via Roof over head for old people by Wadzanai Madhibha for NewsDay October 12, 2013
THE Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association (Zaha), a Harare-based housing cooperative, has taken to ploughing back to the community through building houses free of charge for old people and other vulnerable groups.
Formed in 2011, the association, which is in partnership with the Allied Bank, this year decided to build houses for the vulnerable and old people in different communities nationwide.
This is despite the continuous mushrooming of housing associations in Zimbabwe, which consequently saw many such housing schemes getting at loggerheads with clients after failing to provide promised stands despite being paid up.
This has led to the loss of trust in these housing associations.
But Zaha recently constructed a two-roomed house for an 88-year-old woman from Gutu, Mazvivamba Mambeva.
Mambeva, who has been sharing a thatched hut as accommodation with her three mentally challenged children, was very happy for the house that was constructed for her.
“I never thought I would own a decent house like this and I am really at a loss of words and wish my husband was there to witness this,” said Mambeva.
They are in the process of constructing another house in Chivi North.
Zaha director Killer Zivhu said though they were selling housing stands, they had decided to build houses for old people in rural areas free of charge.
“We have people across the country who cannot afford to get decent accommodation and as an organisation we have decided to work with the local community to build at least three houses for those who cannot afford in each of the provinces we have in the country,” said Zivhu.
Asked on the criterion used to select those who cannot afford to have houses, Zivhu said they were working with the provincial leadership to identify those who are vulnerable.
“We start by engaging the provincial leadership before working with the district leadership to identify those who are vulnerable; now we have since engaged the leadership of Matabeleland North and Manicaland,” he said.
Zivhu said they were currently identifying vulnerable groups to benefit from the cooperative’s housing scheme before they start constructing the houses in November.
The former cross-border trader also said they were going to construct five houses in each district in the country for old people.
“In Gutu we have already identified the five including Mambeva, who is now staying in her house, and we will finish the construction of the other houses soon,” he added.
To Zivhu, helping the aged and vulnerable people in different communities is another way of ensuring that every Zimbabwean gets decent accommodation.
“We have these aged people who cannot construct houses and cannot even do any job; they need our assistance as housing co-operatives and we have to construct houses for them,” he said.
Ambassador of Zaha Charity Homes and gospel musician Matheus Mhere said he was working with the organisation to make sure that the vulnerable got decent accommodation.
“The Word of God tells us to help each other and we are happy as an organisation to work in assisting those who are vulnerable in society,” said Mhere.