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Vulnerable Children Hardhit by COVID-19

In Hwange, orphans and children living with disability fell into acute poverty as COVID-19 halted food handouts from well-wishers. Image by Unsplash

BY LETHOKUHLE NKOMO | @The_CBNews | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | OCT 5, 2022

In Hwange, COVID-19 left a trail of damage, but vulnerable children were the most affected.

HWANGE (The Citizen Bulletin) — As families lost their sources of income due to COVID-19 and the global economy plunged into a recession, more households fell into acute poverty. For the poorest families, including those who do not have access to social protection, the situation became dire.

Vulnerable children living in Hwange were not spared in this predicament.

Before the pandemic, vulnerable children such as orphans and children living with disability survived on food handouts from well-wishers, but with the emergency of COVID-19, food handouts were halted.

“We used to walk from Madumabisa to Good Hope Mothers orphanage shelter in Cinderella for food, but when COVID-19 emerged, our safe haven was closed and this meant that there would be no food for us.”
Nicol Nyathi, a 10-year-old orphan who has been benefiting from Good Hope Mothers Shelter

Good Hope Mothers is a Hwange based orphanage shelter which was mainly established to feed the vulnerable children. They had a time table of feeding scheme programs, with the coming of the COVID-19 the shelter recorded a number of children who were in need of food and social protection.

“When COVID-19 emerged in 2020 we had a high number of children who came to our shelter for food and social protection from family and domestic violence; we would offer the children lunch. As the numbers overwhelmingly increased, we were left with no choice but to halt our lunch feeding schemes,” says Stella Mpofu an official from Good Hope Mothers.

The feeding schemes have been a way of boosting morale and giving the vulnerable children support.

According to a UN policy brief, children are the biggest victims of the COVID-19 as it affects their well-being and social welfare.

Ruth Bikwa the Director of Hopeville Zimbabwe, an organisation which deals with children, says COVID-19 left a trail of destruction for vulnerable children and non-vulnerable children  living in Hwange.

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“Children suffered neglect, there were a lot of cases of domestic violence due to loss of income.”

“GBV affected the children emotionally and loss of income by parents also affected the children on their nutritional well-being,” she says.

Chances of children getting diseases such as HIV were higher because with the pause of the feeding scheme by Good Hope Mothers, most vulnerable children became desperate to earn a living, and engaged in illicit activities.

“We have been dealing with cases where vulnerable children were now exchanging their bodies for any amount which is as small as one dollar or a plate of food,” adds Bikwa.

Bikwa says the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed government authorities on how their incapacitation can affect vulnerable children in Hwange.

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