By Patricia Mashiri
Women are often looked down upon and perceived as people who do not add no value to the society but this is a different case with Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvada, the Founder and Chief Executive of Rozaria Memorial Trust which has helped hundreds of young girls in Murehwa and Shamva.
Nyaradzai grew up in Magaya area and faced many challenges during her teenage days. Her mother, Rozaria Marumisa Dizha was a victim at a young age as she was forced out of school when she was doing Grade 3 and married to an older man who happens to Nyaradzai’s father. After her mother died that’s when she decided to start a memorial trust and named it after her.
“My father died when I was still young. I grew up seeing my mother struggling to feed us. It was through the garden that she raised all the 14 children. My mother was forced to drop out of school and was married to my father. I always think that my eldest brother was born out of rape not love as my mother could not defend herself as a young lady by then.
“That struggle my mother went through made me think of starting a trust called Rozaria in honor of her. Even after some of my brothers died because of HIV /AIDS related illness, my mother took good care f the widows and children my brothers left so I have a much better understanding of what poverty and HIV/ AIDS is,” Gumbonzvada said.
In her address during the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of Rozaria Memorial Trust and 16 Days of Activism Campaign under the theme ‘Invest in education, end violence against women! end child marriages’ at Magaya Primary in ward 8 Murehwa Nyaradzayi said it was unacceptable that women are still dying whilst giving birth. The most affected group is the young girls.
“It is very sad that our young ladies are forced into marriages and they don’t have confidence or stance of negotiating a relationship. I believe that another world free of violence, poverty and HIV/AIDS is possible. More resources should be directed to communities to end child marriages and poverty,” Gumbonzvada said.
Mrs Hendrica Okondo, Senior Global Advisor and Researcher for the Women’s Rights, Empowerment and Partnerships in Africa (WREPA) said the young girls should be given a voice to speak for themselves.
“Our young girls need our support. Therefore, we should work together as a team to help them and protect them from the hard conditions of the world. To parents, please give your girl child a chance to education, as it is an investment. Fathers; stop abusing the young ladies and continue working hard for your families.” Okondo said.
Salome Mazengwe, the Murehwa District Schools Inspector praised the work of Rozaria Maemorial Trust. She said the trust is doing a great job in Murehwa.
“Rozaria Memorial Trust is helping 70 HIV positive kids with school fees, uniforms and other necessities. It introduced a club in many secondary schools in which our girls are getting self confidence,” Mazengwe said.
Victims of rape and early marriages are readmitted back to school with the support of Rozaria Memorial Trust,” Mazengwe added.
Tadiwa Tunduwani (20) from Hurungwe testified that Rozaria Memorial Trust has been good to her through its educational and awareness meetings that have benefitted her a lot. As soon as she met Nyaradzai, her life completely changed.
“I dropped out of school when I was in Form 2 at the age of 16. I left school because I was pregnant. I went to live with my new husband but we later broke up because he didn’t want me to go back to school because I was his wife. Both my mother and mother in-law wanted me to go back to school but my husband refused. When I went back to school my mother in-law took the child and went with her to South Africa where she lives.
“When I went back to school my teachers advised me to join the Rozaria Memorial Trust club. The members of the club used to scold me telling me that school was not meant for parents but they latter enjoyed my company. I thank Gogo Nyaradzayi because I’m now in Form 3 because of her support,” Tunduwani said