Zimbabwe: Shattered Dreams for Orphanage Home Founder

Midlands Bureau

She sits perilously on a boulder, her grey-haired-noggin nonchalantly resting on her ageing palm.

At the age of 86 Gogo Nungai Gambiza of Mbuya Nehanda area Mberengwa casts a figure of an inundated soul.

She is taking a breather, overlooking a small piece of land she has just been cultivating. Emotion overcome her as she searches for solutions, deep within, far and wide and the answer is just not there.

A combination of sweat and tears flows down her face and drips off her chin. Her thoughts are wet. In her wiry and hairy slim frame, she looks so tired and sapped out of all the energy.

Behind her is a massive orphanage and vocational training centre she founded back in 1999.

The orphanage home, Bethel Msasa Home and Vocational Centre which used

to employ 13 lecturers while sheltering over 30 orphans from around Mberengwa is a pale shadow of its former self.

Lecturers have deserted the institution due to non-payment of salaries.

Only 13 desperate orphans are still at the institution with the majority having deserted the institution due to hunger and instead opted to be street girls and boys scavenging for food at the nearby Mbuya Nehanda Business Centre.

The task to continue running this beautiful orphanage home – which has also turned out some fine professionals through its vocational centre department, is becoming a tall-toll for the ageing for Gogo Gambiza.

She says the home is giving her sleepless nights as she now fails to keep it running following the death of the home’s benefactor, Father Herman Stoffel a couple of years ago.

Gogo Gambiza says the dreams to revive the home were even dealt with a huge blow following the death recently of the area senator and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Sibusiso Moyo.

Dr Moyo who was taught grade 5 and 6 by Gogo Gambiza at the nearby Masvingo Primary school had promised to help revive the orphanage home by following Father Stoffel’s footsteps and passion to help the needy.

A Swiss catholic priest who had spent years in Mberengwa, Father Stoffel would, according to Gogo Gambiza, go and source funds back home for the cause of the orphanage home, the two had established a unique orphanage home in the rural Mberengwa before they introduced a training centre at the same institution which used to employ over 13 teachers.

“Father Stoffel unfortunately died a few years ago and this resultantly affected the funding of the institution and today it’s in a sorry state of its former self and it pains me.

Gogo Gambiza says Dr Moyo’s pledge to revive the home had ignited some renewed hope but his untimely death recently could have signalled the final nail on the orphanage home’s coffin.

She chronicled how she started the home and how the late Father Stoffel helped her to establish the dream home.

She also recalls father Stoffel wanted to be buried at the home where he had also become a carpentry lecturer but the Catholic rites would not allow him his dream.

“I started teaching in the late 1950s and during my teaching years, I would come across very bright boys and girls who could however not proceed with their studies due to their poor backgrounds.

“I later came up with an idea of setting up an orphanage home and presented the idea to the Father Stoffel who was a local Roman Catholic Priest.

“He went back to Switzerland and presented my idea to some donors and from there this orphanage home was born.

Gogo Gambiza said the home then later grew and established a vocational entre where many people trained different technical skilled before graduating

“The home became so famous and we later decided to established a vocational centre and the funds were being sourced by Father Stoffel.

This was when I decided to retire from my teaching job to become a full time matron at the home in the year 2000,” she said.

A former Primary school teacher who taught many fine brains among them the late Dr Moyo and Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Marshal Elson Moyo, Gogo Gambiza says with the age now taking its toll on her, and funds having dwindled, the home was now facing an imminent collapse.

She says she met the late former Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Moyo late last year and he promised to work on reviving the home.

She said she was devastated by the death of Dr Moyo and was now looking up to the heavens for the home’s funding.

“The dreams have been shattered, the death of Dr Moyo has just came as a huge blow, he had promised to assist in sourcing funds for the revival of this institution but death had other plans,” she mourned

Gogo Gambiza said the vocational training centre which had three departments, the clothing and textile, carpentry and catering had all the equipment which was now gathering dust.

“The Vocational centre was well furnished and all the equipment is now gathering dust, we don’t have teachers I can’t pay them,” she said.

The Vocational centre administrator, Ms Rugare Gumbie appealed to Government to assist in reviving the institution.

“We have all the equipment most of which was shipped into the country by the late Father Stoffel and we only need funding.

We used to have over 50 students but they were paying insignificant funds because the priest would source funds but unfortunately, he had not connected the institution to the funders when he died,” she said.

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