Paidamoyo Chipunza and Victor Maphosa
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday launched the Christmas Giving Hand programme aimed at assisting vulnerable groups with food hampers as part of the Christmas festivities. Through her organisation, Angel of Hope, in partnership with Higher-Life Foundation, the programme will see 100 children’s homes, 25 old people’s homes and 16 disability institutions receiving food hampers commensurate with their population size.
The beneficiaries were drawn from all the country’s 10 provinces and teams from Angel of Hope and Higher-Life Foundation will be distributing the food hampers to all provinces throughout the week.
A total of 271 hampers, each consisting of 10-30 units of bulk food items, personal hygiene products, sanitary goods as well as blankets will be distributed.
Each hamper is worth at least $1 000.
Speaking during the official launch of the programme at Marondera Childcare Society in Mashonaland East Province, the First Lady said Christmas was a difficult time for vulnerable groups hence the gesture by her organisation to avail foodstuffs to institutions looking after the needy so that they also enjoy the festivities just like any other family in the country.
“It is our moral responsibility to support those who are less privileged in our society. Ndihwo hunhu wedu, ubuntu bethu, as Zimbabweans,” she said.
The First Lady said the Constitution of Zimbabwe was clear that children have a right to be protected, to develop to the fullest and participate fully in cultural and social life.
She said all these rights were essential to human dignity and harmonious development of each and every child, hence the Christmas Giving Hand campaign was affirming exactly that same constitutional provision and turning it into reality.
“As Angel of Hope, we are here to reinforce those rights and give you a reason to smile this festive season. We want you all to know that you are special to us, we value you and that you are not forgotten,” she said.
She said the food hampers were just a small token of love from Angel of Hope, but the organisation was committed to explore more ways to impact lives and provide programmes that sustain the institutions throughout the year.
She said these institutions had the opportunity to generate income and sustain their livelihoods.
“The work before us is a mammoth task for which the Angel of Hope team and our partners are well prepared. It is our intention to serve with commitment and transparency,” she said.
The First Lady assured those in need — whose challenges she said she was well-versed with from interactions with some of them during her nationwide tours — that she will continue assisting them.
She said the Christmas Giving Hand campaign was not a one-time event as they will continue giving assistance to communities and challenged other partners to join the worthy cause.
“Let us work together to make life easier for the next person,” she said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Minister Aplonia Munzverengi commended the gesture by the First Lady saying such institutions of care normally rely on donations for survival.
She said Mashonaland East province had 15 registered children’s homes, three old people’s homes and one organisation for people living with disability.
All these organisations received donations yesterday.
Rose of Sharon Children’s Home caregiver Mr Boaz Chishiri also commended the First Lady for her assistance.
“This gesture is wonderful. In this difficult economy, it is difficult to find someone who remembers you. We are happy and we feel blessed,” he said.
The Christmas Giving Hand programme started last year, with 4 000 children from across the country receiving almost similar hampers.
This year, the programme has responded to community needs and extended its support to old people’s homes as well as the disabled.