Friday, 22 December 2017

FIRST LADY ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE : STOP IT

FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday preached the gospel of love, urging families to live in harmony and shun domestic violence, as it negatively affects the character of their children.

She said spouses in conflict should seek assistance from their families and the police rather than resort to violence. The First Lady made the remarks as she presented an early Christmas gesture at Ekhaya Kip Kieno Children’s Home in Makwe in Gwanda.

“As it is, it’s the festive season; we often hear stories of couples killing each other, particularly those that don’t stay together. For example, when the man is based in South Africa and the woman is here, they may have conflicts due to other behaviours and this leads to domestic violence and abuse. People are killing each other out there, but instead of resorting to violence, there are other means and that’s where the police, aunt and church come in to mediate in those issues,” she said. Cde Mnangagwa said abuse negatively affected children.

“It even affects their school work and they grow up bitter souls, without love. Love your husbands and wives so that domestic disputes are few,” she said. Cde Mnangagwa said if the family unit was maintained, there would be fewer children being taken to children’s homes. The First Lady deplored abuse of women and girls by men, in particular family members such as uncles and fathers, saying it disturbed the child’s mental ability.

Cde Mnangagwa said she had decided to take time to visit homes, particularly in rural areas that were often shunned by many to get an appreciation of their challenges, as well as help find ways of assisting them.

“I came here as the grandmother of the children, I came to play with children regardless of political affiliation. Even when we give out presents to the little children, we are not looking at whether their parents are Zanu-PF or MDC, this is non-partisan. I am happy that I heard that we have MDC councillors and officials in our midst, we are working in unity for the good of our children and country,” she said.

Turning to Early Childhood Development education, Cde Mnangagwa encouraged parents not to delay taking their children to ECD as it prepared them for school. Cde Mnangagwa donated groceries and goods to children from three children’s homes in Matabeleland South Province — Ekhaya Kip Keino from Gwanda district, Sacred Heart from Umzingwane District and White Waters from Matobo district.

Each child received a blanket, school bag, stationery and toys, among other goods from the First Lady. Soon after the handover, Cde Mnangagwa took time to play games with the children before serving them lunch. She thanked representatives of the children’s homes for their dedication in looking after the children. Minister of State for Matabeleland South Cde Abednico Ncube paid tribute to Cde Mnangagwa for her gesture and remembering the rural child.
“This is the first time ever that Ekhaya Kip Kieno Children’s home, let alone Matabeleland South, has hosted an event of such relevance. Over the years, we have known such a gesture to be the privilege of Harare and Bulawayo only. It is quite a humbling experience, we are very grateful for this kind of gesture,” he said.

One of Kip Keino directors Mr Zibusiso Nyoni highlighted that their home was looking after 38 children — 17 girls and 21 boys. He said the home had taken care of about 150 children since its formation in 2002. Kip Kieno is the brainchild of three former athletes — Mr Nyoni, Mrs Stewart Mudokwani, and Mr Patrick Masina. Mr Nyoni said they decided to plough back into the community by starting the orphanage and it looked after children from Plumtree, Beitbridge and Gwanda.

“We are faced with a number of challenges, among them shortage of land to cultivate various crops so that we can be a self-sustaining home. We need more land, preferably in an area with more rainfall. School fees is also a burden as our children have to go to school. We are appealing for financial assistance in that regard and our hall is leaking so we need to get the roof fixed as a matter of urgency because it is also used by the community,” he said.

Cde Mnangagwa asked Cde Ncube and MP for the area, Gwanda North, Cde Madodana Sibanda, to engage relevant Government Ministries to solve the land issue. She said she was working to raise funds for orphaned children in all homes across the county. The First Lady has also visited children’s homes in Bulawayo and Binga where she not only donated goods, but also took time to play with children. She has also paid surprise visits to hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo. Herald

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