CLAD in a dirty blue worksuit, Forbes Chikobvu repairs a borehole near Nhangabwe Primary School with the aid of some village youths.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The borehole has been down for a number of years leaving villagers and schoolchildren scavenging for water from other sources.
This has become life for Chikobvu, a man whose name is popular with both the young and the old through his charity work that has benefited a number of orphans and widows.
The 38-year-old philanthropist, who is a member of Johanne Masowe Chishanu Gwanzura sect, has been buying school uniforms and paying fees for orphans, while donating stationary to schools across Chikomba East constituency.
NewsDay Weekender caught up with the benefactor in Chikomba recently, where he said was orphaned as a child, hence, his passion to assist vulnerable members of society.
He said he began assisting orphans and widows in 2004 and boasted that more than 500 beneficiaries have passed through his hands.
“I started all this in March 2004. I was overwhelmed by the many struggles the orphans and vulnerable children in Chikomba were facing. Getting an exercise book and or pen was an uphill task,” he said.
Operating under the banner Reaction of Orphans Support Association (Rosa), Chikobvu, who hails from the Chirasauta area, said at times, he would do odd jobs in people’s fields to raise funds for his upkeep.
“I had to work in other people’s fields or herding the cattle and get paid a dollar per day, just to buy books and pens among other things. I also used to go to school with a mixed colour uniform and barefoot. This is the main reason why I do not want the orphans in this area to experience the same, my passion is to empower them,” he said.
The schools that have beneficiaries of Chikobvu’s generosity include Mangoro, Chirasauta, Mahoko, Dembwa, Mutengwa and Matove Primary Schools as well as Bimha Primary and Bimha Secondary Schools.
“I do not even know some of the beneficiaries I have assisted because I just tell the local leadership to look for vulnerable orphans and widows before I move to assist. I am assisted by the school authorities and the school development committees, village heads, chiefs and councillors,” Chikobvu said.
“I used to give them from my earnings and discovered that you cannot enrich somebody’s life by just giving him tokens. You enrich them by teaching him how to fish rather than giving him fish from time to time.
“So I fund income generating projects for the widows and guardians of the vulnerable children.”
Some of the moneymaking projects to fund the orphans and widows include a grinding mill at Chirasauta, and a broiler and goat rearing projects, while well-wishers chip in at times.
The widows work in groups, where they present their project proposal before they are given the inputs.
“The projects are not doing enough and well-wishers are welcome. Every child deserves a better life, and I will continue doing so for the community. I urge those doing well in towns and cities to look back and assist these vulnerable members of the society,” he said.
In Harare, Chikobvu is just an ordinary citizen, but back in the villages of Chikomba, he is a respected famous person.
To the villagers, he is a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widows.