Local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Amalima, has donated food hampers to three care homes in Bulawayo as part measures to cushion them against the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The three homes are Queen Elizabeth Children’s home, Sir Humphrey Gibbs Training Centre and Ekuphumuleni Geriatric Nursing Home.
The food hampers included mealie-meal, cooking oil, washing soap, hand sanitisers, beans, pampers, flour, soya mince, salt, petroleum jelly and other basics.
Handing over the donation to three homes, Amalima staff members’ representative, Nicholas Nyathi, said they wanted to extend their help to the less-privileged at a time when the country is battling COVID-19.
“As staff members when we saw the problems brought in by COVID-19 we thought it was important for us to contribute something as people working with vulnerable groups,” said Nyathi.
Receiving the donation at Queen Elizabeth Children’s home, Director Ellen Mfumu expressed gratitude saying the donation came at a time when the home’s source of income which is their school was closed due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has affected us in that we have been supporting our children from school fees,” said Mfumu.
“Our cash cow is school fees. We have a school and from that school that’s where we get all the money to take care of the children and now schools abruptly closed without us preparing ourselves. We didn’t have any savings to say we have saved, we had nothing; we were living from hand to mouth. So after this happened we were very affected, even in our staff, we had to take staff to come and stay here for a longer time which means they also have to be taken care of.”
Superintendent for Sir Humphrey Gibbs Training Centre, Sipiwe Mwenda said the coming of COVID-19 was a blow to the centre.
“The coming of COVID-19 is a blow on us as an institution, as a centre for persons with mental challenges and as an institution which survives on donations,” said Mwenda.
“When all things were well we would go out in the corporate world asking for assistance and some would assist but now we are on lockdown. Things are very difficult and this has brought more harm, a lot of harm. We need to preserve the lives of people but for us, this is a serious challenge. At times we wonder what the next meal is going to be, if you can’t get vegetables.”
She added that people suffering from respiratory diseases were having a challenging time wearing masks.
“Some of them drool and they can’t keep on that mask for a long time. It will be wet, it has to be removed and get something else. Some of them suffer from respiratory problems they can’t keep on that mask for a long time,” said Mwenda.
Ekuphumuleni Geriatric Nursing Home sister in charge, Lucia Malemani, said the pandemic had made it impossible for them to allow in visitors.
“Ekuphumuleni was a place where if someone brought in their relative, they were able to visit but due to COVID-19 it is now hard because we are also trying to protect them because we know that this virus affects old people more,” said Malemani.
“When it comes to food, we depended on donations from organisations and different churches, so due to church gatherings restrictions they are now unable to contribute as they no longer gather so we fear for what tomorrow will bring us,” said Malemani.