By Duncan Mlanjira
A grouping of Sons and Daughters from Namitambo in Chiradzulu South Constituency, who reside in different parts of the country and contribute funds towards meeting the development needs of their community, have launched a Girl Child Education Support for 115 needy students.
Trending under the name ‘Zakwathu Ku Namitambo’, the grouping has, within three months mobilized K10 million, which has been used to pay for school fees for the next two terms, to buy uniforms, school bags and other related academic materials as well as the girls personal needs for the 115 students.
Chairperson of the group’s executive committee, Daniel Kamoto said they have also included some deserving boys in the support programme though its emphasis is for the girl child.
He said they identified needy 79 girls and 36 boys with the support of district social welfare offices.
“This is an historic occasions for us because we have taken a step further to include education in meeting some of the social development needs of our community.
“Bear in mind that in our group of Kwathu ku Namitambo, we have many learned people and we want that to be sustained so that this group should be strengthened with more financially successful members to continue our development agendas,” he said.
The group has a board of trustees headed by permanent board member Dr. Andrex Kalinde (Chief Executive Officer for SFFRFM) which also has former Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito and Kettie Namatumbo-Harawa, who is Country Director for Water For People.
Kalinde urged the students not to have the inferiority complex that intelligent people come from certain areas of the country than from Namitambo.
“Don’t look down on yourselves, you all are endowed with intelligence to succeed in your academic dreams,” he said.
“I can see doctors, lawyers, engineers and many other careers in all of you but the secret is to work hard and stay focused.
“The motto that you are future leaders is not just a slogan but is the reality. You shall become leaders in every aspect of life once you succeed in your academic pursuits,” Kalinde said.
Representing the District Social Welfare office, Friday Kalaundi said they do have a bursary system which is supported by donors and of late many of them have pulled out and greatly affected a lot of students, some of them being the ones taken on board by Zakwathu ku Namitambo.
The grouping’s other board member, Kettie Namatumbo-Harawa applauded the camaraderie that exists amongst themselves and in choosing this project, they are in line with United Nations’ sustainable development goals that targets a strong education system; enhancement of gender equality and reduction of poverty.
She said the UN sustainable development goals targets that by 2030 there should not be a girl child who is not educated.
“But for us at Namitambo, we do not want to wait for 2030, let us give our needy and deserving girls the opportunity now.”
Turning to the girls, Namatumbo-Harawa told the girls to stay focused in the dreams, saying nothing is impossible.
She urged them to fully utilize this opportunity afforded to them by Zakwathu ku Namitambo because once lost, there might not be another.
She told them to be strong in resisting to any approaches from their parents or other peers to be forced to drop out of school, opting for early marriages.
“There shall come the time for you to get married and raise families but first make sure you get well educated so that you can be independent rather than relying on your husbands.
“Let me assure you that some husbands become abusive to their wives when they are not educated. Don’t fall into that trap — get your education for you to become independent,” she said.
Since 2017 when the grouping was formed, they have done several projects such as paying a courtesy Christmas visit to expectant mothers at Namitambo Health Centre where they donated several materials for their use after baby delivery and also donation of beds and mattresses at the health centre in 2018.
It was during such visits that they were made aware of the challenges of transport that the serious patients had when referred to Chiradzulu District Hospital or Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and that spurred the grouping to take an extra mile to procure a state-of-the-art ambulance worth K12 million.
The ambulance was finally procured and donated to Namitambo Health Centre in September this year. This is a testimony that solidarity pays.
The grouping also carried out a charity work worth K3 million to the elderly and the sick in 2018.