A big dreamer and an inspired, passionate individual from Harare, Khayelitsha, Asanda Tshendu felt something needed to change in her community.
Although it had schools, clinics, electricity and proper sanitation, more was needed for residents.
In 2019, Ms Tshendu decided to establish NPO Iphupha Lam, which runs after-school programmes, helping pupils with their school work and hosting various activities.
The aim is to improve the children’s school results and their behaviour.
On Friday December 2, the NPO showered close to 72 children from Harare with Christmas gifts while it also held an award ceremony for those who have excelled in its programmes.
Ms Tshendu said she is happy that the programme is successful and now most children want to be involved with it.
“Today we have a thanksgiving to God for keeping us until now. We are also here to honour these beautiful people, children. Our children, like all other people, felt the wrath of the pandemic. They were stressed and traumatised like us all. It has not been a good three to four years but thank God we are still here. Thank God we never lost a child during the pandemic. That is why we have to also thank them for being so resilient. They have done well at school so they deserve the honour,” she said.
Those awarded certificates had done well in different programmes such as bead work, sport, artwork and academic and school work.
Ms Tshendu told Vukani how important it is for them to give the gifts to the children as they know the difficult backgrounds some of them come from.
“We have a bunch of dedicated teachers and children. We owe it to them all to honour them. It is encouraging to all to get something after hard work. We also have friends and organisations that always support us. We are also grateful to them. Our partners donated a lot including the cakes that we have today, clothing, toiletries and many other things. We value each and every contribution,” she said.
Guest speaker Thando Ndlovu made a call to parents to take care of their children and guide them. In praising the work done by the organisation, he said the future of the children was not only in teachers’ hands but the responsibility of everyone.
“This is our future. Let’s nurture and protect it. If you do that, you are not only doing it for yourself but for the country and the world as well. As parents we ought to take care of these children. There is bullying, kidnapping, human trafficking and many other challenges out there. It is up to us to protect them,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Mr Ndlovu lashed out at young parents who go out to have fun and leave their children alone.
He also made a call to bring back the spirit of ubuntu.
“Let’s support them in their dreams. But you cannot go to the fun places until midnight while saying they should be good. Children deserve to be loved and protected. Let’s bring back the spirit of ubuntu when we used to say it takes a village to raise a child. But as parents we are failing them.”
The event brought smiles to the children. In delight, they sang and danced. Each took something home.