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Homeless people struggle to adapt

by Staff reporter
15 Apr 2020 at 07:33hrs | Views
WHILE some of the homeless people moved into shelters by the Government welcome the move, others say they miss street life and those fighting drug dependency are reportedly stealing blankets, soap and plastic buckets to sell so they can buy drugs.

The homeless women are accommodated at Jamaica Inn National Training Centre for Rural Women along the highway to Mutare, while men are at the Mt Hampden Vocational Training Centre.

They were taken into shelter so that they are not exposed to Covid-19 on the streets. The Herald visited the formerly homeless people at the shelters yesterday. Some were grateful for the change, but others were struggling to adapt to the new environment.

Mary Makomo, who is at Jamaica Inn, said she wants to go back to the streets to live an independent life. "We want freedom and I miss my boyfriend, who is currently locked at Mt Hampden Vocational Training Centre. I miss him very much," she said.

Shaman Munyanyi, who welcomed the move into shelters and commended Government for the decision, said their peers were stealing blankets and exchanging them for drugs. Munyanyi said these sneak out of hostels during the night to look for drugs on the streets.

However, she said they were now better off than during their time on the streets and wants the Government to offer them life-changing skills. "The Government is providing us with three meals a day. Street-life was unbearable; sometimes we were forced into sexual intercourse with men of dubious character despite spending the day without food. "In some cases we would spend the day in running battles with the police and spend a night in police cells, which is different from the current set up. We are getting enough food and I am appealing to the Government to provide us with life-changing skills to better our lives. I want to go back to school to have a better future," said Munyanyi.

A man accommodated at Mt Hampden Vocational Training Centre, who declined to give his name, said he appreciates Government's efforts.

"The challenge we are facing is that some of our number are addicted to street life. They are stealing our blankets for resale so that they get money for drugs. We are appealing to the Government to provide us with maximum security at our dormitories so that they protect us from the unrepentant people, who want to return to the streets," he said.

 The Mt Hampden Vocational Training Centre is housing over 100 men, while Jamaica Inn has 17 women and five children.

Green Light International Trust founding member Mr Tawanda Makwiramiti, who partnered the Department of Social Welfare in moving the homeless people, said: "Some of the boys sneak out of the hostels to sell blankets, buckets, soap and even their clothes just to get drugs from nearby residential areas."

Ms Patience Chigwida, the administrator of Eatout Movement Zimbabwe, a group which is helping in mobilising resources for the vulnerable groups, hopes by the end of the lockdown, the homeless people would have indicated what they wish to do.

Source - The Herald