Letus is a 37 year old cancer stricken Zimbabwe man in Masvingo, Chivi in Mupepete village. Writing to Viomak in July 2020 on whatsapp , Letus said he has 2 children, a 13 year old boy and a 7 year old girl who are living with his wife elsewhere. The boy is no longer going to school due to lack of school fees and the girl is going to school. Letus lives with his elderly unemployed maternal grandmother who is looking after 7 grandmother including Letus . Letus has been struggling with the cancer on his foot for a long time and he struggles to sleep due to excruciating pain. The foot is swollen and has become too heavy for his body such that he cannot put weight on it thus he spends most of his time sitting or sleeping. If need be he mobilises using walking sticks or crutches that he borrow from a well wisher in the area. Letus cannot afford to buy pain stop or to pay for consultation fees to see a doctor. He needs help with meeting these costs and also bandages to cover his foot which is attracting flies. As he cannot afford to buy bandages he is using the same bandage days on end. Letus said he feels so much pain he can’t even bath himself and feels so embarrassed that his grandmother has to bath him and without gloves. The other grandchildren are not comfortable bathing him. Viomak asked Letus’ relative to check consultation fees to see a doctor and the cost of pain stop and update Viomak so that she can assess how she can assist.
This is the most challenging charity case that Viomak has been involved in as it was bogged with donor funds abuse by Girl Child Network Worldwide (GCNW), former Girl Child Network (GCN), Zimbabwe founder Betty Makoni. Taremeredzwa affectionately known as Tare is a 21 year old Zimbabwe woman in Mutare who was diagnosed with ossifying fibroma of maxilla and mandible and needed oral and maxillo facial surgery. When Tare was 13 years old she had a nagging toothache which could not go away and dental treatment did not help as her mother, Thandiwe also thought the tooth ache will go away with time. The on and off tooth ache did not disappear and it developed into an aggressive swelling on her upper left jaw. Her mother took Tare to various health facilities and tried many other healing options but the tumour continued to grow pushing her jaw out of her mouth and closing her airways. With no appropriate and effective health care in Zimbabwe her only option was to seek treatment out of the country.
It was reported that late 2009 a rural school headmistress, Mrs Nyoni in Manicaland, as well as Tare’s brother Talent emailed Girl Child Network (GCN) founder Betty Makoni seeking assistance with a fundraising charity appeal for Tare to seek medical treatment in the UK. Betty Makoni who had recently relocated to Britain after sneaking into Botswana as she ran away from donor funds abuse investigations by Oxfam Novib having abused donor funds meant for sexually abused girls’ empowerment villages, initiated a fundraising public appeal. Viomak saw the charity appeal in the media and like many other well wishers she contacted Betty to support with the charity appeal unaware that Betty Makoni had sneaked out of Zimbabwe in a rush following the donor funds abuse investigations .Viomak donated cash to the fundraising and she also visited Tare and her mother in hospital who had by then arrived in Britain for the surgery with Air Zimbabwe said to have offered free return tickets. During the fundraising by Betty Makoni who is now using Girl Child Network Worldwide claiming she no longer wants to be associated with Girl Child Network, Zimbabwe, it came to light that Viomak was related to Tare’s family from Mutare.
As the fundraising continued, Priscilla who was working with Betty as an official volunteer got word that Viomak was related to Tare and as Viomak visited Tare in hospital, Priscilla who was also present for the visit asked to speak to Viomak in a corner. She confided in Viomak that Betty Makoni was not using Tare’s donated funds for the intended purpose and Priscilla herself was not being given any volunteer allowance as agreed with Girl Child Network Worldwide and was not even having lunch as Betty withheld donor funds. As Viomak intervened she gave Tare’s mother a bank card she could use to receive donor funds and access the money at the ATM as donors had stopped depositing funds using Girl Child Network Worldwide fund raising platforms as the news about the donor funds abuse went viral. Meanwhile, Tare and her mother were stranded as Betty withheld donor funds claiming that the donor funds pot was now empty. Priscilla claimed it was all lies and she also raised the donor funds abuse with the police and the media. Viomak intervened and called for an official meeting with Betty and Priscilla. During the meeting Viomak requested that Betty send Viomak the evidence where the fundraising money was being deposited for reconciling and she sent Girl Child Network Worldwide Paypal account and Lloyds bank account statements. It was established that all monies raised for Tare were not accounted for by Girl Child Network Worldwide and by this time Tare and her mother were stuck at a struggling relative’s house in Leicester with no money for their upkeep as Betty withheld donor funds from them. By this time Tare had been operated on for the first surgery but she failed to have the second surgery because Betty withheld donor funds as she duped Tare and her mother into believing that Girl Child Network Worldwide was collaborating with some international organisations in search of a scholarship in the USA for Tare to pursue her medical studies. During this time Betty was silencing and terrorising Tare and mother not to speak to media. Speaking to Viomak days on end from Leicester, Tare’s mother said all she wanted now was to go back to Zimbabwe as she was now very stressed.
