…Tendai Chitowa Foundation rescues disabled Sakubva man
“Since 2013 I have been praying for an electric wheelchair for me to be self reliant. Finally my prayers have been answered and I am glad I never lost faith. My aspiration is to pursue my education and attain a secretarial diploma then become an independent and qualified professional that will also be able to help out my family and loved ones. I believe my handicap should not be my downfall,” said Tendai
THE dreams of a 21-year handicapped man from the sprawling high density suburb of Sakubva in Mutare were given a lifeline last week Wednesday after receiving a long awaited electric wheelchair donation worth nearly $3000.
Tendai Mazuru that was born disabled with no legs received the electric wheelchair from a Mutare based non-profit making charity organisation called the Tendai Chitowa Foundation. The foundation which was initiated by businesspeople born and bred in Manicaland who were inspired to give back to the community that moulded them to be where they are in business, has over the years been doing charity work on a low key.
In December last year the foundation donated goods including groceries worth $2000 to Zororai Old People’s Home in Sakubva where there are currently 18 elderly people living at the centre.
The founder and president of the foundation Tendai Chitowa said as a foundation their focus has predominantly been three special groups, the elderly who are destitute, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and the physically handicapped. It was during the December donation that the foundation heard the story of Tendai who has been staying at the foundation due to his disability and precarious condition where he was failing to relieve himself at the public toilets in Muchena where he lived with his family.
Zororai Old People’s Home matron sister Blatina Mariko during the electric wheelchair handover said she was touched by the follow-up made by the Tendai Chitowa Foundation.
“Tendai started staying with us here in 2014 after we heard about his situation. We had been appealing for assistance to many people who have passed through here and I remember in December when you came (Tendai Chitowa Foundation) you said you would help him. Today you have fulfilled that and I am touched that you lived up to your promise,” said the matron.
Tendai who has been using a manual wheelchair would often need fulltime assistance to move him around but with the electric wheelchair he can now move by himself and carry out minor tasks by himself.
Tendai since 2014 has been helping out as a receptionist at Nzeve Deaf Centre in Sakubva which houses disabled people like him. He said his dream to attain a secretarial diploma was for years being deterred by not having an electric wheelchair to be self reliant and be able go to school alone, but now the dream was realizable.
“Since 2013 I have been praying for an electric wheelchair for me to be self reliant. Finally my prayers have been answered and I am glad I never lost faith. My aspiration is to pursue my education and attain a secretarial diploma then become an independent and qualified professional that will also be able to help out my family and loved ones. I belive my handicap should not be my downfall,” said Tendai.
During the handover ceremony, after being moved by Tendai’s story and plight for a laptop and financial assistance to start a secretarial diploma at Mutare Polytechnic College, Lloyd Mapunga the chairman of the foundation decided to donate a laptop to him.
Mapunga also urged other local businesspeople to join in philanthropic work and help the less privileged, no matter how little citing that it was always the thought that counts.
Chitowa said what touched them as a foundation was how his namesake (Tendai) had a zeal for life and a desire to be self sufficient regardless of his disability.
“Unlike some disabled of his age that prefer begging on the streets, Tendai has a dream and aspires to advance his education and make something out of himself. This is a story that should be supported and we hope Tendai will motivate others like him not to be deterred by their handicap. As a foundation, resources permitting, we intend to help more disabled that have such appetite for life,” said Chitowa.
Zororai Old People’s home chairman Arthur Chinaka thanked the foundation for committing to philanthropic work at a time when most people are struggling to cater for their families due to the economic situation in the country. He said in Zimbabwe there were few voluntary non-profit making organisations initiated by indigenous businesspeople and encouraged more to join the cause.
The stepping up into charity work by the Tendai Chitowa Foundation comes at a time when most orphanages and old people’s homes have been bemoaning the failure by government to pay the monthly $15 per capita welfare grants for each elderly person or OVC taken to social welfare centres dotted countrywide.
It has mostly been local companies, well wishers and religious organisations that have sustained these centres over the years.
In December during the handover of groceries at Zorarai, Chinaka revealed that for the past 15 years the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was not paying the grant of $15 per person for every elderly brought at the centre, a situation which was straining their funds to pay allowances for workers and the medical care of the elderly staying at the home.
Under the Older Persons Act, government is mandated to give grants to registered old people’s homes. The supreme law of the land also obligates the State to take care of the elderly. Section 82 of the Bill of Rights states that all persons over the age of 70 are entitled to receive from the State reasonable financial assistance under social security and welfare programmes as well as healthcare and medical assistants but this has not been the case.
Chinaka said currently almost 10 out of the 18 elderly people at Zororai had chronic illnesses, which require special diets and medicines. The centre which was established in 1965 has the capacity to house 30 residents and usually takes in destitute elderly people above 65 years.