ActionAid Zimbabwe has facilitated a donation of five wheelchairs handed over to five female students living with disability studying at the Jairosi Jiri Vocational Training Centre (VCT) in Bulawayo -courtesy of the Congregation of the Rutherford Uniting Church in Australia.
ActionAid Zimbabwe Head of Programmes, Toendepi Kamusewu officially handed over the five wheelchairs to the Jairosi Jiri Association Bulawayo Branch Chairperson Sanele Mlauzi on 30 May 2016. Students living with disabilities and staff from the Jairosi Vocational Training VCT in Bulawayo and Ministry of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment officials witnessed the handover ceremony marked with song and dance by the wheelchair recipients and other students.
Mrs Mlauzi said: “We thank the Rutherford Church and ActionAid for the donation. The wheel chairs will be given to our students who did not have wheelchairs.”
The Jairosi Jiri Association was founded in 1950 by the late Jairosi Jiri and his work of rehabilitating people with disabilities started at the centre. “The Jairosi Jiri VCT has a capacity of training 150 trainees but currently the enrolment is 95 due to the poor economic factors. Over 500 people, who are both borders and from outreach community programmes currently access Jairosi Jiri programmes,” said Mrs. Mlauzi. In addition the institution is currently running on a shoe-string budget supported by Ministry of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, requires financial support across all its departments namely the VCT, administration, boarding and welfare, kitchen, clinic, rehabilitation and income generating projects. The support ranges from computers, industrial machines and bedding facilities.
“We also appeal for one more wheelchair for one of our training staff who does not have one,” said Mrs Mlauzi.
Colin Avery Treasurer for the Rutherford Uniting Church said in a message sent to Jairosi Jiri: "On behalf of the Congregation of the Rutherford Uniting Church, please accept as our gift to your organisation of these five wheelchairs. Together with our gift goes our blessings and prayers that in some small way they may assist those in need as you carry out your work for the disabled in your community. God bless you all."
The wheelchairs were given to five female students at Jairosi Jiri VCT Bulawayo, who are all living with disability and cannot walk without a wheelchair. The five were using the institution wheelchairs which are on demand as they are sometimes required in the physiotherapy unit for the centre.
“I was born with cancer which affected by spinal cord. I cannot go about my business without the aid of a wheelchair. I am grateful for receiving a wheelchair, “said Yolanda Mukandla who is a first year student studying Secretarial studies at Jairosi Jiri Vocational Training Centre.
Yolanda, whose parents stay in the rural areas in Kezi in Matabeleland and cannot afford her needs, appealed for more assistance with regards to sanitary wear. I need U$1 each day for adult pampers as I cannot use the toilet. I also struggle to get money for sanitary pads,said Yolanda.
The wheelchair donation to Jairosi Jiri is in line with ActionAid’s Zimbabwe vision and mission of working with people living in poverty in which every person, including Yolanda should enjoy their right to a life of dignity. For ActionAid, people with disabilities make up a significant and growing proportion of people living in poverty in Zimbabwe.