One of the 32 women and girls that were repatriated back to Harare from Kuwait in the Middle East over the weekend says she has received a warm welcome from her family and community and is now exploring ways of making a living.
Leah Marimira says the first meal she ate when she got home was sadza and fresh greens, a traditional delicacy she missed while in Kuwait.
Although she could not disclose a lot of details about what transpired during her stay in Kuwait Marimira said she was not sexually abused but was treated like a slave working long hours without any rights.
“The biggest stigma that we are receiving on getting back is that everyone thinks all the women and girls were sex slaves while in Kuwait but there were different forms of abuse that we faced and some of them involved emotional and physical abuse,” said Marimira.
She is also happy with the reception she and other girls received from the government, doctors and counselors that welcomed them Saturday.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the warm reception that we received when we arrived in Zimbabwe, the government took us to a safe house in Domboshava and there we received medical treatment and counseling and spent the night. We were then given money for transport to return home,” she said.
Marimira said she went to her rural home and is looking at starting a business once her situation has stabilized.
“We were promised assistance by the government who gave us contacts of organizations we can contact in future,” she said.
Labour and Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who welcomed the women and girls on Saturday, said the government would look into what transpired in Kuwait and publish a report detailing their findings.
Meanwhile, Movement for Democratic Change lawmaker Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, who was part of the parliamentary delegation that brought back the women and girls from Kuwait, said she was working with women rights organizations like Musasa Project to provide socio-psychological support to ensure that they are re-integrated into society.
Marimira is one of the first girls to break her silence after arriving home. She is glad to be safe at home.