Thousands flock to Masvingo to benefit from the First Lady’s education initiative, ZOU

the herald

Tendai Rupapa in MASVINGO

GUIDED by a quest to further their education, thousands of women have come out from all districts of Masvingo Province to enroll in free life-changing courses through a partnership between the Open University of Zimbabwe (ZOU) and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation. aimed at empowering the nation through open learning.

The First Lady had to lead two sessions as she also addressed those outside the room after the hall was filled to capacity, a sign that her program is in high demand.

Over 10,000 people have so far enrolled across the country in the program in which pioneer beneficiaries from Epworth, Harare have since graduated and are reaping the rewards of sincere and dedicated study.

Masvingo becomes the ninth province to benefit from the program which is expected to cover all 10 provinces in the country.

Gutu, Chivi, Mwenezi, Zaka, Bikita and Chiredzi districts in Masvingo were all represented at the oversubscribed event yesterday which attracted thousands of potential beneficiaries, leading to more following a procedure from an overflow tent.

No academic qualifications are required to qualify for the many courses offered through the partnership, which is a blessing for millions of people who have been unable to continue their education due to financial hardship and crowds. other challenges.

Already, inmates at Mutimurefu prison in Masvingo have started classes, showing how the First Lady leaves no one behind in her empowerment initiatives.

Yesterday, ZOU professors, lecturers, Deans of Students and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Gundani gave lesson plans to prospective students as they look to get started.

Beneficiaries of courses from the Angel of Hope Foundation and the Open University of Zimbabwe queue to be tested for Covid-19 as they arrive at the venue for the launch of the partnership in Masvingo yesterday

ZOU offers a multitude of courses in its faculties of Agriculture, Applied Social Sciences, Arts, Cultural and Heritage Studies, Technology, Science, Law, Education, and Commerce.

The First Lady said it was her sincere desire to empower women, the elderly and people with disabilities, among many other groups, while commending Masvingo residents for registering in large numbers.

Amai Mnangagwa also mingled with the crowd who thanked her for her life-changing programs.

“Madzimai ndafara nekubuda kwamaita nehuwandu nekuti manyaradza moyo wangu. Chishuvo changu kuti munhukadzi abudirire, ndinyaradzeiwo nekudzidza macourse auya pachena aya. The Angel of Hope Foundation and ZOU partnership for community empowerment through open learning strives to complement the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which pledges to leave no one and no place behind “, she said.

The move, she said, was an extended privilege befitting the same week that Zimbabwe was celebrating its 42nd Independence Day, where the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe pledged to develop places first difficult to access.

“Today’s launch marks a positive development in terms of recognizing the existence and importance of the most disadvantaged community members among us, especially the girls and women of Masvingo Province,” she said.

“Thus, I am privileged and honored to launch the Angel of Hope Foundation in partnership with the ZOU Community Empowerment Campaign through open learning to benefit marginalized, socially excluded, vulnerable , underprivileged and underprivileged living in the province of Masvingo.”

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa greets beneficiaries of the Angel of Hope Foundation and ZOU training programs who were watching the proceedings from the overflow tents after failing to find seats in the hall during the launch of the partnership in Masvingo yesterday . — Photos: John Manzongo

The mother of the nation said she seeks to open educational avenues for the upliftment of vulnerable members of the community, including former ladies of the night, people living with various forms of disabilities, the elderly, mothers adolescent girls, disadvantaged young adults, disadvantaged mothers and fathers, disadvantaged young people among us, socially and sexually abused child heads of households, orphans, drug addicts, school dropouts, homeless children in the province of Masvingo, the list is endless.

“Women, we say that ZOU has come to teach you everyone who wants to use their hands and rise up. It takes a little time like two weeks and the certificates will be registered ZOU,” she said.

The First Lady urged the beneficiaries to take their studies seriously so that they fully understand the concepts taught.

“ZOU came to open your mind so that you would gain self-confidence,” she said. “Most women can’t stand in front of others because they despise themselves. You can do it. I have come to restore your confidence that you can indeed stand before others. Let’s learn. I know the people of Masvingo are resilient and you are taking lessons and using them to your advantage.

Moreover, she says; “Hama dzangu nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. However, it will not be possible for Zimbabwe to achieve 100% of its goals if 50% of its population, the majority being girls and women, cannot achieve their full potential.

