Bulawayo benefits from Angel of Hope, ZOU partnership

The Chronicle

Tendai Rupapa in Bulawayo
HUNDREDS of women in Bulawayo are set to attend courses in various disciplines with Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), in partnership with First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation, aimed at empowering communities through open learning.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa addresses women in Bulawayo during the launch of Angel of Hope Foundation and Zimbabwe Open University partnership in Bulawayo yesterday. Beneficiaries of the partnership follow proceedings

The women include widows, those with disabilities, teenage mothers, single mothers, former sex workers and youths.

Bulawayo becomes the second province to benefit from the empowerment programme which the First Lady launched in Harare late last year and will take to all the 10 provinces.

Touched by the First Lady’s efforts and hard work, ZOU decided to work with her and offer short courses in Faculties of Agriculture, Applied Social Sciences, Commerce and Law, Education, Science, Technology and Arts, Culture and Heritage Studies to the beneficiaries.

Pioneer beneficiaries of the programme in Harare have since graduated and are either advancing or using the skills they acquired to earn a living.

The empowerment programme comes as a blessing to citizens who failed to attend school due to a host of life situations.

Amai Mnangagwa is doing all in her might to restore the dignity of women by removing the ladies from the streets and introducing them together with other women to university short courses so that they use the skills to earn decent money.

In her launch address, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa said when girls and women were educated, the benefits were aggregated, magnified and enjoyed by a wider spectrum starting with the family and spreading to communities, individual nations and globally.

“Education is an indispensable means of realising human potential.

Education has a vital role in empowering women and girls in particular and can lift marginalised adults and children out of poverty by providing them with the means to participate fully in their communities and socially.

Thus, education seems to be the answer for all our community problems, the answer for all the problems of the world, when you really analyse it,” she said.

Hunger for education, the First Lady said, translated to hunger for answers to problems no matter who one is and where they are.

“Quality education, particularly for the underprivileged communities is a prerequisite to the sustainable development of individuals, their communities and the nation at large.

Thus Angel of Hope in partnership with Zimbabwe Open University for community empowerment through open learning take quality education as contextualised worthwhile education that responds to social needs of particular communities regulated by the principle of entitlement,” she said.

The mother of the nation, who has a passion for the welfare of the less privileged told the people of Bulawayo that she had brought life-changing university education aimed at transforming the lives of disadvantaged communities.

She applauded ZOU for partnering her foundation in its humanitarian and developmental initiatives that sought to transform lives.

“The launch of life-changing free university short courses today is targeted at transforming lives of Bulawayo’s disadvantaged community members.

“Being female is perceived to be a persistent source of social exclusion that affects mothers and their daughters as they are the most educationally deprived due to intersecting factors.

Most disadvantaged communities become education hotspots for women and girls due to complications brought about by visible and invisible intersecting challenges which include dropping out of school, succumbing to child marriages, initiating themselves into ladies of the night, becoming prone to drug abuse, becoming victims or perpetrators of gender-based violence,” she said.

The First Lady said women and girls at times depreciated themselves by letting their own situation reduce them to desperate people who end up not valuing who they are as women.

“I have brought the Zimbabwe Open University to Bulawayo for you are worth more than you can image as I think of women and girls’ plight in acquiring quality education in its various forms,” she said.

Poverty, the mother of the nation said, played a crucial role in keeping children out of school while their parents were less likely to take advantage of schooling opportunities when they were available.

“Education is the means, the tool, the weapon and the instrument through which poverty and gender inequalities experienced by women and girls can be addressed. My appeal to you is never stop learning from any situation that presents itself. Kudzidza hakupere uye hakuna zera.

“I therefore urge you to remember this day as your first brick or stone upon which you build better lives for yourselves. I plead with you to grab this once-in-a lifetime opportunity which is knocking on your door today,” she said to applause.

She added, “An educated mother is better prepared to educate her own children who most likely will get an education they will also pass on. Let us go back to school and further sharpen our capabilities.”

Speaking at the same occasion, ZOU pro-vice chancellor for academic affairs Professor Ermson Nyakatawa, who was representing the varsity’s vice chancellor, said: “ZOU and Angel of Hope Foundation now have a longstanding partnership as portrayed by past events and activities all benchmarked by the 13th of September 2021 Angel of Hope and Zimbabwe Open University launch of the national development partnership which strives to transform lives of communities by offering short courses and training to women and young girls.

This today being launched in Bulawayo to help empower our daughters, our mothers, our sisters, aunts, grandmothers through knowledge sharing and imparting skills according to individual interest and capacity.

Thus today is an extension of Angel of Hope Foundation’s partnership with ZOU for community empowerment through open learning.”

Prof Nyakatawa said ZOU endeavoured to support the First Lady’s national humanitarian initiatives.

“To support what I am saying, I quote from Martin Luther King Junior who said: ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?’

From seeing what Amai is doing for others, ZOU felt challenged to support her humanitarian initiatives through knowledge sharing and short course trainings.

“After training you the Angel of Hope Foundation’s beneficiaries, you are encouraged to further use this knowledge with family members, friends and community members for the continuous growth and development in your communities and to make sure that the goals of the nation vision 2030 are achieved without leaving anybody behind. Amai, ZOU vows never to look back but to complement your immeasurable philanthropic work from our corner until no one is left behind.”

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube implored the intended beneficiaries to embrace the empowerment programme.

“This is a special empowerment programme for the women.

We feel encouraged by Amai’s initiatives because education is important for all age groups.

No one is too old to start learning. Education unleashes people’s potential.

Amai you are allowing the women to unleash their potential and this will benefit our nation. Opportunities are like sunrise; if you wait longer, you will miss it,” she said.

Among the beneficiaries is widowed Gogo Josphina Zikhali of Thorngrove who is a mother of five and has 10 grandchildren.

“I do not work and I rely on farming. I am thankful for the First Lady’s programme because I enjoy farming.

I grow sweet potatoes, maize and groundnuts.

“Therefore, I will choose a course from the Faculty of Agriculture.

After learning I will have the knowledge on how to market my produce.

I thank Amai for bringing us university education for some of us who are elderly free of charge and it is rare for such a thing to happen.

I thank her heartily on behalf of the country and all mothers and those who did not manage to attend,” she said.

Equally elated was Gogo Mashamba of Nkulumane who said she could now chase her dream of becoming a nurse aide.

“In Nkulumane there are many sick people in need of help especially the elderly.

I was charmed by this programme because I want to be a nurse aide and be able to assist the elderly who cannot walk or bathe in my community.

I thank Amai for the programme she has brought because it has afforded some of us who did not have money an opportunity to learn free of charge through.

“I urge other women to come forward and join the university to assist our communities in which we live,” she said.

Ms Courage Chipatiso of Khumalo, who has a disability, said she was charmed by the mother of the nation’s all-inclusive programmes.

“I am very excited because we had an interaction with Amai where we were told about lots of programmes that are going to benefit us as women with disabilities, in particular, because that is where the area of interest is.

I came here representing other women from my community who were not able to attend and I am going to go back and inform them about this special programme that Angel of Hope is partnering with ZOU.

“As a woman living with a disability called muscular dystrophy, I will encourage others with the same condition to be part of the programme which Amai has brought to our door step.

Angel of Hope Foundation is indeed touching lives,” she said.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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