By Margaret Matibiri
WOMEN in Kadoma’s Chakari constituency, which is mostly dominated by mines, have been empowered through gardening, poultry and piggery projects.
Agnes Matarirano (68) from Mopane Park, who was a housewife solely dependent on her husband’s income, is now a financially emancipated woman/wife taking care of herself and her ageing husband and helping her kids whenever they need her help.
In 2013, Matarirano’s last-born daughter returned home after being away for years with a three-year-old daughter in her mother’s care.
Like a thief in the dead of the night, she took the bus presumably heading to South Africa, taking with her the secret of her father’s child and never to return.
“My daughter left her child with me without saying anything. I had no idea where she was going, what she was doing there and when she would return if ever she will. Over the years, she has only communicated with her siblings and that is how I know she is alive,” she narrates, her eyes glistening with emotions for her lost child.
“The child she left has chest complications and requires special attention. My husband and I are both ageing and now we had a new responsibility on our hands. I kept hoping her mother would return but she has not, up to this day. I worried for the child, there were no schools close by for her to get an education.”
In 2017, the community was brought together by the Africa Book Development Organisation (ABDO) through interactive discussion forums.
The outcome was an agreed plan to build a primary school for the children who were travelling long distances to get an education.
Matarirano explains the journey the community and the organisation have walked together.
“First, they drilled a borehole at the school site and got help from the community and the army and in no time, Mopani Park Primary school was built. It has four classroom blocks and an administration block, all of which are fully furnished and equipped.
“My grandchild goes there now and it is located in our backyard. ABDO came with Maria Rhiue, of the Korea Hope Foundation and she further supported the call for women to be empowered.
“In the same year, she facilitated women involvement in the construction of Tashinga Women Action Centre, which sits on five hectares of land and now we are in the process of installing drip irrigation pipes.”
Matarirano currently has 200 chickens running under her poultry project and assisting her in funding her piggery project, which has 17 pigs.
The Women Action Centre has 32 women members and is in the process of incorporating new members to give a total of 60 beneficiaries.
ABDO and the Korea Hope Foundation also built Savannah’s Primary School in the same constituency.
It has four classroom blocks and an administration block, all of which are fully furnished and equipped, and a solar-powered borehole which helps run the school’s garden.
The community also have a 10-hectare piece of land that is currently being piped for irrigation to help members of the community.
Presently, the donors are building three classroom blocks and an administration block for the Mopani Park Secondary school as learners are currently learning from disused tobacco barns approximately eight kilometres away from Mopani Park Primary School.