One day in 2010 43-year-old Godfrey Mavhura, was walking in his neighbourhood, when he overheard two women talking about how the old people at Rimuka Old People’s Home were moving around begging for food.
He was deeply moved.
Mavhura had no first-hand experience of the conditions at the old people’s home, knowledge or interaction with any of the elderly in-mates when he overheard the conversation between the two women.
What he knew, however, was that society must surely have an obligation to take care of its elderly because they are past the age of fending for themselves.
Although he did not have much in terms of resources then, this did not stop him from wanting to help in whatever way he could.
Mavhura decided to take this up with the committee of peri-urban farmers.
He asked the farmers to assist, not only the old people but also
the under-privileged, with maize so that they would not go hungry.
These groups of vulnerable people were living in a society with people that had the capacity to assist.
All the farmers who were informed of this initiative willingly asked to participate, although some of the farmers were not prepared to part with their grain for nothing.
The 2010/2011 season saw the beginning of maize donations to the old people’s home, the children’s home, and mental institutions in the town. The same was repeated during the 2011/2012 season.
These gestures went a long way in easing pressure on these homes
in providing for those under their care. More projects have since been started to make sure that come 2012/2013 season the peri-urban
farmers will be able to donate more than just maize.
The initiative by Mavhura and the Kadoma peri-urban farmers is meant to ease the food situation that was beginning to loom in these institutions so that instead of using a lot of money on maize meal the money can now be used for other foodstuffs or for the purpose of
covering other expenses.
Mavhura makes a living from peri-urban farming and other small projects.
The periurban farmers tend, at most, about a hectare of land and normally harvest one and a half tonnes of maize a year. This harvest, while not enough to realise profitable sales, is nevertheless enough for subsistence and for many years that is exactly what the farmers
were aiming for — producing enough for their families until the next season.
This, however, changed in 2010 after Mavhura overhead the two women discussing the plight of the old people’s homes.
More than four homes have received maize for maize meal since the beginning of the donations in 2010. Among these are, Jairos Jiri, Rubatsiro, Tariro Children’s Home and Zimcare.
The number of farmers participating has increased from 75 farmers in the first season to 93 farmers in the just-ended season.
At least four tonnes of maize were donated to every home during the just-ended 2011/2012 farming season.
More homes benefitted from the donations than during the previous season.
Rimuka Old People’s Home, Rubatsiro, Tariro,Zimcare and Jairos Jiri Centre are among those that have benefitted in both seasons and the
donations have gone a long way in reducing the strain on their budgets.
The farmers have been given additional land by the state so that they can continue with the work they are doing for the community, since they do not have sufficient land of their own.
The fact that these are peri-urban farmers means that they are farming on land that belongs to the council and they risk it being taken away any time when council wants the land for expansion or for other use.
The farmers come together at the end of every farming season when they have finished harvesting and each farmer donates whatever they
they can afford.
There are at least 528 peri-urban farmers in Kadoma but only 93 of the farmers participated this year. They presented their donations in
the presence of the Mayor, Peter Matambo, officials from the Department of Social Welfare and Agritex.
The farmers have also started collecting money and have embarked on poultry projects so that next season they will be able to donate
maize as well as chickens, cooking oil and
Mavhura and his peri-urban farming colleagues fund this project solely out of their own resources