Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has embarked on a community awareness programme to educate Bulawayo residents on their rights.
The organisation reached out to residents in Ward 13 who were taught about their rights as enshrined in the country`s constitution.
Ms Judith Dube programs officer for ZLHR said due to ignorance of the law, most people do not know who to approach when they have issues that they want addressed.
“In most cases people relay the wrong concerns to the wrong people,” she remarked.
“When residents hold meetings with their MPs they usually raise concerns they are supposed to give to their councillors, issues of service delivery.
“It is important to know your constitution and rights so you may tell the MPs the laws that you wish to have amended.”
She also emphasised the importance of acquiring legal documents such as birth certificates and identity documents.
“When one gets a birth certificate they become recognised in the country,” said Dube.
“This enables service providers and policymakers to make provisions for the correct number of people in various areas.
“Ignorance of the constitution often makes people prone to having their rights violated”.
She added: “Children are chased away from school or have their results withheld over non-payment of school fees. Some ailing patients get turned away from health institutions because they do not have money to pay to acquire services. All this is a violation of rights. When you suffer such and cannot stand for yourself you can approach us and we help you in every possible way.”
Sehlule Nkomo, a resident said the knowledge impacted on them has really empowered them to exercise their rights fearlessly and solicit for assistance for free whenever the need arises.
“We are very grateful for such platforms. There are situations where pregnant women are referred elsewhere for delivery all because they wear small shoe sizes. At least now we know where to get help under such circumstances,” she said.