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Florence Mudzingwa is the Disability Champion Empowering Young Girls in Zimbabwe

By Alois Vinga

"Being a woman born with a disability I could relate to the challenges women and girls with disabilities face that drove me to establish the organisation". - Florence Mudzingwa (Photo: New Zimbabwe)

In a country where able-bodied youngsters with every opportunity to make a difference are increasingly giving up hope and resorting to illicit addictions like drug abuse, Florence Mudzingwa never looked at her condition but instead grabbed every opportunity to make the best out of it.

The disability champion did not choose what she is but was lucky to have a supportive mother beside her who gave her the much needed emotional and moral support.

"I did not face any challenges in primary school because the school I attended, St. Giles Primary School, accommodated children with disabilities only. Therefore I did not feel any different. The only challenge was with my disability because I was born with brittle bones". "So I had to be careful of how I did things. If I fell or had any slight accident, I would easily get a fracture on the leg or arm," she said. Mudzingwa studied so hard for her primary education and attained 10 units at Grade Seven, a performance just enough to qualify someone into the first class at Form One. She proceeded for her secondary education at George VI Memorial in Bulawayo and completed her Ordinary Level. "At this school, a person could only write five subjects with female students taking up home management while males did biology but I chose to do both. The reason was because I was weak in mathematics so this strategy then helped me to attain five Ordinary levels. "The subjects I excelled in were Human and Social Biology, English, Integrated Science, Home Management and Commerce," she said. Challenged to reveal what exactly kept her going, the disability champion said it was just "The love and support of family. They made me believe that I can be anything in life as long as I work towards it." Taking advantage of the inclusivity model offered by the country's leading Distance Education institution, Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) ,Mudzingwa proceeded to enroll for a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree In Counselling. "I got to know about the ZOU when they showcased at a Disability Expo which is organized each year by the Office of the President and Cabinet. The only challenge I experienced when I started was that we had to submit our assignments physically because the building was not wheelchair friendly. "The coming on board of the My Vista platform used for assignments submissions at the University made the submission of assignments electronically easier," she said. Unlike the aspiration of most youngsters of today who tirelessly scavenge for jobs after completing their studies, Mudzingwa proved she was not that kind after proceeding to establish social enterprise, Hope Resurrection Trust HRT, a Non-Governmental-Organisation which seeks to instill , build confidence and self-esteem in the girl child to motivate them to contribute to their personal and national development economically. "Being a woman born with a disability I could relate to the challenges women and girls with disabilities face that drove me to establish the organisation. The girl child with a disability is marginalised in society, often bringing in a sense of hopelessness. "They often face triple jeopardy being disabled, their gender and unemployment. The Trust is therefore set out to empower and resurrect hope in the girl child with a disability to allow her to realise her potential and the impact she has in her community and society as a whole," said Mudzingwa. Since formation, the organization has worked in partnership with the Australian Embassy, Canadian Embassy. Other local organisations the organisation has partnered with are Alive Albinism Initiative and Deaf Zimbabwe Trust while they are also a part of the Zimbabwe Cares Network Group. Princess Marufu, a beneficiary of the HRT's work said she managed to gain understanding on how a woman can empower herself through the organisation's works. Founder and Director of Kites for Peace, Suraiya Essof described Mudzingwa's impact and works as amazing. "Her energy for her specific cause and her willingness to assist fellow community organizations in Zimbabwe across various causes. She has an open view to working in the community space- where we believe our success is incomplete without the success of others. "She has been a valuable asset to the ZCN and provides support and advice as needed, willingly and without hesitation. This is a huge boon to the networking aspect of our organization," she said. She added that her work has been invaluable to the girl child who faces physical challenges.

Source: New Zimbabwe


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