Among many of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s initiatives around the country, here she serves breakfast to children in one of her feeding programmes to children in homes in all the country’s 10 provinces this year

She has trudged the length and breadth of the country, leaving no stone unturned in a trailblazing work to change the lives of many disadvantaged people.

From Tsholotsho to Mbire and little everywhere else, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has made sure she changed lives of many and indeed her footprints are there for all and sundry to see.

Hers is a rare gift, a gift of motherly love and unlike many people that do a lot of talking with little action, she is the opposite.

Also astounding is her depth of character, her humility, energy, efficiency and thoroughness. <

Throughout 2021 she worked tirelessly to improve the health and economic well-being of the country, yet she remains as silent as a rock, leaving her work to speak for itself.

At a time when the world, Zimbabwe included, is grappling with Covid-19 that has claimed millions of people and left the world economy on its knees, the mother of the nation chose to leave the comfort and trinkets that come with her office to teach vulnerable communities on how to keep the disease at bay.

As health ambassador, she advocated the proper wearing of masks, sanitising and observing social distancing while mobilising resources for vulnerable communities to survive.

This mission saw her risking her life to get to far to reach areas where she taught communities to protect themselves and drum up support for the vaccination programme.

Communities, the elderly and disadvantaged groups like those with disabilities, child headed families, reaped a wide knowledge dividend as they were told how to handle the clothes of a deceased relative.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa serves breakfast to the elderly in one of her feeding programmes to the elderly in homes in all the country’s 10 provinces this year
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa serves breakfast to the elderly in one of her feeding programmes to the elderly in homes in all the country’s 10 provinces this year

She spoke candidly about the need for those with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to always take their medication to remain safe.

The mother of the nation practiced what she preaches by also going for public health checks through her cancer screening initiatives where she ensured women were checked for breast and cervical cancer which are some of the most common cancers among women.

Marginalised communities were not left behind in her all-encompassing programmes which saw them benefiting from her health programmes and life-changing empowerment initiatives.

She honoured her promise to children from the San community whom she took on a memorable trip to Bulawayo and the Victoria Falls for the first time in their lives after they had never set foot out of their communities.

The children were upbeat to visit amusement parks and the popular Victoria Falls rain forest where they were surprised to see rains falling in some areas while other areas were dry.

They also enjoyed a helicopter ride, the Flight of the Angels.

Boys being taught how to skin and prepare a goat for a traditional meal during one of the nhanga/gota/ixhiba sessions organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in all the country’s provinces this year
Boys being taught how to skin and prepare a goat for a traditional meal during one of the nhanga/gota/ixhiba sessions organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in all the country’s provinces this year

Through her Angel of Hope Foundation, the mother of the nation spent the greater part of the year holding her traditional meal cookout competition to ensure the nation benefited from their medicinal properties and high nutritional value.

She also took her Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba Programme to all the country’s provinces to help build morally upright children who knew what was expected of them.

So popular was the programme that it was extended to all communities and even the mixed-race community in Arcadia, Harare, where children expressed interest in embracing the country’s norms and values.

It was at such programmes where Amai Mnangagwa hammered home her message against child prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse and child marriages.

This comes at a time when children were ruining their lives through drug abuse and engaging in morally reprehensible behaviour due to Western influences and the collapse of the extended family unit which had inbuilt mechanisms to foster discipline.

Held in an interactive manner to allow for the cross pollination of ideas, it emerged during the sessions that children partly blamed their mischief on their parents whom they accused of neglecting them.

Girls carry clay pots during a nhanga/gota/ixhiba session organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in all the country’s 10 provinces and districts this year
Girls carry clay pots during a nhanga/gota/ixhiba session organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in all the country’s 10 provinces and districts this year

This gave birth to yet another programme called Nharirire Yemusha which focuses on parents and the best way to raise their families.

In her tight schedule throughout the year, the First Lady toured many communities at the invitation of elders there due to the popularity of her programmes.

