Wadzanai Madhibha,Own Correspondent
Jairos Jiri established the centre and thousands of disabled individuals, including acclaimed musician Paul Matavire were nurtured at various Jairos Jiri centres throughout the country. To this day the humanitarian works that were started by Jairos Jiri continues to touch the lives of thousands of children with disabilities who benefit from these centres.
Guest speaker at the occasion and national treasurer of the association Patrick Rukodzi delivered a speech on behalf of the president of the association Alva Mandizvidza Senderayi and said that people must assist children with disabilities as well as donate to the centre.
“We are indeed confident that with the support of all people of goodwill, the association will stand in all activities providing the most marginalised and needy people with disabilities in the country with state-of-the-art services,” said Rukodzi in his speech.
“Let us together re-kindle the philanthropic flames which were magnificently lit by our late founder sixty three years ago and vigorously pursue the organisation’s great vision” he added
Among the guests were former students including Chamunorwa Chitakaire, a social work student at the University of Zimbabwe who urged the children to work hard in their schoolwork so that they improve their lives.
“My brothers and sisters take education seriously as it is the key to success. Being disabled does not mean the end of the world, but however, it should be one of the platforms which should make you excel and become someone in life,” said Chitaikire.
Some of the children at Southerton centre clearly highlighted that disability does not mean inability. Guests were entertained with traditional dances, poems and the Jairosi Jiri family also graced the occasion.
Ben Jiri, family spokesperson, described Jairos as a hardworking man who dedicated his life to help disabled people despite being poor.
“Jairos grew up in Bikita and he had a soft spot for people living with disabilities and from a tender age his compassion made him take people with disabilities he found roaming in the street to his home,” said Ben.
The head of the centre Margret Mukwe said that they were facing a lot of challenges at the centre, chief among them being financial assistance to sustain the running of the institution.
“Due to the economic challenges our country is currently facing, some organisations and well-wishers that have been helping us to run the centre are withdrawing and it’s difficult for us,” Mukwe said.
“The furniture and equipment that we use are very old and some need to be repaired, the washing machines that we use are domestic ones, but we need commercial ones,” she said.
The children at the centre were in high spirits as they presented some of the artworks that they made. The students are taught how to weave baskets, sew and carpeting among other skills.To date the centre has a total enrolment of 164 students.