Some widows in Victoria Falls have formed a trust to assist each other in times of need.
Gladys Malandela, a widow whose husband used to work in the tourism sector and died a few years ago came up with the idea of a trust in 2020 in response to worsening conditions of living for widows and orphans as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.
Her vision was to capacitate widows and orphans, as well as help fight drug abuse and teenage pregnancies by encouraging education among vulnerable children.
The trust going under the name Deborah Widows Trust has 15 members and while it has managed to solicit for services on behalf of members from public offices and tourism operators, the members have also decided to carry out corporate social responsibility work through routine cleaning of Victoria Falls Hospital.
They cleaned all hospital wards and the grounds recently as a way of thanking the government for allowing elderly and vulnerable people access to free health services at public hospitals.
They also cleaned the council-run Chinotimba Clinic and Old People’s Home.
Government allows senior citizens, elderly and vulnerable people free treatment at government hospitals and members of the Deborah Women’s Trust (DWT) have that privilege.
“All we want as widows is not to appear as charity cases but be able to help where we can. So we thought of cleaning our hospital which we will be doing every third week of the month so that when we go for treatment we are going to a clean environment,” said Malandela.
“All we are doing is work for the community that help us. We want to help government because this is where we get services when we get sick.”
Malandela said she and other widows formed the Trust to assist widows to relieve stress and not to think too much about their condition but be empowered through working together with others.
Whenever they meet they cheer and encourage each other to do piece jobs and menial jobs in the community to improve standards of living and be able to take care of their families.
“We established DWT last year after I realised that as widows we are sidelined from most of activities and programmes hence I thought our voice can be heard if we work together.
“As a widow, I know the pain that orphans go through. We might have social welfare paying school fees for them but no one follows up on their lives or checks on their background. That affects their future and that is why they end up on the streets yet they should be our future managers and leaders,” she said.