GOKWE: St Agnes children’s home in Gokwe has been hit hard by the effects of COVID 19 in a situation that has seen a mass exodus of staff at the institution as it is now failing to meet part of its obligations.
The children’s home has a carrying capacity of 61 orphans and currently houses only 21 children as resource constraints make it difficult to take in more children who might need such assistance in society.
The COVID19 outbreak has made the situation worse amid indications that the institution is now failing to retain staff.
“The traditional local safety nets known to have lessened challenges of food and financial insecurity at the home have been completely eroded by the Covid 19 pandemic and its effect.
“This has increased vulnerability at our home. The home has nine caregivers who cater to the day-to-day care of our children. The rate of staff turnover is relatively high because we don’t have money to pay for their wages,” said the home’s manager, Sister Phoebe Chakadayi.
Through their reach-out programs, Telone was identified as one cooperate that came to their rescue through the provision of various foodstuffs and washing soap to the delight of the government.
According to UNICEF, available data suggest that children without parental care remain a serious child protection concern in Zimbabwe.
“Today, poverty has a child’s face in Zimbabwe. Of the 6.3 million boys and girls in the country, 4.8 million live in poverty, including 1.6 million in extreme poverty.
“Of the country’s total population, 48% are children. Most of them, 72%, live in rural areas which, on average, are the worst off in terms of health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation, access to information, and other basic indicators of well-being and quality of life. Urban vulnerability is also increasing, especially in the poor neighborhoods of big cities,” UNICEF wrote.
The trend over the past decade has not changed much. More than one-quarter of children below the age of 18 are not living with either parent. Among these children, the majority have been abandoned by their parents or orphaned,” UNICEF further wrote.
St Agnes home was established in 1980 by Reverend Canon Muyambi and was officially opened in 1992.