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Teen girl inspired by mother into philanthropy

by Staff Reporter
29 Dec 2019 at 08:36hrs | Views
AFTER hearing harrowing stories of a fragmented upbringing of her mother, dotted with untold suffering and endurance, a Bulawayo teenager has been motivated to venture into philanthropic work in a bid to alleviate the plight of orphans and vulnerable children.

Mrs Gremmar Mpofu-Moyo's life story is a tear jerking one, one she admits she has never spoken about without shedding a tear.

Born in Mberengwa in 1975, she was told both her parents died in 1976.

"I was told my mother died when she was nine months pregnant together with my father during the war. I hear it was a painful death. So, we were raised by my older brother Smart," she said.

The brother who was 17 at the time at Wanezi Mission in Filabusi, was also attacked and left for dead but he survived the ordeal fortunately and took the role of being a mother and father to the orphaned children.

He went to Mkoba Teachers' College in Gweru to pursue a career in teaching as he was unable to go for Advanced Level as he had three siblings that also needed an education.

"We were a child-headed family. We were taken in by our mothers' sister in Chivi who took us in for a while before our brother took us back. We, however, could not go to school in Chivi as we had no birth certificates so we went back to Mberengwa where our brother had built a homestead for us as our previous home had been destroyed," she said.

While at Mkoba, Smart did not forget his siblings. He made it his responsibility that they ate whatever he could provide.

"At Mkoba Teacher's College he asked authorities for a piece of land to start a garden and he was given. He started growing vegetables that he would send back to the village religiously. During that time, colleges offered very good diet and he would save fruits and sweets which he had been given and send them to us so that we could eat too," she said.

After completing training, he went to teach at Masase High School in Mberengwa and he took his siblings with him in 1985.

Later on, Smart would marry and already he was like a family man as he had his three siblings as his first children.

Mrs Moyo said she then continued with her studies and went to Hillside Teachers' College for a Diploma in Education majoring in Mathematics and later got a degree in Mathematics from the Midlands State University.

She said she always refers to the way she grew up to instil a sense of responsibility in her children.

"I always tell them that they need to be great people as they grew up with both parents providing for them. I have been trying to send children on the streets back home to be with their families. However, I admit I have failed because they keep coming back to the streets where they are exposed to abuse and harsh living conditions," she added.

Mrs Moyo gave credit to the church where she got a lot of direction and discipline from a young age leading to her being a grounded teenager up to the time she got married.

"I am a businesswoman now. I run an events company and I also teach Mathematics privately; I am now venturing into farming on the outskirts of the city," she said.

Inspired by her mother's unpleasant upbringing story, Sibonginkosi, one of Mrs Moyo's three children decided to venture into philanthropic work where she is being assisted by her mother.

Her dream is to assist as many vulnerable and orphaned children as possible achieve their life goals.

"I was inspired by my mother's life story and thought to myself that no child should have to suffer. I started a campaign where I collected clothes and toys for children in orphanages. So, I went to Thembiso Children's Home and donated the clothes and cooked lunch for the children with the assistance of Premium Paints.

"I am trying to eradicate the vicious cycle of orphans having to suffer, I do not want to normalise things where we see orphans being the ones without clothes and food. I want them to lead a normal life like others," she said.

She said she was working with her classmate Sibonginkosi Ncube, her parents and a few others.

These people, she said, helped in collecting clothes and distributing them and other goodies to the children's homes.

She is hoping to get more people to partner with her and do more for vulnerable children in Bulawayo.

Asked on her future plans, she said: "In the next five years I seek to register a trust and do more philanthropic work, I also want to call upon people who can assist me and partner to do more projects to help the needy.

"It would also be noble to repair and renovate run down orphanages and children's homes over time so that the children have a better home to live in," she added.

Sibonginkosi said she encourages her peers to help other people during their spare time and change lives of the needy ones.

"Whenever I reflect on my mother's life story, I feel like I have actually lived it, that is what pushes me to think of ways to assist the needy," she said.

Mrs Moyo said she was indebted to her brother Smart adding that had it not been for him, she was not going to reach where she was today.

"I would like to acknowledge my brother who is now a holder of a PhD In Chemistry and is the chairman and lecturer in the Department of Education at the University of Zimbabwe.  Dr Mpofu sacrificed his education for a while to ensure that we completed ours.

"I don't know where I would be without him, I also give credit to his wife who embraced us when she came into the family. She did not chase us away but cared for us as her own children," added Mrs Moyo.

She said the issue of the extended family was a sensitive one for some women when they enter in to marriages, she urged all women to embrace what they find in their marriages as it is a blessing in many cases.

"I would like to send an important message to everyone out there, it does not take much to look after orphans and vulnerable people, if we all take responsibility for them. The streets would be empty if we all played a role," she said.

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Source - Sunday News