A group of widows in Glen Norah, Harare, Zimbabwe meet regularly to cheer each other up and forget about their burdens. For a few hours a month they can leave their cares behind and have a bit of fun. Each lady has a story to tell. They have been widowed for various amounts of years, the youngest having been widowed for a year and four months. They have been left to fend for their families alone and most do not have the skill to do this. They call themselves the golden girls because deep down inside, hey are golden girls.
Several of these ladies lost their husbands and as if that was not enough, their children started dying, one by one leaving grand children that needed to be cared for. Grannies are now the heads of these households and are now taking the place of mamas and papas. With no income to look after their grandchildren and themselves it is a constant struggle to just survive. These children end up dropping out of school and the cycle of poverty continues to grow.
A few weeks ago, I met with these ladies and I asked the ladies to write down what the dreamt of and what they wish for in life. Many of these ladies have lost even the ability to dream. Immediate needs for food, water, and healthcare have taken all their focus and they cannot look beyond today. I had to convince them that it was ok to dream. I am sure they gave up dreaming a long time ago, their dreams haven’t come true in such a long time. It was touching to see that most of them hadn’t become selfish, but hoped to make a difference in the lives of others. These are the dreams that they carry in their hearts.
What touched me the most is that it doesn’t take so much to make these dreams come true. Many of these ladies just want to sew, knit, cook and make some money to help others and take care of their families. These are simple things to achieve, but for these ladies with no hope, these desires seem unachievable. A bag of wool, a sewing machine, US$50 to buy some produce to start a garden is all it takes. We can make a difference in these ladies lives and by doing this we give their dependants a chance in life and a chance to come out of poverty.
We are working with ladies such as the Golden Girls and changing their destiny. Our tools help them start survivalist businesses and get out of poverty. US$50 can help change their lives without placing a yoke around them and allows them to fend for themselves without depending on handouts.
Our programs provide simple business training, mentorship and a small loan to help them get a business going. We give them A WAY OUT NOT A HAND OUT.
Spending on public services going down again. This is the first . It is the first time that six years of consecutive spending cuts will have been endured, the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said. Some government departments may see budgets slashed by a third, it added.
I was reading a story about a mother out of work who has been struggling for the last few years, now she has to contend with less housing allowance, more vat and so on. Who knows how she will survive.
- VAT increase
- Public sector pay freeze
- Child benefit frozen
- Housing benefit cuts
- Disability Living Allowance cuts
- Tax cut for lowest paid
- Two year council tax freeze
- Capital Gains Tax increased
- Bank levy
- NI tax holiday for job creation outside South-East of England