As Betty continued to personally cash in on Tare’s health crisis and using the opportunity to also work on her fame she networked for Tare to appear in a film which was later broadcast on Channel 5’s Extraordinary People. Tare and her mother finally left for Zimbabwe early 2010 as the second surgery remained a dream following the donor funds abuse. After Tare and her mother left for Zimbabwe only Betty Makoni knows how much more she cashed in using Tare’s name and situation as the family cut ties with her.
As if this financial and emotional abuse by Betty on a desperate ill woman and her devastated mother was not enough, in 2013 Betty resumed the donor funds abuse which was brought to Viomak’s attention by a well wisher. On Tuesday 18 June 2013 Betty posted on the internet soliciting for donor funds using Tare’s film as a scapegoat and encouraging viewers and members of public who wished to assist Tare to get in touch with Girl Child Network’s officials on her UK phone number or email Girl Child Network Worldwide on the gmail email .Viomak alerted Tare’s family in Zimbabwe after which Tare’s brother, Talent emailed Betty Makoni the email below,
“Dear Betty. Hope this message finds you well. We really appreciate all your efforts during the period we worked together between 2009 and 2010, your support will forever be treasured and remain an important part of Tare’s struggle. Whatever happened to make your support come to a sudden death was a bitter pill for us to swallow, this brought tears to our faces and a lot more happened but we had already buried and forgot all about it. Our concern is your recent resurfacing into our ordeal with all your aggressive publicity campaign through the various media. Where were you since 2010? We have been fighting our own war silently and without any publicity through the media and things were working out. You were once our hero but you abandoned us in the midst of the war, our silent fight took us through the rest of 2010, 2011, 2012 and now we are in 2013 without going public nor any of your publicity campaigns. If you want to re-join us in this silent fight you are welcome. Kindly note that we are not pleased with the recent publicity you gave to our ordeal without our consent or our slightest knowledge, this must stop forthwith. If you are willing to support us in this fight kindly advise us and we will be willing to work with you for the benefit of Tare. Regards Talent.”
Zacharia Mupezani is a bed ridden Zimbabwe widower who was assaulted by a police officer and burnt by a ZanuPF state agent of the notorious Central Investigation Organisation (CIO) called Chikandamuseve. After the police officer beat Zacharia,Chikandamuseve burnt Zacharia intending to kill him. Speaking to Viomak in April 2020 who she approached for help with seeking justice for her father, Zacharia’s daughter, Chipo said her father was working at the stage agent’s farm as a security guard. A bag of fertiliser went missing at the farm and Zacharia was beaten and burnt and left for dead. Zacharia who lives in Beatrice was so badly hurt he is currently bed ridden and can no longer talk or do anything for himself. The assault was reported to police but the police swept the issue under the carpet and did not do anything about it and nothing was done to Chikandamuseve who did not help Zacharia with anything. Zacharias’ family had to use their hard earned cash to seek treatment for Zacharia to no avail. Zacharia is staying with his unemployed daughter who is struggling to cope with providing care for her father due to his demanding needs. Despite that the fertiliser thief was arrested and taken to court, justice never came for Zacharia. Viomak requested Chipo to provide her with the police reference number which she should have been given after reporting the issue to the police but she was not given the number. Viomak also asked Chipo to provide the name of the police officer who assaulted her father and the police officer she reported the case to and the police station. Viomak said she will support Chipo to seek for justice for her father after the coronavirus lockdown. As Viomak was waiting for the covid19
lock down rules to be eased, Chipo’s father failed to pull through leaving a case of criminal injustice against the police and ZanuPF unresolved. Justice is certain so the case has to be pursued.
