By Shingirai Vambe
From walking up to 20km in anticipation of getting access to health-care and educational services, the people of Umguza District in Matebeleland North will for the first time saunter no more, thanks to the Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (LDS).
Speaking to the Post On Sunday Newspaper, LDS Southern Africa Communications Director Sandile Makasi said, “We have partnered with different organizations and the Government of Zimbabwe to bring development, aid and support in various communities in the country as a sign of love for one another as shown by Jesus Christ in the Bible.”
“We supported the Zimbabwean government during cyclone IDAI and COVID-19, through aid and support that came during that period, including special types of ventilators and other necessities”, added Makasi.
Furthermore, the church has also made available additional funds to construct more social amenities as well as piped water garden schemes for the district. LDS senior members and project officers visited Joana Mafuyana primary school which only has one classroom block and teachers have nowhere to sleep but in little store-rooms as the schools does not have accommodation for them.
Four teachers including a school head and deputy run Makokomba primary which is currently catering for 325 children, all coming from the 6 villages in the surrounding community. The pupils range from kindergarten up to grade seven. LDS support has seen the present construction of a staff quarters in a bid to improve the living conditions for the teachers at the school.
Embracing the generous effort by LDS and its partners, parents in the Makokomba community offer themselves to do general work during the construction of these project, thus solidifying a symbiotic relationship where the beneficiaries do not become victims of complacency usually associated with donor syndrome.
Rennie Sibanda, a committee member of the Makokomba Valley Garden told this publication that the assistance they received from the church has changed their lives for the better and now they can afford to put food on the table, while taking their children to school through proceeds from the chicken, rabbit and vegetable projects initiated by LDS.
Speaking at the official opening of the clinic, the Minister of State for provincial affairs and devolution, Hon. Richard Moyo said, “It is an honor to stand before you today on this landmark occasion to officially open Maboleni Clinic, a milestone development in Umguza ward 19. The provision of health-care is one of the 14 pillars of our national development strategy (NDS1).”
“I’m glad that Umguza rural district Council in partnership with the Church of Jesus of the Latter day saints and the community have achieved a great milestone in ensuring that residents access health-care close to where they stay,” added Moyo.
The Provincial Medical Director, Doctor Admire Kuretu told Post on Sunday that, “We would like to thank LDS for sacrificing resources to serve this community of around 15,000 people. This is a very welcome development in line with the principles of primary health-care. This community needs services to come closer to the people, at least after every 8km distance.”
Dr Kuretu however fears that the clinic will soon be overwhelmed due to the new state of the art equipment which will attract people even from afar.
Speaking to Post on Sunday, LDS Second Counselor Africa South Area Presidency, Elder Denelson Silva said, “We work with worldwide known organizations such as the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Governments to mention just a few, doing this through the teachings we have received from our savior Lord Jesus Christ, to love one another, to help the need and acting on behalf of others.”
In 2021 alone, the church had a total of 3909 humanitarian projects with a total of close to US $1 billion dollars in 188 countries. Some of the projects undertaken by the church are psycho-social support, food and other material aid support including provision of educational support for the needy across the globe.