A local humanitarian organisation, ROOTS Africa has embarked on an initiative to hand out basic daily commodities and necessities to vulnerable groups during the 21 days national lockdown period.
By Michael Gwarisa
Zimbabwe commenced its lockdown on Monday, March 30 2020 amidst nationwide panic buying as citizens prepared for the three weeks long phase indoors.
In an interview with HealthTimes, ROOTS Africa Director, Beatrice Savadye said in as much as they welcome the national lockdown, it affected livelihoods of many people especially those who survive from hand to mouth hence the move to cushion the vulnerable during these trying times.
This initive is something that we started as an organisation because most of our work is in hard to reach areas that is farming and mining communities and we are a grassroots based organisation so we know the everyday realities that our communities live with.
“Some of the realities are that women, young people and child headed families depend on day to day activities such as selling wares, fetching and selling firewood among others. Because we are so informed about these realities, we knew that the lockdown was going to affect them heavily, for instance one of the Gogos we talked to yesterday actually said, “Ndanga ndichatofa nezara, korona yacho isati yauya” translated hunger was going to kill before Coronavirus, these are the realities on the ground,” said Beatrice.
They donated various basic food items, toiletries and other home items to at least 20 individuals yesterday and another 40 will be assisted tomorrow April 1, 2020.
“When things like crisis happens, they are some groups that we are not quick to think about that are actually heavily affected. These include child headed families, widows, the elderly women among others. Majority of the people we donated to yesterday are 60 years and above, the oldest of them being in her 90s.
“It is these elderly and also those who look after orphaned children whose parents might have died from HIV that we target. Some of the children are living with HIV so because of the inequalities, we note they are some groups that get disadvantaged by some of the decisions that we make.”
She added the poorly resourced and vulnerable desperately need a helping hand from society lest they perish from hunger during this lockdown phase.
“We were inspired to do this after noting the level of vulnerability in our communities. There are those who are not able to panic buy, they rely on day to day activities. Also being very aware that government as the duty bearer, is supposed to provide social protection, safety nets and social services to citizens, for people in this economy in this moment.
“Look at countries like South Africa, Rwanda, The United Kingdom and other have done lockdowns but they are also providing assistance to vulnerable groups that are not able to buy and stock-up food. They are being supported with food hampers, money aid but in our situation we know that this is far from reality and it’s probably not going to happen soon so we can’t let our people die when us as individuals can act as a collective to support one another,” said Beatrice.
She also called on citizens to come forward and assist the vulnerable in the communities and take care of our own people.