“Empowering women is empowering humanity and it is the fastest route to vision 2030. SaAmai ishuviro yangu kuti mudzimai ave neshungu dzekuvandudza hupenyu through education.”

Amai Mnangagwa also held an interactive session with those in the overflow tent and outside the tent to ensure everyone fully understood her mission.

“Please don’t go home without enrolling in any class,” she said. “I am troubled by what I can really do for you. What can I do for you women? What can I do best to help you women? Those with disabilities, older women, you middle-aged women, newlyweds, what can I do for you?

“I brought an education in which you are not asked where you finished and in what year. This will allow you to take care of what you have, even zvipfuyo zvepamusha. Look how drunk these children are, how they dress and how they react when sent out on errands.

“I encourage all of us, including these children, to learn because ZOU has come and no one will ask for payment. If someone demands payment, report it to the police promptly. In two weeks you will have certificates. Women, please comfort me, comfort me with learning. If you learn, my heart will rest. Walk with me until the end.”

Professor Gundani said the partnership with the Angel of Hope Foundation was intended to complement the First Lady’s efforts to improve the welfare of citizens.

“We designed these courses to transform lives so you can succeed,” he said. “The president talks about Vision 2030, which means we look forward to improving people’s way of life and wealth so that when we reach 2030, we would have progressed.

“As a university, we design bespoke courses that help you get ahead in partnership with the Angel of Hope Foundation.”

Professor Gundani said the courses they offered were life-long, life-changing and transforming lives forever.

Dr. Eurita Nyamanhare, Director of the ZOU Vice Chancellor’s Office, said she was delighted with the overwhelming response the program had received from the people of Masvingo.

“If I compare with what we experienced in eight other provinces, it’s like four times,” she said. “Due to the large number, we were unable to register them all on the site, as the response was overwhelming.”

Instead, Dr Nhamanhare said they asked potential beneficiaries to register in their neighborhoods, districts, churches, organizations and gave people a week to do so.

“The names will be forwarded to ZOU Masvingo Regional Campus by Wednesday next week and then we will get the list compiled in Harare,” she said. “It was a resounding success.”

The residents of Masvingo were so thrilled to be able to go back to school and gain university certificates that they sang the First Lady’s praises and wished her long life.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Semeni Mutimhodyo, could not hide her joy.

“I am delighted because the visit of the First Lady comforted me,” she said. “I will be counted among other educated people in Zimbabwe. I went to school until 7th grade and never went any further. Amai pulled me out of the mud.

“Today the First Lady has put a college education on our doorstep to ensure that I am also honored and placed at the top of society. I will be counted among those who have been college educated and certified in Early Childhood Development (ECD) I enjoy working and teaching children at the ECD level.

Equally enthusiastic was Mrs. Edwick Ruzvidzo (57) who has an interest in agriculture.

“Amai brought ZOU to us and I want to study agriculture in order to deepen my knowledge of agriculture and improve production. I will learn more about soil and suitable plants and fertilizers. I will be able to earn an income through farming. This is something I never expected in my life,” Ms Ruzvidzo said while dancing and screaming with joy.

Ms Loveness Ndlovu, who runs a shop in Masvingo, said the First Lady’s intervention could not have come at a better time.

She plans to study business management to sharpen her management skills and boost her business.

“I have a boutique and we are happy for the chance the First Lady has given us as people who have gone into business without knowing it,” she said. “Amai brought us an open university. I wish God bless our mother because thanks to her I will now understand how to run my business after completing my course.

Mrs. Patience Makuza (30) was also grateful: “I am grateful to Amai for the program she brought to us so that we could acquire an education as most of us had no funds to continue our studies. . I want to train as a nurse’s aide in order to be able to help victims of road accidents. I will also learn how to best care for the elderly in the community.

Some men, who also came to support their wives, were thrilled and said they would also sign up.

Mr. Thomas Muchatuta said he wanted to get a certificate in health behavior.

The course covers the definition, rehabilitation and its importance, behavior modification, the importance of diet and traditional diet.

It also covers gender-based violence and stress management, the importance of respecting medical prescriptions, substance abuse and ethics.

Those present had the privilege of receiving food baskets from the First Lady.

The program took place in strict compliance with Covid-19 prevention protocols, after which people were also tested for the virus before entry.

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