Zimbabwe First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe has reportedly adopted 15 children into her care. The wife of President Robert Mugabe has been featured in this regard in the national state newspaper., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
First Lady adopts 15 children
Saturday, 16 July 2011 02:00
By Tichaona Zindoga
First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe has taken 15 children from Harare Central Hospital into her state-of-the-art Children's Home in Mazowe.
The abandoned children - 10 girls and five boys aged between three months and one-and-half years - moved into the home on Wednesday.
Amai Mugabe proposed to adopt the children from the hospital in December last year during the National Child Survival Strategy for Zimbabwe programme.
The 15 become the first beneficiaries at the centre that will accommodate about 600 children when it is completed.
The home has 30 houses with 16 measuring 365 square metres while the remainder are a massive 412 square metres each.
Each house has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a lounge, a dining room and a kitchen.
So far 11 houses are ready for occupation while the rest are expected to be complete next year.
The centre would be officially opened next year.
In an interview yesterday, Amai Mugabe said: "It was an emotional moment for me."
She was touring the centre accompanied by her mother Mrs Idah Marufu and daughter Bona.
"It is not that other people out there do not want to do something like this but they lack the opportunity and I praise God and feel blessed and honoured to be able to do something for the people of Zimbabwe," she said.
Amai Mugabe said she was touched by the issue of street children back in the 1990s.
"I needed to do something. I decided to put up a proper home for children and the board of trustees agreed with the idea. We then approached the Harare City Council and they allocated us land at Hopley Farm but during the land reform period some people claimed that piece of land so we had to look for another place," she said.
Amai Mugabe found the right place at Iron Mask Farm in Mazowe.
The ground breaking ceremony was held on July 23, 2006. The date is also her birthday.
Construction began in January 2007.
The project has, however, been affected by a number of challenges that included the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries.
However, support from President Mugabe, the family's Chinese friends and other donors has seen the project come to fruition.
Amai Mugabe said the idea to have the home on a farm was to ensure self-sustenance in food production.
The farm has 1 250 hectares with 50ha devoted to developments on the home.
This will include a children's village, primary and secondary schools, a multi-purpose hall, an information technology centre, a skills training centre and a hospital.
These amenities would also benefit the surrounding community.
Construction of the primary school is set to begin soon.
On the other side, farming is taking place and the Chinese government has undertaken to build the school.
"Contrary to some reports that this farm is lying idle, we have been producing maize here and we deliver it to the Grain Marketing Board," she said.
And Amai Mugabe contends that the home is not an orphanage - at least semantically.
"I hate that word," she said. "It brings the idea of someone deprived and without parents . . . I have a totally different approach," she said.
Children at the centre would not leave until they have acquired life skills, she said.
Amai Mugabe expressed concern at the ever-increasing number of children on the streets.
She called on families to revert to the old extended family set up to cushion orphans and vulnerable children.
Amai Mugabe is involved in charity work across Zimbabwe. She is the patron of Danhiko Project in Msasa while she supports women's projects. She has donated various goods to a number of institutions in Zimbabwe.