Lockdown: Old People’s Home falls on hard times as benefactors disappear

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By Staff Reporter

Mutare: A local Old People’s home is struggling to make ends meet during the country’s lockdown period as donor support has dried up.

Zororo Old People’s Home in Mutare’s oldest high-density suburb of Sakubva houses over 14 elderly people who rely on support from various donors across the city.

These include schools, churches, individuals and the local business community.

However, since the announcement of the country’s lockdown by government to curb the spread of Covid-19, the home has been facing myriad challenges, chief among them dwindling food stocks and funds to buy some medication for inmates.

Home Administrator, Gondai Gondo said the small institution was going through tough times as donations have dried up.

He said the closure of schools, churches and the informal sector during the lockdown impacted on their operations.

“People who used to support us are no longer coming due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The informal sector supports us but at the moment they can’t,” said Gondo, adding, “at the moment, it’s too tight for us”.

He said they were now using their own means to feed the elderly inmates.

“We need funds for medication, regular medical check-up for blood pressure, sugar, to mention a few,” said Gondo.

To sustain the home, he said, they have embarked on income generating projects such as poultry, gardening and rabbit keeping.

Mutare Ward 1 Councillor Thomas Nyamupanedengu confirmed the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on the operations of the Old People’s Home.

He said the local authority which also used to bankroll the home was in the same crisis as revenue collection continued to plummet.

“Covid-19 has changed the pattern of living for the elderly. Normally, the home is supported by local donors but due to the lockdown, most businesses were affected,” said the councillor.

He appealed to well-wishers to chip in with any support they could render during the lockdown saying it was going to make a difference.

Elderly people interviewed said Covid-19 has changed their survival patterns.

They said they feel lonely as no more visitors were allowed at the premises.

They also felt government was neglecting them as they could not afford to even buy razor blades to shave although they contributed immensely to the building of the economy during their working days.

“We feel government is neglecting us because we can’t even afford to buy razor blades to shave.

“We worked for many years contributing to this economy but look, we are in a sad situation in the absence of social safety nets to cushion us,” said Francis Phiri who migrated from Malawi into the country in 1972.