Children’s home broke


Harare Children’s Home cannot pay school fees or staff this month. This was revealed by the treasurer Adrian Watson at the home’s 90th annual general meeting recently.
Food costs $3 000 a month for the 90 children, schooling a further $2 000 and $4 000 in salaries for the 26 staff members.
The home is also failing to pay rates, repairs, electricity and telephone bills.
“Our food bill is so low because on average we receive
$2 000 in donations which enable us to feed our children properly,” said Watson, who has been managing the home’s finances for 45 years.
“Until hyper-inflation, we had sufficient reserves to be able to survive a lean month but these were completely depleted at the end of 2008,” he said, adding that the home survived on the goodwill of individuals and various organisations.
He appealed to Education minister David Coltart, who was sympathetic but said that the ministry was financially hamstrung.
While the children at the home should benefit under government’s Better Education Assistance Module, both Roosevelt and Admiral Tait schools also require them to pay the school levy, which they were unable to do.
“Four new primary school children were turned away this term because we hadn’t paid the fees for our children for the previous term,” said chairman of the home, Victor Kufahakutane.
The Ministry of Social Welfare was expected to pay $15 per child per month but this had not been paid for years. School uniforms for children also posed more problems.
There are 90 children in the home and a further three were being fostered pending adoption. The home has admitted nine children this year, re-admitted two and discharged two.
Two senior girls have moved out, one was married at the home over the Easter weekend – the first wedding there in 90 years – and the youngest baby was reunited with her maternal aunt.
Mayoress Fikele Masunda was guest of honour as the mayor is a permanent trustee, the municipality having donated the land for the home, which was built by the Methodist Church.