By Nhau Mangirazi
Chengetanai Old People’s Home in Chinhoyi now has a fresh look after medical insurer, Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), helped spruce up the centre and in the process putting back the smile on the faces of 25 inmates currently housed at the institution.
Chengetanai was established in 1983 by the late Florence Rudhenya Howard, who was touched by senior citizens stranded at Chinhoyi bus terminus after being dumped by white commercial farmers.
The elderly were former farm labourers from regional countries like Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, who could not find their way back to their countries of
Touched by the plight of the current inmates and in order to ensure that Rudhenya Howard smiles from her grave, PSMAS, under its sports and social committee,
raised thousands of dollars for the upkeep of the senior citizens and refurbishment works.
PSMAS vice-chairperson Fatima Chauruka said the medical insurer sourced money to buy groceries, clothes as well as materials for the office and hostels.
The organisation renovated, among others, floor tiles, roof ceiling, dining rooms, kitchen, walking pavements and also repainted the centre.
‘‘We are grateful to our team that was behind raising funds for this project. We are delighted that we are part of a happy moment for our elderly at
Chengetanai Old People’s Home,” Chauruka said during the handover ceremony.
“We are indebted to these elderlies who are part of the communities that raised us all. We, therefore, need to give back to the community through the one-good-
turn deserves-another principle of dignity and humanity.”
Chengetanai Old People’s Home programmes manager Lucky Nyanda paid tribute to the late Rudhenya-Howard.
‘‘She started feeding these elderly people by cooking food from her house in Coldstream suburb and delivering it to them at the terminus everyday. She endured
for a year and later on she sold her house, the only property she had and bought this place which is now called Chengetanai Old People’s Home within the
Hunyani section,” Nyanda said.
Nyanda said Rudhenya-Howard was now happy as her dream had been ‘achieved in a small, but big way after PSMAS uplifted the centre.
“For the record, the late founder Rudhenya was touched by the elderly who were no longer able to work on the farms. So, the package they were getting after
such long years of being farm employees was to be vulnerable destitutes,” he said.
Rudhenya-Howard died in 2015.
“Our elderly’s beds were replaced with new ones. The centre is now in good shape,” Nyanda said.
He, however, appealed for a vehicle to use at the centre.
“Water is also a problem since we are using council water that is erratic due to the power cuts affecting the whole country,” Nyanda said.
He appealed for assistance to drill a borehole so that they can venture into various income-generating projects for sustainability.
‘If we have enough water, we can start fish farming and market gardening. This will go a long way in sustaining the centre,” Nyanda said.
‘‘Accessing medicine is one of our challenges as the Department of Social Welfare. The medical aid fraternity has its limitations and our public hospitals must
Anne Mercy Senzanje, a sister to the late Rudhenya-Howard, took over as the director and secretary of the board and commented the gesture by PMSAS.
‘‘We face numerous challenges, but what PSMAS has done to us gives us comfort that we are part of the community. Some major stake holders are playing great
roles to uplift the centre,” she said.
Seventy-eight year old Mbuya Nyoni, who joined the centre in 1994, said: “I am grateful that some people think about us as some of us can’t trace our
Eighteen-nine-year old Romeo Banda, nicknamed Sekuru Kambeva, said he will be enjoying his time watching news after two television sets were donated by PSMAS.
“We are not living in isolation and will be in touch with what is happening around the country,” he chuckled.