BULAWAYO – After seeing a home for the destitute being established at the nearby Thorngrove, Mariyeti Mpala, of Tshabalala Extension, felt inspired to something as well for the elderly in Sizinda and Tshabalala townships of Bulawayo.
She then went door to door looking for and registering elderly people in the two townships, which are among the oldest in the city.
“I had looked for sugar, mealie-meal that I distributed as I went along,” Mpala told ZDDT News.
“That process of identifying and locating the elderly took me about three months. I would do that during weekends, having taken leave from work. I then started gathering them together during the Fathers’ and Mothers’ Day to do something for them as a sign that we love and care for them.”
Mpala would cook and serve a variety of traditional dishes to them and her first ever such gathering was at Tshabalala Hall with the grannies in early 2000s.
Since then Mpala has not looked back.
She then approached the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare andin 2007, registered her organisation under the name: “Trace the Fortune of the Elderly”. “For now, we do not have an office but, on the one hectare piece of land that I lease from the City Council, I have dug a foundation for toilets with the office plan having since been approved,” said Mpala.
Mpala said she had plans of establishing a thriving garden at the site to feed her adopted
She revealed that a number of companies had been helping them with food handouts for the elderly, adding she had been a recipient of the President’s Fund from 2007 to date.
About 500 elderly men and women aged 65 years and above, are benefiting under the unique Trace the Fortune of the Elderly project.
“We used to buy for them some medication and groceries but now, because of the difficult economic situation, I just give them groceries,” explained Mpala. “Throughout the year, I run around seeking donations on their behalf.”