HomeNewsOrphans protest over closure of home

Orphans protest over closure of home

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BY NHAU MANGIRAZI

THE closure of Hurungwe Children’s Home by the Mashonaland West Provincial minister, Mary Mliswa last Friday resulted in a protest by orphans at the home.

Some orphans also fled after a Chikangwe High School bus was deployed (Friday), to ferry them to undisclosed homes in Chinhoyi, a day after Social Welfare officials tried to arm-twist Karoi Lions Club to run the orphanage.

There was a tense atmosphere at the home, with the orphans hiding in the nearby fields, but later returned to the home after the bus left with a handful of the 78 children that were housed at the institution.

“The only home I know is this one, and so I can’t move out. I will not go to the new home in Chinhoyi,” said one of the children after fleeing.

The orphanage was closed down by the provincial minister after she fired two senior workers, administrator, Alison Kandengwa and matron Dorcas Kupara last Wednesday over undisclosed charges.

The home had a staff complement of 13, and had been operating under an interim board chaired by Karoi Town Council chairman Abel Matsika. Matsika’s board was barred from attending the meeting. Outgoing board secretary, Tendai Takawira was not invited to the meeting.

Last Wednesday, Mliswa held a closed-door meeting in the Karoi Town Council boardroom, where she said she was officially handing over the running of Hurungwe Children’s Home to Lions Club International.

Lions Club International Karoi chapter withdrew its certificate in 2015 citing ‘‘incapacitation to run the orphanage.’’

Mliswa told NewsDay in an interview that the meeting was aimed at mapping the way forward for the children’s home.

“For further clarification, get in touch with Takesure Musiiwa and Benjamin Chidharara,’’ Mliswa said.

But Musiiwa, who is the Lions Club Karoi chapter chairperson said: “Our sister club (Karoi Central Lions Club) will be in charge of the home. If the minister wants me to respond, I am out of the picture.’’

Ironically, Karoi Lions Club Central was not invited to the meeting.

The orphanage was established in 1999 as Karoi Women Institute Children’s Home by founder, Dinni Yvone, and was mostly sponsored by white farmers before the land reform programme of 2000. The home was taken over by the late Moses Kasimonje under Justice for Children in 2004. Kasimonje’s wife, Norma took over after his death.

Kasimonje’s wife fell-out with donors after failing to facilitate an audit at the institution. Kandengwa, Kupara and Takawira then fought legal battles with Kasimonje’s wife over non-payment of salaries.

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