The First Lady,

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Se­nior Re­porter

Amai Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa, hands over good­ies to Man­hinga Chil­dren's Home rep­re­sen­ta­tives at Old Mutare on Wed­nes­day, while the Min­is­ter of Man­i­ca­land Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs Cde Mon­ica Mutsvangwa (right) looks on.

FIRST Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa has called on Gov­ern­ment to work with chil­dren’s homes in pro­vid­ing vo­ca­tional train­ing to or­phans and equip them with life skills that will help them to fend for them­selves when they leave the homes.

Speak­ing at a be­lated Christ­mas party for or­phans held at the United Methodist Church-run Fair­field Chil­dren’s Home at Old Mutare Mis­sion on Wed­nes­day, Amai Mnan­gagwa, said it was im­por­tant for vo­ca­tional train­ing to be­gin at an early stage in chil­dren’s homes.

Amai Mnan­gagwa said most chil­dren who are put in or­phan­ages a lit­tle later in life may find ad­just­ing from a fam­ily set up dif­fi­cult, which af­fects their per­for­mance even in school, hence the need for other life skills.

“I un­der­stand we have a vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­tre nearby and it is my wish that these chil­dren should en­rol at ten­der ages. I think you should iden­tify their strengths and weak­nesses early so that they can be put in groups ac­cord­ing to what they can do,” she said.

“When they grad­u­ate and leave the home at 18, we will not have a prob­lem of chil­dren who have noth­ing to do in town.

‘‘Since they will be in pos­ses­sion of life skills, they can look for em­ploy­ment and they will not suf­fer much.”

She en­cour­aged women to in­den­tify in­come-gen­er­at­ing projects that will also help or­phans in their com­mu­ni­ties.

“As mothers, let us join hands and work to­gether. I be­lieve women should find some­thing to do in terms of projects so that they will be able to help these chil­dren.

‘‘If that child leaves the home with­out any skills, you can take them in and train them in your own projects. That is my wish,” she said.

Simukai Child Pro­tec­tion Pro­gramme di­rec­tor Mrs Bar­bara Mat­sanga said the move to pro­vide vo­ca­tional train­ing to chil­dren in homes would help re­duce the num­ber of street urchins.

“When you start skilling them at a ten­der age, it will help them when they reach the age of 18 when they are ex­pected to leave the homes.

‘‘So af­ter leav­ing the home, they need to have skills to sur­vive,” she said.

She said most chil­dren in or­phan­ages lag be­hind in terms of aca­demic achieve­ments due to the cir­cum­stances they live in or their back­ground.

“At 18 they will be adults. They can­not go back to the home and ask for food or money to sur­vive. For the girls, when they even­tu­ally have their own chil­dren, they can­not go back and ex­pect their chil­dren to be raised in a home. It be­comes a vi­cious cy­cle.

“That is what we want to in­still in our chil­dren so that we make sure that we are pro­duc­ing a child who can then look af­ter them­selves,” said Mrs Mat­sanga.

— Pic­ture by In­no­cent Chi­wanza.

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