By Byron Mutingwende
St Patrick’s Mission Hospital in Hwange and the Zimcare Trust were beneficiaries of two brand-new off-road vehicles donated by Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe (LCDZ) with the hope of improving the two organisations’ operations.
Zimcare is an apolitical private voluntary organisation (PVO) that has 14 affiliate centres, 11 of which cater for juniors and three for adults with intellectual challenges..
Speaking on the sidelines of the handover ceremony presided over by the LCDZ Board Chairman, Mr Godfrey Sibanda, the Zimcare Country Director Mr Nicholas Aribino said his organisation has seven affiliate centres in Harare. These include the Zambezi Workshop, the Ruvimbo, Sharon Cohen, St. Catherine’s, Tinokwirira, Batsirai and Home Fields Special Schools. In Mutare there is Chengetai Special School, in Gweru there is Mudavanhu and in Masvingo there is Ratidzo Special School.
“In Bulawayo we have three centres namely Simanyane, Sibantubanye and Sir Humphrey Gibbs Special Schools. There is also Rubatsiro Special School in Kadoma.
“Our mandate is to educate and care for persons with intellectual challenges. We don’t present our students for examinations since because of the nature of their disabilities they can never be book-smart. We teach them basic literacy and numeracy skills. For those with mild or moderate intellectual challenges, we try to equip them with technical and vocational skills,” said Mr Aribino.
According to Mr Greaterman Chivandire, the LCDZ Director, his organisation works proactively with the government and other civil society organisations to address the plight of persons with disabilities in the country.
“In doing our work, we will be complementing government effort in the provision of education, health, justice, livelihoods and rights awareness. Our approach is based on the realisation that interest and goodwill to address disability issues exist at government level, but such efforts are hamstrung by the lack of adequate financial and disability technical resources. It is on this basis that we are today giving vehicles to St. Patrick’s Mission Hospital and Zimcare so as to capacitate them to fulfil their mandate,” Mr Chivandire said.
He emphasised the importance of initiating change from the grassroots, working through a network of local partners to strengthen community structures for child protection and service delivery.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Aribino promised to use the vehicle for monitoring and evaluation and to reach out hard to reach areas in an attempt to identify children with intellectual challenges.
Sister Rumbidzai Maverutse, the Missionary Sister of the Precious Blood for St Patrick’s Mission Hospital who received the vehicle on behalf of the institution said the truck would help them in fulfilling their mandate of treating patients.
“Apart from our prime business of offering medication to patients, our cordial relationship and partnership with LCDZ that has resulted in us receiving this vehicle will make it easier for us to do outreach programmes of visiting patients in hard to reach areas, particularly children with disabilities. In most instances, other cases may require specialist services in far away medical centres in Bulawayo. We will use the vehicle donated by LCDZ to carry the patients to such places,” Sister Rumbidzai Maverutse said.
LCDZ places premium on building self-sustenance, developing the capacities of PWDs to run self-initiated business enterprises, and addressing issues of employment, and access to financial capital, skills and credit.