Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Poor Zimbabweans turn to crowdfunding

By Bridget Mananavire

As Zimbabwe’s economy crumbles, it is leaving a trail of destruction, destroying young people’s dreams and old people’s investments.

eople sing political slogans and hold placards as they march through the streets of Bulawayo during a protest against police brutality, corruption and state of the economy ©Zinyange Auntony (AFP/File)
People sing political slogans and hold placards as they march through the streets of Bulawayo during a protest against police brutality, corruption and state of the economy ©Zinyange Auntony (AFP/File)

Children are going to bed hungry because their parents cannot afford to feed them or their money is trapped in the bank.

Zimbabwe records a school dropout of over 13 000 annually according to national statics, but commentators estimate this number might have increased following the mass retrenchment by companies after the July 2015 Supreme Court ruling which gave employers powers to terminate contracts on three-month notices.

This saw an estimated 20 000 people lose their jobs. Families were left stranded and children were taken out of school.

Some of these are now turning to crowdfunding to get through school and 20-year-old Faith (surname not provided) is one of them.

After her mother’s retrenchment, the architecture student is now failing to continue with her university studies at Cyprus International University, as the family can no longer afford.

“I should be in my second year now but due to insufficiency of funds I could not register this semester. I also owe the school for the previous semester. I only have my mom back in Zimbabwe to take care of me, and she recently lost her job as a nurse due to retrenchment,’ Faith pleaded in a message on Facebook which also had a link to the “GoFund me” fundraising page.

In another plea, David Jeffrey from the United States launched a plea for the Ngoma family; husband Mike and wife Precious and the couple’s three children, whom he said had fallen on hard times as a result of the economic situation in Zimbabwe

Jeffrey who met the family while on his travels to Zimbabwe, created a crowd-sourcing fund for $15 900 for them to start a poultry project as well as finish the house they had started building.

“Like nearly everyone in Zimbabwe, life is difficult for them. Mike was last employed in 2008. Even then, he worked for a year without receiving a salary, not an uncommon event in this country. They were dependent on Precious’ salary to keep them alive. Then, on July 19, Precious lost her job,” Jeffery wrote.

“The Ngoma family lives in a (two-roomed) house (they built) some 30km from Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. The house has no running water and relies on a combination of generator and solar panels for minimal electricity.

“Their needs are several, but what they want most is help to become self-sustaining. For instance, with clean running water they would save the time needed to visit the well several times a day, and more importantly, be able to grow crops and chickens on their land.

“When Precious was employed, slow progress towards these objectives was possible, but now it is stalled out and they are asking for help.”

As a show of how desperate the situation has got, a film maker in Zimbabwe Ben Mahaka shared the story of his 75-year-old mother who has to stand in a bank queue for hours only to be told she cannot access her investment.

“My 75-year-old mother, Emily Mahaka, queues outside a bank all day to withdraw $20 from her pension account. At the end of the day a young man stands at the door and says he’s sorry there’s no money. She’s one of thousands, young and old, who endure this shame daily around the country. She has worked and paid taxes all her life,” Mahaka said in a long angry Facebook post.

“Our money is not in the banks because for three decades a clear signal has been sent to everyone with the proclivity to loot to go ahead and loot,” he said. Daily News