Doreen is a bed ridden 9 year old Zimbabwe girl diagnosed with cerebral palsy, impaired movements associated with exaggerated reflexes, floppiness and involuntary movements. Doreen lives in Gutu with her parents, 47 years old Levi Mutema and 32 years old Antonia Mugwagwa. Doreen was born in a family of 5 children in a rural remote area of Gutu, Chibumhe village. The mother says she gave birth to Doreen having endured labour complications of which Doreen was on oxygen for almost two weeks. She was diagnosed with brain damage, cerebral palsy. Doreen is unable to speak and is not growing normally. The parents used to take Doreen to Driefortein hospital and Harare hospital for support with her health needs but due to limited financial resources they cannot afford the costs. The family is poverty stricken and the parents are also struggling to fend for the other children, Lloyd (16 years), Dorica (11 years), Livy (6 years) and Dorcas (3 years). Levi fends for the family by doing piece jobs and also fishing but what he gets is not enough to meet Doreen’s heath needs. Crucial on what they are kindly seeking help for includes funds to cover medical costs and a wheel chair. The parents leave Doreen on the floor or carry her around which is very demanding for them. Due to the physical handicap Doreen is not attending school as there is no school in the vicinity to meet her needs more so she needs a wheelchair to mobilise.
Viomak sourced a wheelchair for Doreen, through Andrea courtesy of the Rotary foundation. On behalf of Hope for Zimbabwe Children, Viomak collected the wheelchair at Andrea’s place in Harare, and travelled all the way to Doreen’s homestead in Gutu to deliver the wheelchair. The mother was very happy that her prayers for a wheelchair for Doreen were answered as she could not go to church because Doreen was too heavy to carry on her back for long distances. The family is still struggling to make ends meets and pampers for Doreen, clothing and food for are on the list of what the family is in need of and kindly asking for more help. With the political situation in Zimbabwe so critical, Viomak has maintained her humanitarian principles and programmes to do her best for suffering ordinary Zimbabweans.
Cain is a 9 year old physically challenged Zimbabwe boy who lives with his maternal grandparents Alarm Bhobho and Agnes Bhobho in Mhondoro rural area. A well wisher referred Cain’s father, Tedious to Viomak for help after which Viomak arranged that a volunteer visit Cain and his grandparents for assistance. In a whatsapp audio to Viomak , the grandmother also appealed for help to Viomak as the family is struggling with poverty and challenges in meeting especially Cain’s health needs.
Cain’s parents Tedious and Naume are based in South Africa having left Zimbabwe in search of greener pastures as they also struggled to fend for their children and parents. The father said they noticed Cain’s condition when he was below a year old as he could not sit or even crawl as expected of any child of his age. When they consulted doctors they were told that Cain’s spinal cord is too weak to support coordination of activities such as sitting, walking and crawling. Cain was born in a family of 2 children, with him being the older child. Cain’s parents are struggling to make ends meet in South Africa and they are doing piece jobs and not earning enough money to afford sending money back home to their parents and children. Tedious continuously acknowledged that Cain’s mother and him are not financially stable and so cannot cater for Cain’s needs, including the family’s upkeep since they are not formally employed in South Africa. He added that Cain was staying in South Africa with them and the grandparents requested for Cain to be brought back to Zimbabwe to seek spiritual assistance for Cain’s condition. The family partially attributes Cain’s physical condition to acts of witchcraft as stated by spiritual advisors from their church.
The struggling and poverty stricken grandparents also live with Cain’s brother, 3 year old Abel and they also take care of Cain’s cousins Loveness and Lovemore who help with caring for Cain in addition to assisting with other household chores. The cousins lift Cain up and support him with toileting, feeding and laundry among many other day to day tasks that they support Cain with. The grandparents said Cain who was born with the disability is not able to stand up unaided, walk or sit without assistance from his cousins. The grandmother said she can no longer support Cain as much as she used to, due to old age. Sarah, sister to Cain’s mother bought a wheelchair for Cain to support with mobility. The wheelchair is very useful to Cain. Cain’s grandparents said they are struggling to care for him as they don’t have money to meet his day to day needs such as food and clothing .His grandfather fetches reeds from the river and they weave home made mats which they sell in the community to eke out a living. They have no other way of generating and raising financial capital for the family. They said following covid19 their situation has got worse as their prospective buyers have lost their sources of income due to covid19 lock down. Unfortunately, the grandparents’ cash flow is very inconsistent and not dependable due to staggered small payments and just not enough to even care for them. Cain’s grandparents reiterated that they are seeking assistance with food, clothing, and bedding and pampers and even finances for medical assistance as needed. The desperate grandmother said their situation is so dire and they have nowhere else to turn to for help.
