By Tendai Guvamombe
Danangwe District Youth in Mining Corporative (DDYMC), a rising initiative to upscale youth activities through empowerment in Chegutu under the Mashonaland West Province on Friday last week observed the International Women’s Day.
DDYMC is a pilot project, which developed to a large indigenous gold mining firm with many activities taking place in the area. It has managed to achieve gender balance by empowering more than 500 women at the gold mine to this date.
DDYMC Chairman, Stewart Lackford, said the mining firm in its diverse activities has taken note of challenges affecting women in the area. It assumed the role of empowering impoverished women in the society, mainly the widowed and unemployed.
“As the major industry that has remained operational in Chegutu community, we have a huge role to uplift women who are impoverished due to circumstances beyond their control, such as family disintegrations as a result of divorce.
“The International Day of Women is very important to us as an organisation. In trying to emulate the vision of our First Lady Mai Mnangangwa in all her endeavours to uplift women in our country, we have managed to empower more than 500 women, some of whom we have goiven various managerial positions,” Lockford said.
Hilaria Simoyi, the only lady in the advisory board, said DDYMC has been striking some positive strides in areas of women emancipation. This has enabled widows to find employment to cater for their warfare and social wellbeing.
“At this mine, many women especially the widowed and divorced, have been empowered that they are now able to look after themselves by meeting their basic needs, paying school fees for their children and I am glad to say that here women are treated as equals with their male counterparts. We have no record of women harassment on duty and neither do we experience sexual assault. In fact it’s a harmonious environment for us as women,” Simoyi said.
Juliana Mukakati, a shaft owner, said that she has been able to look after her family through earnings generated from mining activities ever since her husband got paralysed.
“I am a hard working woman. I have been empowered here at DDYMC. Today as I speak, my husband is paralysed but I am able to look after him and our children through mining,” she said
However, most women are worried because of rumours circulating that the entire mining area is likely to face closure and be given to a foreign company. Such a predicament is likely to shatter the women’s hope for prosperity and will inevitably bring down tears of sorrow and indelible tragedy to thousands of widows whose life currently depends on the existence of DDYMC.