By Khumbulani Muleya
The future of Young Africa Transformation Trust Children’s Home, a compound orphanage school in Mount Hampden’s Chigomo brickmaking community is doubtful. The orphanage school is located in a socially depressed environment where its 70 children ranging between the ages of 4 and 17 years are not only subjected to extreme poverty but are also exposed to prostitution and crime which is rampant in the area.
The situation could deteriorate if Ministry of Local Government and Public Works does not implement a relocation program for residents of this community in time for the expansion of greater Harare, which will see a proposed new city take up the majority of land in areas like Mount Hampden, Nyabira and other parts of Mazowe. According to a statement on the Ministry’s website, the six-story structure will serve as the centerpiece of a new city spanning approximately 13 000 hectares. The city will include residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, cultural, and retail spaces as well as a lake, an international airport, and other government buildings such as a new reserve bank, statehouse, the supreme and high courts.
Responding to how the expansion stands to affect surrounding communities human rights lawyer Mr. Jamela Lizwe told HStv “When you’re putting a plan in action before you even enroll it you have to be sure that you have already made a contingent plan in terms of those who are likely to be affected, whilst development is welcome, it should not be disruptive in terms of livelihoods, so there has to be alternatives in terms of accommodation”.
While speculation has been mounting over expected returns and real estate opportunities in and around the new parliament area not much is being said about the plight of the vulnerable children
within proximity of the NPB who are being taken care of by volunteers who find themselves ill-equipped to cope with the ever-increasing number of orphans. Last week the school whose premises were previously used as a community beer hall received various goods in the form of donations comprising sanitary wear, foodstuffs, and toiletries from a group of socialites who are using their social media presence to mobilize donations. The voluntary group led by King Solo organizes free sanitary wear programs under the banner
‘Donate a Pad Campaign’ for rural schoolgirls and other initiatives that target underprivileged communities.
Breeze Music a local all-female acapella group was also part of the entourage and thrilled the kids with some of their songs, including the hit & quot;masaisai." Fruit and shade trees, children’s literature, and a litter of rabbits were also given to the orphanage school so that they could begin an income-generating initiative. " This generous gesture will go a long way in reducing the hardship that we are currently facing," said Pastor Mike, the principal, addressing from the side-lines of the occasion. “We are also seeking assistance in building proper ablution facilities as the children along with a staff of ten volunteers are currently sharing the same Blair toilet, this is a huge challenge" " We also want to start earning revenue so that we can pay our employees who are doing volunteer work," he added.
The school has a number of obstacles, amongst them a lack of proper infrastructure for feeding the children as they have had to make do with an open-air makeshift kitchen throughout the different
seasons of the year.
Pastor Mike also appealed to the public for assistance in erecting a fence around the school to prevent drunkards from using the only toilet citing the spreading of diseases as a reason. The fence will also help to protect children from bad habits such as crime and prostitution, which are rampant in the cramped farming compound whose residents are mostly artisanal laborers.