In light of this desperate situation Viomak highlighted to the father that Cain’s situation needs the attention and care of biological parents as well especially in this case where both the parents are alive and can eke out a living. She suggested that if possible one of the parents should go back to Zimbabwe and assist the grandparents in taking care of Cain or they need to take Cain back to South Africa and take care of him since the grandparents are struggling to make ends meet. In South Africa chances of Cain receiving better medical care are also higher as compared to Zimbabwe. Viomak also highlighted to the father that from the little they are getting from the informal jobs they might have to sacrifice and visit their children as Cain’s situation is not looking good. Viomak also informed the father that the grandparents said they are looking forward to receiving assistance from her and grateful to God for sending her to their rescue but Viomak strongly feels that the parents should also take up their responsibility and start fending for their children or go back to Zimbabwe to be with the family if being in South Africa is not benefiting them in any way.
Tanatswa is a 7 year old Zimbabwe girl in Gweru who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and she struggles to balance such that she cannot sit or stand without assistance. In March 2019 a well wisher approached Viomak for help after seeing Tanatswa and her mother struggling in Gweru. Tanatswa’s mother, 40 year old Dzidzayi Mazivachipi is her daughter’s carer, and therefore cannot work as she has to care for her daughter day in day out. Tanatswa’s father, Ephison Zimbwa is a 52 year old who earns up to zw$150 which is equivalent to about us$30 a month. This money is supposed to pay for rent, bills, medication, transport, clothes, food and upkeep for the 4 family members. Ephison does not live with the family but works in a rural area called Musvosvi as a piece job garden boy so it is the mother who usually provides care for their physically challenged daughter. The family live in a crowded house and are seeking long term help for Tanatswa. Tanatswa has a 12 year old brother, Tanaka and the parents cannot afford to look after Tanaka who is in grade 7. They are struggling with paying his school fees and meeting his basic needs so Tanaka lives with his mother’s sister in Murambinda, Machingura village, Zimbabwe.
The mother said her husband and herself are HIV positive and both cannot afford to buy their own medication. She gave consent for Viomak and well wishers to know their health needs. Speaking to Viomak the mother said she is anxious, depressed and fearful of what will happen to Tanatswa in case she departs before Tanatswa. She said her legs are very painful after she reacted badly to TB medication and she struggles to walk for even 50 metres. She is always with her daughter as she has no one to leave the daughter with. More so the daughter has no wheel chair , cannot stretch her legs , and she has to crawl day in day out on the floor and ground outside .Due to the unending crawling Tanatswa’s legs are bruised and she is in constant pain. She cannot play for long with other children outside as she has to crawl on dusty hard ground which is painful and not good for her health. The mother has to carry Tanatswa on her back if they are to go out. This is very tough for the mother who also experiences shortness of breadth due to her poor health and therefore cannot carry Tanatswa for long periods of time or long distances. The desperate mother asked for money to buy a wheel chair for Tanatswa or any other equipment to aid her mobility, money to pay for physiotherapy sessions and for transport from Gweru to Murambinda hospital for the sessions. She is also looking for spacious accommodation that will meet Tanatswa’s needs and help to start a self help project thus empowering her to fend for herself and her children. She is also seeking assistance with medication, food, clothes, bedding, special school fees, uniforms, books, stationery, wheel chair and physiotherapy. Viomak is hoping that all this support will enable Tanatswa to lead a better life and will also help to relieve her mother of some emotional and physical stress she is experiencing.
Viomak assisted the family with running a charity appeal that saw well wishers, a footballer and Good Samaritan coming through to support the family as well. Together with Viomak they paid for physiotherapy sessions for Tanatswa and footed transport costs for the journeys. Tanatswa’s legs were put in plasters and one well wisher also bought Tanatswa a toy laptop, clothing for Christmas and another well wisher bought Tanatswa a wheelchair. Due to the poverty, Viomak also continuously gave Tanatswa’s mother money for day to day groceries and other needs, and continues to support her emotionally. The family relies on help from the public as Zimbabwe’s health and social welfare system is failing to cater for the needs of children due to corruption and no help was in sight for the hopeless and helpless mother until she was referred to Viomak.