“GIVE a man fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” goes an old English saying.
True to the saying, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa is on a mission to help people fend for themselves.
As patron of Angel of Hope Foundation, she said while her foundation would continue assisting those in need, there was need for those who are able to work to engage in projects which will help them become self-reliant.
She made the remarks at a ceremony where her foundation received an assortment of foodstuffs and toiletries from its partners and Midlands business community here for onward distribution to the needy.
The goods included maize-meal, flour, cooking oil, baked beans, dried vegetables, sugar, salt, bathing and laundry soap.
After receiving the goods, Amai Mnangagwa said she wanted to donate them to vulnerable groups in all the districts in the Midlands.
“These various fraternities have in unison donated food items to me as the patron of Angel of Hope Foundation. This endorsement is meant to shore up our mandate as a foundation, that of assisting the marginalised, the underprivileged, women, youth and children.
“I have come to receive this donation with the purpose of handing it over immediately to Midlands Province. Our elderly, the disabled and vulnerable children in homes are in constant need, therefore our helping hand should not be once off, but in continuum.
“As usual, Angel of Hope Foundation will continue assisting those in need, but will go further in encouraging those who are able to work to engage in projects which will help them become self-reliant,” she said.
The First Lady said she would engage the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare for them, if possible, to categorise those in need and ensure those with capacity to work can be empowered through the initiation of income-generating projects to enable them to fend for themselves and learn how to produce and process their products.
“We will continue doing our best in assisting those who are incapacitated as I am not leaving any category behind. We are in the difficult time of Covid-19, an era which has cost us our loved ones who have succumbed to this pandemic.
“It is during this time that the demand for the presence of Angel of Hope Foundation has amplified now more than ever. We have travelled far and wide the country of Zimbabwe with the aim of assisting the elderly, the disabled and the less fortunate simultaneously arming them with information on how the virus is spread and measures of prevention.”
The First Lady said the business community’s donation had contributed immensely to the vision of her foundation.
“I would like to thank all the entities who have contributed to this donation as this gesture is a light in the tunnel for those in dire lack. All the eight districts of Midlands Province are expected to benefit from this input. Let us continue to help those in need in our communities and society at large as one nation,” she said.
She urged the nation to continue adhering to Covid-19 protocols and urged the country’s citizenry to embrace the vaccination programme currently underway.
Amai Mnangagwa further implored women to unite and show love in observance of the current women’s month.
“Let us show each other love in our communities that we live in. Let’s embrace each other and avoid hate which will not take us anywhere. Madzimai ngativei nerudo nevavakidzani vedu. Kana wanga usati watanga kuratidza rudo kune vamwe itotanga nhasi mumwedzi wemadzimai zvigoramba zvichiyenda mberi,” she said.
Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Larry Mavima paid tribute to First Lady’s benevolence.
“We are all gathered to witness a great gesture of generosity, kindness and love from our First Lady as we hand over groceries donated by Amai to our beneficiaries here in the Midlands Province.
“Amai your support is invaluable to us and this shows that indeed you are the mother of the nation. You are a special type of person that changes lives, lifts people up and makes the world a better place. Thank you for your kindness and love towards the vulnerable communities,” he said.
The First Lady remains apolitical in her activities and this has attracted many admirers for her.
Former MDC legislator Blessing Chebundo who recently rejoined Zanu-PF pointed out that what the First Lady was doing in Zimbabwe was the first of its kind since independence in 1980 and even during colonialism.
“I have respect to the highest level for our mother of the nation. I am a history student and I love history a lot. I know that when building the future, you look at where you came from, where you are and where you are going.
“Since time immemorial I do not remember hearing about a First Lady who had this kind of a heart like that of our mother. Today we are not presenting a historical account, but something tangible. I am not saying this because she is here.
“Over the last few years before I came back home, I would look through the lens of opposition. But while watching television with my wife one day we marvelled at her non-partisanship. Your actions will carry us forward as a nation Amai,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by one woman who identified herself as Mrs Virginia Muzhari and said that she was a member of the MDC-A.
Mrs Muzhari was one of the beneficiaries of the First Ladies donations yesterday.
She said together with other people she came with from the same political party, they all received goods from the mother of the nation.
She said they admired the First Lady’s non-partisan approach in all her programmes and projects.
Mrs Muzhari said by giving her food and toiletries, the First Lady had lightened her burden since one of her children is physically-impaired.
“I am here to thank deeply our mother, Amai Mnangagwa. She does a lot of good for us as a nation. Today I have received these goodies on behalf of my child who lives with disability,” she said.
“Today we saw it for ourselves that Amai Mnangagwa is a real mother of the nation, she did not select her children, she gave us all equally. She is a mother for all of us. I want to thank you heartily because you recognise the disabled and the elderly. I want to take this time to wish God to bless you and add even more years. We have never seen such in Zimbabwe,” she said.
In response, the First Lady said everyone looked the same to her.
“When I look at people, they are the same to me. I am not selective and the happiness I accord to everyone is what I give to all people. No matter how many children may be, a mother knows her children. You have said words that touched me a lot that in most things I am not selective. I am happy that you are here because we are one family in one nation, Zimbabwe. I will never feel overburdened and I carry all my children on my back,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Cooler Manava, who lives with disability expressed gratitude to the First Lady for her love and timely interventions.
“I want to thank our mother because she has remembered us as disabled persons because when we are seated at home no one sees us. We are happy that today we left the homes and we want to thank for what she has done for us.
“Over the lockdown period we were just in the homes with nothing to eat. Even those who look after us where finding it difficult to carry on with that task, but our mother came to our rescue,” she said.
Mrs Mavis Zulu was equally ecstatic and praised the First Lady for her generosity.
“I was born in 1949 and I have never seen this kind of love. We were used to seeing this on television where the First Lady ate from the same plate with the elderly. It made me respect her and today she is here with us.
“Her love is in the blood and it is in the bible. All my children are deceased and they left children that I am looking after. The First Lady has lessened my burden,” she said with emotion written all over her face.
She said she was looking after nine grandchildren adding that
The First Lady’s assistance was akin to that of Ruth in the Bible.
The First Lady has made countless interventions to ease the plight of the vulnerable in societies.
She thanked Angel of Hope Foundation partners for their continued support.