A Zimbabwean family based in New York, USA, donated blankets, clothes, groceries and money for transport recently for Anna Lungisani, a blind Epworth woman living with HIV, whose plight for help was aired on Studio 7.
Lungisani’s family says it is grateful for the love showed by Veronica and Bernard Domingo, a Zimbabwean couple living in New York.
Anna says she can now keep warm this winter with food to eat.
"I am happy because I was suffering very much. I didn’t know what to do. I spent the whole night thinking because I was lonely, especially these days it is very cold. They helped me because they showed they have so much love for others."
Anna Lungisani of Petworth, poses with donated gifts of groceries, blankets and clothes
Her 12-year old sister, Rachel, who handles all household chores, says the donation has given her sibling hope that one day she will be strong enough to take care of herself.
"I feel happy because now my sister can have clothes. She can have things to eat and we can wash clothes with the soap and surf you gave us. She can even eat when I am not here. I need help so that her sight can be restored. Then she can help me wash plates, sweep the house when I am at school, and if she can walk, to help me with household chores."
Lungisani, a widow, went blind at the age of 29, soon after the death of her husband. She has been struggling to survive.
Twenty-two year old Christopher Chakuchichi, who stays in the neighbourhood, said people should always respond to calls of those in need.
"I think this is a good initiative as it sets a very good example in society. It also encourages others to come forward and help people in need and it also gives the person who has been helped peace of mind so that they won’t be stressed."
Tinotenda Phiri from Banket, who uses a wheel-chair and teaches at Raffingora High School, says it is important for Zimbabweans and other nationals to donate to people like Anna, because such help changes their lives.
"We must understand that when something happens to somebody, they need their community, they need their fellow countrymen to do something. You never know one day you might be in such a situation as this lady. And you might need to be helped by your fellow Zimbabweans."
Phiri says people with disabilities should also be seen to be donating to others in Anna’s situations.
"The problem comes when people view disability as something bad. With that mentality most people try to dissociate themselves from disability, despite the fact that they might be living with the same condition. They don’t want to be part of the disabled community. It needs some conscientisation, I would call it disability education. If people are educated and they understand that they have to be there for one another, I don’t think we will be in a position whereby we are not able to help our own when we have problems."
Anna Lungisani posing in a dress donated by Marvelous-Mhlanga Nyahuye
Retired member of the Natural Resources Board, Victor Muunganirwa, says the department of social welfare should work together with the private sector and other stakeholders to raise funds for the social welfare fund. He was responding to comments by an official from the department of social welfare, who declined to be named, that they were now concentrating on assisting people in the rural areas due to shortages of funds.
"In short this means we have failed in a way. We are supposed to have assisted these people. We should get the right assistance from the government. As it is it’s very difficult to hear the government saying they do not have funds to assist these people. Rightfully so these people are looking up to the government to assist them."
Anna Lungisani poses with father and sister, wearing clothes donated by Marvelous-Mhlanga Nyahuye
His views are supported by Senator Nyamayabo Mashavakure, who represents people with disabilities in parliament, who says the number of people requiring assistance is continuing to grow.
"They have developed a system of harmonised cash transfer, which is supposed to give about 20 dollars a month to whichever family will have been chosen. Even if you are in a rural area a bucket of maize could cost ten dollars upwards. If you want to get that money you will need some transport. So the money is not that much."
Veronica and Bernard Domingo told Studio 7’s Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye, who facilitated the donation and also donated some items to the family that they shed tears after listening to a report which chronicled how Anna Lungisani was failing to access treatment due to lack of money and her deteriorating health.