By Kuda T. Mundendere
A 32km strip from Chipinge to Mount Selinda is half earth-half tarred after the Budzi River 9km peg. Using that strip requires one to stay alert. A person has to be watchful not of the road itself but pirate taxi drivers who don’t care about other roaders, be they pedestrians, motorists or cyclists.
The motorists speed as though they are in a race with aircrafts. They argue that they will be speeding in order to reach daily targets. Whoever taught them that targets are met by speeding has put people’s lives in danger.
About 25km from town toward Mount Selinda is a place called Mzila. At this point, the tarmac is still surviving. Turning to the left at Mzila is a sign post that reads “Chimana 9km.” It is Chimana that we are interested in.
The 9km earth road to Chimana is edgy. Low lying vehicles have to move slowly if one cares for the engines of the mechanism.
We arrive at Chimana which boasts of a primary and a secondary school. Our business is at Chimana Primary School where a centre for child protection exists. Humble as it looks, the child protection home is so valuable than one can imagine.
Here we meet the founder, Mrs Elizabeth Mahiyana, supervising some few men who are doing some manual work on water works. Elizabeth greets us and asks our team to wait for her at the home. There, we get a warm welcome.
After some few minutes, the founder comes to us. Soft spoken as she is, she addresses us in manner which show how concerned she is with making us feel at home. In return, we assure her that we are already feeling at home.
We get into business. She tells us that she shall be joined by other board members of the children’s home programme which opened doors in 1992. In no time, they do arrive. She introduced them as Peter Sithole Muyayiso and Ndoneyi Sithole Matigwe. She asks Mr Muyayiso to take over since he is the current chairman.
Mr Muyayiso doesn’t waste time and explains to us that Chimana Community Child Protection Programme is a three-tier one.
“We have The Child Protection Home which houses orphaned and vulnerable children who don’t have a safe home of their own. The Child Protection and Care-giver Programme looks into the safety and welfare of orphaned and vulnerable children living under the guardianship of caregivers such as grandmothers, step fathers, brothers and others.
“The Child Rights Awareness Programme looks at the welfare of under 18 children by giving them education on children’s rights. All this s done to empower the children and promote their rights,” he said.
Mr Muyayiso hands-over to Mr Matigwe to take us on tour of the home project. Our first stop is at the crop farming section. There is a well maintained vegetable garden. Maize is grown for consumption at the plot. Macadamia nuts and pine apples are grown for income generation.
We move to the livestock section where poultry, fish and goats are kept. There is piped water that serves the home.
The home itself has all rooms of a standard dwelling. There are bedrooms for both males and females. There is a kitchen, dining and lounge. The toilets and baths are commendable.
Mr Muyayiso indicates that they operate a model home since they are training children to become self-reliant when they move from the home.
Finally, Mrs Mahiyana takes over.
“All this effort is there to give children their rights. We protect them from abuses which they might come across in unsafe home. We are happy to mention that we have produced more than 25 professionals from this humble home.
“We have produced medical experts, teachers, designers and administrators from this home. Some of them are remembering that ‘Kanyi arina manenji’ (Home is best). They continue to support and donate towards the children currently kept here,” she said.
In conclusion, Mrs Mahiyana indicates that Chimana Community Child Protection Programme is worth anyone’s support. She further invites well-wishers to come on board and help fund the children’s programme.