Social Welfare Minister Supports JCF
THE festive season always brings a huge dosage of joy, especially to children, as they often view it as a time for receiving gifts, eating plenty of good food and having fun with friends.
Unfortunately, they are many children who, owing to a multiplicity of factors, often find themselves with nothing to smile about as the festive season, climaxing in Christmas day, does not bring any change in their life fortunes.
These are children living and working in the streets and those who have lost their parents and there is no relative willing to take them in.
But as per tradition, the Just Children Foundation (JCF) in December last year held Christmas parties for the children under its residential care programmes at Faith & Hope Centre in Harare and Come Unto Me Centre in Karoi.
The children had a time of their lives as they partook of good food, games and entertainment, making the day worth remembering.
The JCF believes that the fact that these children are out of their homes does not mean their Christmas celebrations should be pale in light of those that children living in families have.
The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Paurina Mpariwa, who was the guest of honour at the Christmas party at Come Unto Me Centre commended the JCF for the work it was doing, saying that government needed such partners in looking after disadvantaged children.
She described the work of such organisations as a huge relief on an over–strained government.
“As government, we can’t go it alone because of financial hamstrings, but we are able to sleep soundly knowing that we have partners such as the Just Children Foundation. Without you, where would all these children be?” Mpariwa remarked.
She added that she was moved by the fact that the majority of children at the centre were girls, who were more vulnerable than boys owing to a number of factors.
“I’m happy that most of the children here are girls. In most cases women and girls are the victims of abuse,” she said.
Some of the children said they understood that the meaning of Christmas went beyond eating and drinking, as it was meant to celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.
“These children have been given an opportunity to grow well and they will be tomorrow’s leaders as their talents are being improved through the skills that you’re imparting to them,” Mpariwa said.
She added that skills brain drain had to be reinvested through those children.
The minister presented as assortment of Christmas gifts to all the children at the centre. Guests who included members of the community in Karoi were entertained by the children who showcased their acting and singing talents.
Givemore Munyanyi, the Managing Director of Innscor Africa, who was the guest of honour at Faith & Hope Centre commended the work the JCF was doing, and pledged to assist the organisation in future.
He observed that it was important that there were organisations looking after needy and disadvantaged children.
He urged the children at the centre to have big dreams for the future as someday and not allow their circumstances to prevent them from going far in life.
He said his company had a number of corporate social responsibility programmes through which the JCF would become a beneficiary.
While Faith & Hope Centre has an average of 55 children at any given time, Come Unto Me Centre is home to 65 children, although the number occasionally fluctuates as some children are reunited with their families and others come in.