BY GILBERT MUNETSI
Following The Standard newspaper’s publication of the plight of a Murehwa girl who lost an arm and leg after being electrocuted by a live electric cable five years ago, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has stepped in to help her fulfil her wish to resume her education.
Courtesy of Potraz’s social corporate responsibility programme, Vellah Misodzi (18) will this term be returning to school after five years of missing classes as a result of the severe injuries sustained in the near-fatal accident.
Failure to pursue her academic career was also compounded by the inability by her breadwinner mother, Monica Kaunga, to afford the fees.
Last week her tuition fees of $19 500 was paid by Potraz and she was also issued with a new uniform.
She is now enrolled at Gosha Secondary School, a government institution situated a short distance from her home.
Awareness of her challenges was amplified by an article published in Standard Style after a news crew had travelled to Chikwaka, Murehwa, for a wheelchair donation to Vellah by a local organisation called Blessed Givers Charity Organisation.
The event was also graced by Senator Winston Khupe and representatives from the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe and the National Disability Board.
Subsequent to the initial visit and publication of the story in the Standard Style, a group of employees from Potraz then sought the whereabouts of the disadvantaged teenager so that they, too, could extend a helping hand.
A Potraz official said plans were on the cards to purchase an artificial leg for Vellah to enable her to walk to and from school with more ease.
“We were so touched by the story and it never took us a vote to determine the eligibility of the girl to warrant our assistance. And when we inquired from her the priorities on her wish list, education was right at the top,” said Potraz official.
“She said she would give anything to go back to school and we unanimously agreed that helping equip her with educational knowledge was equivalent to arming her with a fishing rod as opposed to giving her fish.”
He said they would soon be handing over to Vellah an artificial leg after all processes had been done.
The elated Vellah, speaking on the phone from her rural home, said she was raring to go back to school to pick up from where she had left.
“l’m at a loss for enough words to describe how l feel right now. It has always been my dream to return to school and now that it’s been fulfilled, I’m bent on giving it my all to ensure I get a life from this Godly deed by my donors.”
Five years ago, her life was almost cut short when she tripped on a live Zesa cable while on her way home from school.
She sustained severe injuries that compelled doctors to sever her arm and leg and for three months, she was confined to a hospital bed at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
And owing to a lack of finances, she was forced to forgo both physio and psycho therapy.
However, so determined was she that she insisted on writing her Grade 7 public examinations (just three days after amputation!) while she was still in pain and shock. She attained 19 units.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing Vellah has disclosed that there has been some ground gained in having Zesa compensate his client for the damages sustained in the accident.
Though he was not at liberty to disclose the size of the out-of-court settlement, prominent lawyer Advocate Arthur Marara said they had agreed terms with the power utility, and it was just a matter of time before restitution would be instituted.