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‘We are a forgotten community’: Ngozi Mine residents speak out

Ngozi Mine shack dwellers have bemoaned poor living conditions at their informal settlement area, due to lack of proper infrastructure and social services. 

These remarks were made by Gideon Tshuma, the leader of the Ngozi Mine community, in an interview with CITE, Wednesday, during a four-day commemoration of ‘Ngozi Mine Week.’

The commemoration is being hosted ‘We Are One’ movement, a consortium of various non-profit organisations which are offering critical services to the community.

The organisations and various individuals identified the informal settlement area as it is faced with various challenges in terms of accessing local authority and government services.

They have all contributed to ensure that the people get food, clothes, access to health care, legal advice and HIV and AIDS testing among other services.

The community members live in shacks made of plastics and metal sheets and they struggle to get basic services such as water, education, legal documentation, and health care services among others.

Tshuma noted that the organisations have been assisting them in their various capacities since July this year, especially through the provision of food

“We are very grateful for the kindness we have been shown. Many times we live like a forgotten community and it is very difficult for us to get by. We hardly have clean water. The water we use we fetch it from streams around this area,” he said.

“I have been living here since 1994 and life never gets any better. In various occasions we have engaged the local authority to at least make this a formal settlement area but they always tell us it is not part of their plan. Some of us here are on the waiting list for houses at the council but we always wonder if we will afford to build them once we get them seeing that we are not employed.”

Tshuma said through the feeding program that has been ongoing since July, about 230 children have been benefiting, most of them being girls.

Another resident, Sheila Tshuma lamented that accessing services is a nightmare for them.

She added that that the rainy season was the worst for them as most of their shacks can barely keep strong rains out.

“When we or our children fall ill it is difficult to access health care. We go to Cowdray Park clinic which is quite far from here. This is quite strenuous considering that someone would be sick, walking such a distance is not easy. Sometimes members of the community help by pushing the sick in a wheelbarrow to the clinic,” she said.

“Our shelters are also not specifically designed to protect us from heavy rains. So when it rains like this we keep on moving our properties around to prevent them from being destroyed by the rains.”

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