NMB Bank last week handed over food items and cooking pots to the Dzikwa Trust, a charitable organisation in Harare’s Dzivarasekwa suburb that assists and empowers orphans and vulnerable children from the suburb and surrounding areas.
Prior to handing over the foodstuffs and cooking pots, NMB chief executive Ben Washaya and other representatives of the bank were shown around the Dzikwa Activity Centre, where more than 400 orphaned and vulnerable children are provided with a hot nutritional meal every day.
The centre has a well-equipped ICT classroom with rows of desks with computers on them, where children can develop their computer skills. The centre also provides training in cultural and artistic activities such as music, dance, drama, poetry and singing. Mr Washaya and his team were treated to some stunning displays of traditional dancing, singing, poetry and music.
So impressed was Mr Washaya with what he had seen at the centre that he said he would ask the bank’s marketing department to look into the possibility of providing the centre with further assistance.
Addressing members of the Dzikwa Trust and Friends of Dzikwa Society and the centre’s staff, volunteers and children, Mr Washaya said he understood most of the children who come to the centre are either from child headed families or homes where they are being looked after by elderly people with limited resources.
Earlier Dzikwa Trust /Friends of Dzikwa chairman Stephen Gwasira had pointed out that among the children who the trust had seen through their education from Grade One onwards were two who were currently studying at universities in China. One was studying medicine, while the other was studying aeronautical engineering.
Referring to these students’ success, Mr Washaya said this must be an inspiration to the centre’s children to remain focused on their studies.
“We are impressed by the excellent work you do here at the centre in providing at least one decent hot meal every day to orphans and vulnerable children from Dzivarasekwa and the surrounding areas,” Mr Washaya said.
“I am sure that with winter now upon us, the hot meals you provide will be particularly welcome,” he said.
“However I am sure that it is not only the hot meal that children appreciate but the love and concern you show them and the efforts you make to empower them and help them fulfil their potential,” he said.
Mr Gwasira explained that the centre and the assistance Dzikwa Trust gives to orphaned and vulnerable children arose out of the vision 25 years ago of its programme director, Seppo Ainamo, who comes from Finland, after he helped an eight year old orphaned boy from Dzivarasekwa.
He said the children assisted by the centre go to different schools in Dzivarasekwa and elsewhere. The trust assists them from Grade One up to tertiary level education, including university.
“The model we have adopted is one that allows orphans to live in their own homes,” he said, adding that they only come to the centre for the hot meal the centre offers them and to take part in activities there.
The centre provides computer lessons and education in basic health care. It also involves the children in environmental conservation efforts. There are Dzikwa Trust sports teams, as well, to both enhance the children’s physical well-being and promote a sense of togetherness.