Isheanesu centre's tough but worthy cause

HARARE - Spiwe Kasumba has been looking after her disabled child, Munashe for the past 17 years with difficulty but filled with motherly love.

For the first five years after Munashe’s birth, Kasamba used to take her to Harare Hospital every Friday for exercises.

She described how she used to cry from sheer helplessness every time she woke up because she did not know what to do with the child.

Kasumba narrated her life and journey with her child to the Daily News, describing how she had to change the child’s nappy everyday for the past 17 years.

Life has not been easy for her living at different lodgings in Glen View.

“It is difficult for me to stay for a long time at a place because of the nature of my child’s disability.

“Sometimes she makes noises or she lapses into fits, this is usually a problem with landlords who cannot take it. I also have to wash nappies everyday and this can also be problematic.”

Harare Hospital later referred her to Isheanesu Multipurpose Centre for the disabled children in Glen View after which she saw an improvement in her child because she started to eat sadza and porridge.

“I also got peace of mind because I was counselled and made to understand that you cannot run away from your child or take it as a burden but I should bear it with love. Isheanesu centre helped me love my child more.”

She also got a wheelchair at Isheanesu centre and lessons on how to look after a disabled child.

Later on, she was employed as an administrator at the centre giving her a little income and the ability to look after her child and other children.

The Daily News visited Isheanesu centre in Glen View which is situated at Makomva Shopping Centre. 

The buildings at the centre are too small to accommodate 40 disabled children present during the day.

The playground has non-functioning equipment and its pitch is in a poor state.

It is difficult to imagine how the children would play in their wheel chairs because the ground was not even paved. A number of wheel chairs are in bad shape and staked outside the building.

We spoke to Priscilla Kachambwa, programmes coordinator at the centre.

Kachambwa has been working at the centre for the past 29 years. All the other eight employees at the centre are mothers of children with disabilities, she does not have a disabled child.

She said the centre was officially opened in July 1998 by the First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Everything seemed to be going  well during the first days of operations, but things fell apart later when property started breaking down without repairs.

“Our building needs repairs and children’s wheelchairs have also broken down. Most children spend most of the time lying on the mats because they cannot sit without wheelchairs.”

Kachambwa said the borehole is broken down. The centre currently gets water from a nearby council office.
She said even kitchen utensils and pots are damaged and could not service the centre well.

However, all is not gloom and doom at the centre as churches and other well-wishers in Glen View sometimes offer foodstuffs and visit the centre to perform different chores. Since July 1998, when the First Lady officially opened the centre, she has not returned. Kachambwa said the centre is appealing to the first lady to come back and assist them.

“We are appealing to the first lady to assist us. Since she officially opened our centre she never came back to us and we are asking for her kindness so that our children can survive better.”

On its inception, the centre also received assistance from the Glen View councillors that offered land for construction of the centre and from a number of well-wishers.

Kachambwa also called upon the nation to assist the centre.

Meanwhile, disabled children in Zimbabwe are failing to access basic human rights such as education and health enjoyed by their able-bodied colleagues, according to World Children’s Report for 2013 released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) recently.

The report shows that many disabled children fail to realise their full potential as they struggle to access basic rights.

The report notes that efforts by Zimbabwe soon after independence to improve the lives of people with disabilities were eroded by serious economic challenges after 2000.

According to Unicef as many as 600 000 children are living with some form of disability in Zimbabwe.

Comments (1)

Through the grace of God. God himself will raise assistance for Isheanesu through those people he will direct. I pray for the Will of God to be done. Thank you to those parents taking care of these children.

Collen Mhlanga - 3 January 2014

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