First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa admires jerseys knitted through a project she initiated for Kanyemba women in 2019 during her tour and interactive session with villagers in Mbire last week. Amai Mnangagwa bought the knitted products.
AFTER living for long as outright beggars with no means to sustain themselves and their families, women here are slowly learning to work on their own to generate income, thanks to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s intervention through castor bean production, gardening, sewing and knitting projects, among others.
The First Lady, who has been spearheading the transformation of the previously marginalised community, provided the community through her Angel of Hope Foundation, with expertise, crochets, sewing machines and the material needed to keep the projects running.
Recently, she spent a week in Mbire district where she interacted with villagers in Chidodo, Chikafa and Kanyemba.
While in Kanyemba, Chapoto village, Amai Mnangagwa went a step further and bought all the wares that were knitted and sewn by the women for onward distribution to the needy as a way of empowering them and proving that the use of hands had many life-changing benefits.
So upbeat are members of the Kanyemba community that they have all come out in full praise for the First Lady for her efforts to uplift them.
One of the beneficiaries of the empowerment initiatives, Mrs Stella Bhasikoro of Nyaruparo Village, could not hide her joy.
Mrs Bhasikoro is part of the Kubudirira knitting club comprising of 32 women. “We were given knitting wool, knits and crochets and other necessary accessories by Amai for our projects while others who chose sewing were given sewing machines and other accessories.
“She also provided experts who took us through the project and taught us to knit. Today (last week Thursday) we have brought our wares so that she sees what we knitted from the wool she gave us so that she knows we used the resources productively.
“We kept the things we sewed even though some were persuading us to sell, but we refused because we wanted Amai to see how serious we are. The First Lady bought all the items we brought for onward distribution to the needy. We are thankful for the love that she is showing us by promoting us,” said Mrs Bhasikoro, with a broad smile.
But it is the skill which the First Lady is ensuring the women in Kanyemba learn, which is making them realise that they will use it for years and transfer it for generations to come.
Mrs Gloria Chifesi said no news rings sweet in their ears than that of empowerment.
“We are grateful for the assistance to learn projects from the First Lady,” she said. “She has empowered us and made our project grow so that we carry forward the knitting and sewing to sustain our families. “This makes us learn to use our hands because a woman should have a project to assist her husband in sustaining the family. Even in the event of the death of a spouse, as women, we will not be stuck.
“These knitting and sewing projects have uplifted us women here in Kanyemba. We are thankful and we see our lives are being transformed because we will be selling our wares in Zambia and Mozambique. I come from Chiruhwe Village and I am convinced that life will certainly never be the same again.”
Equally grateful to the First Lady is Mrs Sheila Kuyeri from Mariga Village who said she was eager to learn and grasp the life-changing skills that were being imparted in them by the First Lady.
“I want to thank the First Lady for the projects she gave us,” she said. “People in Mariga did not know about knitting or sewing, but Amai brought the projects and she taught us to work using our hands. She gave us a chance and now we are succeeding. We thank her that she is assisting us.”
When the First Lady previously visited the area, which she is so passionate about, she introduced many projects for women and provided all the necessary materials.
These women are among many beneficiaries of the First Lady’s empowerment initiative who have formed thriving clubs which made beautiful jerseys, hats, scarfs, jackets and dresses.
Speaking to the enterprising women, the First Lady said they had to remain united and committed to the success of their project.
“I am happy that you are carrying forward the projects,” she said.
“Today I want to promote you to sell these wares to me so that I also give the needy in other communities. This is a way of helping you to ensure you continue with the project.”
The mother of the nation advised the women to price their wares in a manner that allows them to have a reasonable return on their investment to remain in business.
She further encouraged them to also consider knitting and crocheting bedspreads which she said had an international market.
This is not the first time the First Lady has rolled out life-changing projects for communities.
She has also been rolling out similar empowerment projects for the San community in Plumtree.
Efforts being made by the First Lady to empower the less privileged will certainly earn the country a development dividend if the beneficiaries remain committed.
Kanyemba is Zimbabwe’s northernmost point, diagonally opposite the confluence of Luangwa and Zambezi rivers, with the Zambian town of Luangwa to the north and Mozambique’s Zumbo town to the east.
SOURCE: The Herald