Sunday Mail Reporter
“NO heart shines brighter than a good heart,” so says one Shanina Shaik.
The above quote aptly describes United States-based Zimbabwean, Ms Mollin Ziwira, who in 2010 embarked on a journey inspired by love.
Circumstances she faced growing up inspired her to pursue a lane of selfless service to the community, especially the underprivileged.
Through her organisation, the Orphans Guardian Angels (OGA), she has assisted more than 1 000 children and continues to do so.
In an interview from her base in Texas, Ms Ziwira, said her philanthropy was inspired by her tough background.
“My passion to help vulnerable children was inspired by my upbringing. It was difficult for my mom to raise school fees and put food on the table. She worked as a maid while I was raised by my aunt who had no income to assist. I often missed school because of non-payment of fees.”
Despite her struggles, she persevered, starting out as a cross-border trader until she settled in Texas where she pursued a career in nursing.
After attaining self-sustainability, she decided to uplift vulnerable children and youths from different parts of Zimbabwe.
“Living a fairly comfortable life in Texas did not make me forget my roots. I am inspired to change the lives of children who have experienced what I went through in my childhood,” Ms Ziwira said.
Most of the 1 000 students were helped to get to high school, with some getting assistance up to college.
With public examination results out, those who excelled will be afforded an opportunity to further their studies abroad.
“We have students learning the German language whom we are planning on sending to Germany. Those with good O’ Level results will be funded so they proceed to Advanced Level,” said OGA public relations officer, Mr Tonderai Magaya, who is based in Harare.
Beyond giving these young learners fish, OGA also teaches them how to fish through income-generating projects to help vulnerable children access education.
“We are planning on reintroducing skills projects in areas we have a footprint namely Harare, Rusape, Buhera and Murehwa. The projects will be monitored by the beneficiaries’ parents and guardians,” said Mr Magaya.
Beneficiaries will be selected after an assessment has been done on the families.
If OGA establishes that the parents cannot afford basics like food and clothing, they come in.
Already, OGA has ventured into dressmaking and poultry projects with Mabvuku High School and Tsanzaguru Primary School, respectively. They are also mooting welding, fabrication, carpentry and hairdressing to help vulnerable children.
In addition, Mr Magaya said they have plans to start a vocational training centre in Murehwa to equip society with life skills so they help themselves and other vulnerable members of society.