Young girls were empowered through the formation of clubs to sew reusable sanitary wear for use by the less privileged who cannot afford disposable ones which cost an arm and a leg. The move has gone a long way in promoting menstrual hygiene as some women previously suffered skin disorders by using leaves and cow dung during their monthly cycles.

A good number of rural girls would also miss school as a result of this, but this is now all in the past.

Former ladies of the night were not left behind as the mother of the nation pulled them out of the oldest profession and introduced them to rabbit rearing, poultry, soap-making and farming.

Widows, single women, former ladies of the night and youths were helped to acquire land in Seke after the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development partnered the First Lady’s Angel of Hope Foundation after hearing the plight of the former ladies of the night and in support of the First Lady’s initiatives.

Amai dresses children in a new school uniforms she personally sew and distributed to vulnerable and disadvantaged schoolchildren around Zimbabwe this year
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa dresses children in a new school uniforms she personally sew and distributed to vulnerable and disadvantaged schoolchildren around Zimbabwe this year

Agricultural experts were roped in to boost productivity and ensure they earn clean money through the use of their hands.

This is the first programme of its kind countrywide and Amai Mnangagwa will take it to all the country’s provinces.

Again, through her foundation, the First Lady struck a deal with Zimbabwe Open University where former ladies of the night, youths, the disabled and other vulnerable members of the community were offered places to study various courses through open learning free of charge.

Over 3 000 people took the challenge and already 855 have graduated with a second group expected to take up studies soon.

To complement Amai Mnangagwa’s tireless efforts to keep youths away from dangerous drugs while empowering them to become economically independent, Ring Driving School also partnered the Angel of Hope Foundation in a development expected to create employment, promote road safety and keep young people away from drugs.

The First Lady is advocating a “Say No to Drugs” campaign, which seeks to encourage youths to stay away from dangerous narcotics.

The eventful year saw the First Lady cheering up various communities including children who were living and working on the streets of major cities whom she committed to Chambuta Children’s Home in Chiredzi where they are being equipped with educational and vocational training skills to ensure they can be responsible citizens in future.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Youths, Arts, Sports and Recreation Tino Machakaire, Cde Kenneth Musanhi and Harare Mayor Stewart Mutizwa looks at the dishes prepared during one of Amai’s cook-out traditional meal cooking competitions held in all the country’s provinces and districts this year
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Youths, Arts, Sports and Recreation Tino Machakaire, Cde Kenneth Musanhi and Harare Mayor Stewart Mutizwa looks at the dishes prepared during one of Amai’s cook-out traditional meal cooking competitions held in all the country’s provinces and districts this year

She also worked hand in glove with urban local authorities countrywide to mobilise resources and modernise Chambuta into a state-of the art facility which has illuminated the face of Chiredzi.

The First Lady’s ability to handle delicate issues in a constructive manner saw her fighting domestic violence through the launch of toll-free number 575 — National GBV call centre — which is operated from her office.

She has also launched a radio programme where topics in various fields are discussed with the assistance of experts in those fields.

Women queue to be screened for cervical and breast cancer
Women queue to be screened for cervical and breast cancer during one of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s cancer screening drives around the country this year. — Pictures: John Manzongo

The year under review saw the mother of the nation working closely with the Master of the High Court Mr Eldard Mutasa, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), lawyers and other organisations to tackle inheritance issues.

This follows the realisation that widows and orphans were being chased out of homes and being stripped of properties by greedy relatives, even though this was against the law.

Her programme on inheritance was an eye-opener as widows gave harrowing accounts on how they were ill-treated by their late husbands’ families.

It was worse for childless widows who were considered unfit to benefit anything from their late husband’s estates.

When all is said and done, when the narrative of life-changing help is brought to the fore, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, will go into history books as that woman who wanted every Zimbabwean to live a better life.

SOURCE: The Herald

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