- The women’s group in the Mutare District of Zimbabwe has established a scholarship program to provide educational opportunities to underprivileged children.
- During the women’s district conference, urban and rural circuits highlighted the positive impact the program has on the community.
- The Rev. Togara Bobo, connectional ministries director, commended the efforts of the women and emphasized the church's ongoing commitment to uplifting the marginalized.
The women’s organization of The United Methodist Church’s Mutare District is celebrating its commitment to education and impact on the lives of marginalized children in Zimbabwe.
During the women’s district conference, urban and rural circuits reported on the group’s accomplishments in establishing scholarship programs and providing educational opportunities to underprivileged children.
The women emphasized the crucial role the church plays in shaping a brighter future for disadvantaged youth.
Senior Makono, chairperson for the women’s group, highlighted the positive impact of the scholarship programs on local communities.
“Most children are in school because of scholarships. There are a number of parents, both from rural and urban settings, who are failing to raise school fees for their children. Some of the children may be orphans or vulnerable, and the guardians may be overwhelmed with other responsibilities,” she said.
The Rev. Togara Bobo, Mutare District connectional ministries director, commended the dedicated efforts of the women and emphasized the church's ongoing commitment to uplifting the marginalized.
He said one of the pillars of United Methodist theology is the use of reason or critical thinking. “By so doing, we strive towards empowering people through education,” Bobo said. “Education has the power to enlighten and empower individuals, and that is the foundation of our scholarship program.”
Itai Chitora, a beneficiary of the Mutare District Women Scholarship, emphasized the transformative power of education, particularly for girls in a society where they may face unique challenges.
“It is clear that education is power, especially for the girl child in Zimbabwe. When one gets educated, that individual is empowered, and for girls, this empowerment is particularly crucial,” Chitora said. “When girls are empowered, even in marriages, there are fewer cases of gender-based violence.”
Reflecting on her life as a village girl raised by a single parent, Chitora said the scholarship not only empowered her but also provided her with a new sense of hope. She emphasized that educating a girl is educating a nation.
“If I did not receive this scholarship, I could have been doing piece jobs in the rural homesteads and herding cattle to generate income or even got married,” she said.
Like other recipients before her, Chitora said the scholarship has inspired her to become an agent of change in her community and work toward uplifting others through education.
“I am truly grateful for the help and love I have received from the church,” she said. “In the future, I wish to give back and create an organization that helps underprivileged children access education.”
Through the scholarship, Chitora is in her third year studying Development Planning and Management at Midlands State University.
The scholarship program not only provides financial assistance but also encourages a sense of determination.
“The scholarship program’s success in guiding students to tertiary education has empowered them to break free from poverty, instilling hope and self-belief as they face life's challenges," said Lizzie Zvinoera, evangelism vice chairperson for the Mutare District women’s group.
The reports during the district women’s conference showcased the establishment of scholarship programs, community-driven support systems and the efforts of volunteers in ensuring equal access to education for all children, regardless of their backgrounds.
The Rev. Tendai Makono, Mutare District superintendent, highlighted the church's role in supporting educational opportunities for the underprivileged.
“One of the responsibilities of the church is to reach out to the less privileged. It is our duty as a church to see that those who are failing to go to school due to lack of resources are educated,” he said. “This is why almost every circuit in our district is sending children to school, especially those who are less privileged.”
The Mutare District women’s commitment to education aligns with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
By investing in the education of marginalized children, the district is actively contributing to the development of a more prosperous and equitable society, Makono said.
Zvinoera said the Mutare District women’s organization remains dedicated to its mission of fostering education for all, guided by the belief that education is not only a means of knowledge acquisition but also a powerful tool for social change and empowerment.
With each scholarship granted and every child supported, she said, the Mutare District Women are paving the way for a brighter future with more gender equity in Zimbabwe.
Muzerengwa is a communicator for the Zimbabwe East Conference.
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