Raymond Jaravaza, Chronicle Correspondent
A Bulawayo non governmental organisation, Smile for Africa, donated mealie meal to widows of war veterans as part of its initiative to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on vulnerable members of society.
The donation to 207 widows was made at the War Veterans offices in Nketa suburb on Sunday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the donation, Smile for Africa director Mr Albert Mavhunga said his organisation is targeting more households in the city and will be making another donation in Entumbane suburb over the weekend.
“As an organisation, we have a programme where we distribute food hampers to the less privileged which started in 2010.
“This is part of our objectives to empower communities and in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to reach out to the widows of war veterans who are struggling to put food on the table for their families,” said Mr Mavhunga.
Mr Mavhunga said the donation is a response to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s declaration that the coronavirus pandemic is a national disaster.
One of the beneficiaries Mrs Similo Dube, whose husband passed away in 2008 leaving behind five children, said life has been hard for her family.
“We are struggling just to buy basic commodities and the monthly pensions I’m receiving can barely cater for our needs such as food and school fees for the children. We are appealing to other organisations to also emulate what has been done by Smile for Africa and assist us,” said Mrs Dube.
War Veterans Widows and Widowers Association Bulawayo chapter chairperson Mrs Sikhululekile Ndlovu said widows struggle to get their monthly pensions from banks and when they do, it’s after spending hours on end in long queues.
“One of our major concerns is accessing our pensions at the bank as well as the exorbitant rates being charged by the Bulawayo City Council. Most of our members are in arrears and risk losing their houses and we appeal to the government to chip in and assist us,” said Mrs Ndlovu. – [email protected]