Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
Churches and the business community yesterday donated kitchen utensils, clothing and blankets to survivors of Cyclone Idai, heeding the call by the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, to mobilise kitchen utensils for affected households.
After being touched by the heart-rending reports of families that were left without anything to use for cooking, Amai Mnangagwa called on Zimbabweans, particularly women, to mobilise basic kitchen utensils, something which was overlooked by many well-wishers.
“I was in Manicaland and Masvingo recently with my Foundation team giving aid to the survivors of Cyclone Idai. What I saw there is so touching, so heart-rending,” the First Lady said.
She recounted the touching story of a woman who had told her that despite food donations, she had no cooking utensils.
“What you did today, coming together with a helping hand, showed the spirit of unity and love tichiita muonero pamwe dambudziko rakatiwira senyika. I want to thank you all for the kind gesture especially the church leaders who mobilised their congregants.”
She said she wanted to go back to the affected areas with the women who had donated the utensils so that they could hand over the goods with her.
The First Lady is the brains behind the “Poto neNdiro” campaign which brought together churches, individuals and corporates yesterday at Trinity Methodist Church in Harare.
Amai Mnangagwa’s charity organisation, Angel of Hope Foundation, has been at the forefront of major fund-raising activities for Cyclone Idai victims and the vulnerable community.
Her efforts have been lauded and recently she won the Pan-African Humanitarian Award and also scooped the 2019 African Phenomenal Woman of the Year Award.
“As Christian women, we have been following the works of our First Lady and have seen her getting to almost every part of the country supporting the marginalised communities,” said Bishop Regina Katsande, leader of bishop’s wives under the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.
“Many have benefited from her programmes as an individual and also through her charity foundation, she has shown much love to the needy.
“She is best described by the word of God in Proverbs 31.”
At this event, a 12-year-old boy from Chimanimani who lost all his family members when the tropical storm hit the district, narrated his ordeal.
“Life was becoming hard for us after losing our parents and siblings. While we were still going to school, I and my other two friends would be told of how the First Lady was helping the needy so when she came to Chimanimani we could not get the opportunity to talk to her. We then decided to embark on a journey to Harare. It was by God’s Grace that we arrived in Harare,” he said.
“We stayed in the streets for days as we did not know how to get to her. All hope of meeting her started to fade away and my friends said they were going back to Chimanimani. We then parted ways and up to now I do not know if they went back or are still roaming in the streets.
“I was later helped by Good Samaritans who took me to certain offices and facilitated the meeting. I only managed to meet Amai on Wednesday after spending close to a month in the streets.”
The First Lady was now assisting the boy through her Angel of Hope Foundation in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare.
Pan-African Food Security Ambassador Dr Brylyne Chitsunge pledged to work with the Angel of Hope in assisting the survivors of Cyclone Idai and the vulnerable community.
The First Lady was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Jennifer Mhlanga, who gave a brief background of the current situation in the affected areas.