By Funagi Lupande
First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa yesterday visited Avoca Farm in Bindura to offer assistance to a 16-year-old girl, Manyara Vore, who was featured on a ZBC news story panning for gold in Mazowe River to raise school fees. The First Lady said she was touched by Manyara’s plight and decided to pay her school fees until December next year.
She also bought her uniforms and foodstuffs.
Speaking at the family homestead, the First Lady said she hopes the helping hand she has provided will assist her pursue her studies.
“I saw her on television news panning for gold with her mother in Mazowe River. I kept thinking what if she was attacked by crocodiles or swept away by the river.
“She said she was looking for money to pay school fees and I want to help her because she knows that education is important,” said the First Lady.
“I am here because I want her to continue with her education. Your passion for education must be a lesson to other girls.
“She is now mine and I will keep my eyes on her. I want to warn paedophiles that the law is strict on sexual predators,” she said.
After visiting the Vore family, the First Lady proceeded to Chidembo High School in Shamva where Manyara attends, about 30km from the girl’s home, and donated books, computers and also pledged to sink a borehole.
She advised women not to allow their children, especially the girl-child, to be abused.
“School dropouts are mainly due to teenage pregnancies. Let the girl-child go to school and see what the future holds. I know that our economy is not doing well but the President is running around trying to revive it. It’s a process that cannot happen overnight,” she said.
“I talked to the headmaster and school fees debts here are enormous and shocking. Parents are just sending their children to school from Grade 7 to Form 4 without paying anything. Pay even small amounts.
“You have developed a bad syndrome of waiting for donors, yet houses for teachers are dilapidating. Let’s meet halfway. I know you are hardworking people.”
Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Advocate Martin Dinha said the First Lady’s gesture is commendable.
“The First Lady has followed this girl here after seeing her plight on television. I have never seen such love, she has her own family but decided to help a stranger,” said Adv Dinha.
Manyara could not hold back tears as she described how difficult life has been for her.