Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has called on Government to work with children’s homes in providing vocational training to orphans and equip them with life skills that will help them to fend for themselves when they leave the homes. Speaking at a belated Christmas party for orphans held at the United Methodist Church-run Fairfield Children’s Home at Old Mutare Mission on Wednesday, Amai Mnangagwa, said it was important for vocational training to begin at an early stage in children’s homes.
Amai Mnangagwa said most children who are put in orphanages a little later in life may find adjusting from a family set up difficult, which affects their performance even in school, hence the need for other life skills.
“I understand we have a vocational training centre nearby and it is my wish that these children should enrol at tender ages. I think you should identify their strengths and weaknesses early so that they can be put in groups according to what they can do. When they graduate and leave the home at 18, we will not have a problem of children who have nothing to do in town. Since they will be in possession of life skills, they can look for employment and they will not suffer much,” she said.
She encouraged women to indentify income-generating projects that will also help orphans in their communities.
“As mothers, let us join hands and work together. I believe women should find something to do in terms of projects so that they will be able to help these children. If that child leaves the home without any skills, you can take them in and train them in your own projects. That is my wish,” she said.
Simukai Child Protection Programme director Mrs Barbara Matsanga said the move to provide vocational training to children in homes would help reduce the number of street urchins.
“When you start skilling them at a tender age, it will help them when they reach the age of 18 when they are expected to leave the homes. So after leaving the home, they need to have skills to survive,” she said.
She said most children in orphanages lag behind in terms of academic achievements due to the circumstances they live in or their background.
“At 18 they will be adults. They cannot go back to the home and ask for food or money to survive. For the girls, when they eventually have their own children, they cannot go back and expect their children to be raised in a home. It becomes a vicious cycle. That is what we want to instill in our children so that we make sure that we are producing a child who can then look after themselves,” said Mrs Matsanga.