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HELP THE DISABLED: Update from our second $1000-Micro-Initiative winner.

Friends of Bata started the $1000 micro-initiatives to give local leaders, grass roots organizations or dedicated individuals the opportunity to fund their projects.

Our second winner was Wellington Bakaimani who founded and runs the Simukaupenye Integrated Youth Academy in Shamva, a mining town ca 100km north of Zimbabwe's capital. Through his project FOOD COMPLEMENTS FOR MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED PEOPLE IN SHAMVA, he was able to help 30 families and 10 persons with mental disabilities. The hampers received by 30 families of persons with disabilities included 10 kg mealie meal, 2 litres cooking oil, 2 kgs rice, 1 kg salt, 500g beans, 1 kg porridge and one pack sanitary pads. Ten persons with mental disabilities are receiving a decent meal everyday from the kitchen established at SIYA Offices.

Working with people with special needs is complex and it takes time to gain their trust. Wellington and his team work with peers who help mobilise others to come to the SIYA offices for a meal. Those who are not comfortable to come and eat at the office, receive an "angel bag" with packed food, which is hand delivered on the streets where they stay. The feeding initiative is going on well. It started with seven and now there are ten beneficiaries in Shamva. Through SIYA's networks and partnerships, they initiated and supported two cooking centres in Bindura to provide food for people with mental disabilities. They are working with Moyo Wekubereka and the Disability Association, as well as local business people. SIYA shared some of the food they procured and also engaged the business community to contribute what they can.

In his project report Welligton gave us not only an update, but a glimpse of the situation in his town during this lockdown. A lot of people need food and with the extension of the lockdown situation will remain very difficult. The vulnerable are becoming more vulnerable. However, he also shared stories of how people come together in crises such as this one to help each other. For instance Wellington writes about one of his peer leaders, who is very passionate and always makes sure that everybody gets their food portion daily.

Way forward

  1. There is a need to continuously mobilise resources for food aid since the lockdown will go on for a long time, which will pose a great threat to the food security of many.

  2. Comprehensive programming is required to provide psychosocial support, as this difficult situation increases the risk of depression.

  3. Establishing a long term and sustainable plans for the kitchens we established to provide meals for the mentally challenged.

Friends of Bata is proud to support wonderful causes such as this one and dedicated people like Wellington and his team. To find out more about Wellington's work, or to make a contribution to this great cause please visit the SIYA trust website here or take a look at their social media.

All the people in the pictures have consented to the use of these pictures in any project-related publication.

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