities, the disabled and the elderly smiling.

In recognition of her hard work, the Government recently gave her the Order of Star of Zimbabwe gold medal, which a cross section of the nation admits she deserves.

Speaking on the sidelines of the First Lady’s interactive session here with the elderly, widows, widowers and the disabled on Covid-19 and vaccination awareness and to tackle juvenile delinquency, among many other social issues, Bishop Patson Netha of New Life for all Church said the work being done by the mother of the nation was there for everyone to see.

“As a country we have seen what our mother has done and is still doing for the country. The Bible says, ‘Blessed is he who gives than he who receives’ and the mother of the nation is moving all over the country fulfilling what the Bible says. She is giving to the poor and the vulnerable. She shares whatever she gets with those who are in need.

“She deserves to be honoured in recognition of her philanthropic work in our country. Today she is here with us raising awareness on Covid-19 and vaccination a sign that she has everyone at heart,” he said.

Sharing the same view, Mrs Ever Bitu said she was grateful for the First Lady’s non-partisan deeds which she said were helping every citizen.

“I want to thank the First Lady for the good deeds she is doing in our country. No woman matches her and she is covering everyone equally without being selective. Amai Mnangagwa has done a lot for this country and we pray that God protects and bless her always,” she said.

Mrs Theresa Ncube, who looks after the elderly, widows and orphans in communities said she was awestruck by the First Lady’s selflessness and love.

“She deserves the honour she got, actually it was long overdue. Today she brought blankets and groceries for the elderly, widows, widowers and the disabled bringing smiles on their faces. She is doing wonders in the country. Everyone wanted to see her today including Gogo Sibongile Gumbo who is 100-years-old and her wish was granted,” she said.

First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa calms down centenarian Gogo Sibongile Gumbo who is overcome with emotion as she receives blankets and a food hamper during a Covid-19 interactive session in Bulawayo yesterday.

In an interview, Gogo Gumbo (100) whom the First Lady personally handed goodies and blankets testified that she had never seen deeds similar to those being done by the mother of the nation.

“Since birth, I had never seen such acts of benevolence. I would always hear about the good works she is doing in the country, but today I saw that kindness being extended even to me. I thank her dearly for remembering us in this cold weather.

“You have shown great love and I have never seen this kind of love ever since I grew up. I implore the youths of today to quit drugs which compromise their health and often leave them in trouble.

“Instead, children must be respectful and consume traditional foods to stay healthy and live longer. This is what the First Lady was teaching people about and she urged us to continue counselling these children,” she said.

In her presentation yesterday, the First Lady said the elderly must fully embrace vaccination to beat Covid-19 which has wreaked havoc across the globe and keep advising youths against drug and alcohol abuse.

Amai Mnangagwa who is also the country’s health ambassador, made the remarks during an interactive session with the elderly as she spearheads efforts to ensure people know how to prevent Covid-19 and are vaccinated.

This comes at a time when the country is battling a third wave of the pandemic which has so far killed nearly 4 000 people in Zimbabwe, while on the social front most children are abusing alcohol and drugs.

The First Lady, who was recently honoured for her philanthropic work, used yesterday’s interactive session to distribute food and blankets to the elderly, widows and widowers and other disadvantaged groups.

To start yesterday’s proceedings, which were held strictly under Covid-19 protocols of masking up, washing hands and keeping social distance, a moment of silence was observed in honour of national heroine and liberation struggle stalwart Mai Jane Ngwenya who died last week.

She is expected to be buried at the National Heroes Acre today.

“I have come here so that we discuss various issues, including Covid-19. I understand we all now have knowledge on Covid-19 which has affected every part of the globe.

The elderly being screened for Covid-19 before attending First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Covid-19 interactive session.

“This pandemic has come along with its regulations that include no congregating, not going to school, church, wearing masks properly and to keep washing hands with soap. This is not how we lived in the past but we have to follow so as to protect our lives. There is also a special way of preventing this disease,” she said.

The First Lady asked the elderly if they were aware of the special way of keeping Covid-19 at bay where upon Gogo Qayisiwe Mpofu said wearing masks, social distance and sanitising were other ways of keeping Covid-19 at bay.

Sekuru Nkululeko Nhliziyo who were among the elderly, spoke about vaccination.

In response, the First Lady said: “Yes, vaccination is important because it lowers the potency of the pandemic and helps boost the effectiveness of remedies provided by doctors. The pandemic affects internal organs. If we have other ailments afflicting us this may combine and lead to death.

“Our Ministry of Health and Child Care and the World Health Organisation are urging us to be aware of our health challenges which we call underlying conditions and get treatment.

“This helps ensure that even if you are struck by the pandemic you will be under treatment for other conditions. I therefore urge you all to be vaccinated because you are our parents who give us ideas. The Government wants you protected that is why it his running around in search of vaccines,” she said.

Amai Mnangagwa asked if they were vaccinated and three quarters of them raised hands and she applauded them and urged those who are still to be vaccinated to do so.

“I was vaccinated too to protect my health, that of my family and the whole country. If we get vaccinated children will be able to go to school, church and even visit each other. But if we leave others behind without being vaccinated, the pandemic remains in our country.

“There are those who are discouraging others from being vaccinated saying you will die. Do not listen to them because they have already personally been vaccinated,” she said.

To make the vaccine effective, the First Lady urged the elderly to eat traditional foods which have high nutritional value and medicinal properties.

Elderly women break into song and dance in appreciation of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Covid-19 interactive teachings and donation of blankets and food hampers.

Asked to give examples of healthy foods, Sekuru Cain Mpofu named the types of food and how important they were in people’s bodies.

The First Lady also tackled the issue of indiscipline in youths.

“The elderly must keep counselling youths so that we have responsible future leaders. Children are taking drugs both boys and girls. They can’t even stand because of being drunk,” said the First Lady.

She further spoke about the 575 toll-free line she opened in her office to combat gender-based violence.

“I opened in my office a toll-free line to fight gender-based violence (GBV). We want peace in our land. There is too much GBV because of the lockdown. Let’s live in peace, love and harmony.”

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Judith Ncube, said she was grateful for the First Lady’s gesture to vulnerable members of the community who bore the brunt of exposure to severe weather conditions that can lead to illness and even death.

“A warm blanket in these harsh winter months can help save lives. Thank you Amai we could not have done this without your generosity,” she said.

Minister Ncube commended the First Lady for her commitment to serve communities and providing for the needy.

“We are continuously inspired by your dedication and generosity to answer to the call to giving again and again. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of the less privileged. May God bless you and reward you in a very special way,” she said.

SOURCE: The Herald

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