MBERENGWA: What started as a dream for Nungai Gambiza to uplift the lives of the marginalised through the provision of school fees, food shelter and a training institution is fast crumbling following the demise of the institution’s main benefactor, Father Stoffel.
Instructors at the centre are leaving in numbers as they have gone for months without salaries.
Located at Mbuyanehanda Business Centre in Mberengwa, Bethel Msasa Home which also houses a vocational training centre is also the hope for many villagers who could not afford tertiary education in the city.
Gambiza’s Bethel Msasa home and vocational centre at its peak catered for 950 underprivileged people through provision of school fees and is now home to 13 children with no donor in sight to alleviate their plight.
A catholic by religion who has earned the name Mother Theresa of Mberengwa due to her philanthropic work, Gambiza explains the journey she travelled to construct a centre that would transform the lives of many.
“It was in 1999 when I first had a weird dream on children who needed help. At first, I dismissed it but the dream came back to me on four different occasions. One day when I was going to work, I met three children who were hungry. I then bought them food and gathered my workmates to say we had a problem in our midst.
“Lucky for me the team embraced my idea and we began to contribute as little as 50 cents from our salaries and we began to pay fees for them. It eventually dawned on me that some of these children were being abused where they were staying and thus when I approached father Herman Stoffel who sourced funding for food and shelter for the kids,” she narrated.
“We eventually realised that some would not make it at school and thus when we expanded the area to make a vocational centre. However, all this is fast crumbling as the teachers have since left since the death of father Stoffel,” she further narrated.
The death of Father Stoffel in 2016 was indeed a huge blow to Gambiza’s dream as equipment used at the vocational centre is now gathering dust in store rooms, with the administrator at the centre now hopeless.
“What is disturbing is that most of the people we enrolled here had no viable means to pay fees. We were mostly relying on the donor and now it’s all gone. Our lecturers began to leave one by one and now the centre has virtually closed.
“We had infrastructure like boreholes where we intended to utilise and put to production so that our children could have normal lives but the infrastructure is broken and we are left in catch 22,” said the facility’s administrator, Rugare Gumbi.
Bethel Msasa home and vocational centre began as an institution for AIDS orphans but had grown to become the centre of hope for many across Mberengwa district.