‘Support needy, gifted learners’

President Mnangagwa shares a lighter moment with Doves Funeral Services CEO Mr Farai Matsika after the company pledged funds towards the ED UNZA Scholarship Programme during the fundraising dinner in Harare last night.

The corporate world, captains of industry and philanthropists have a huge role to play in the development of education in the country through supporting vulnerable and underprivileged, but gifted learners so that they have equal opportunities with their colleagues, President Mnangagwa has said.

By helping those children, particularly from the most remote areas, the President said, it will go a long way in not only improving their socio economic livelihoods, and realise their dreams but help the country to achieve its national goals.

The Head of State and Government said this last night at State House during a fundraising dinner he held for the ED UNZA Scholarship Fund meant to support disadvantaged, but deserving families with access to tertiary education.

Known as the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa University of Zambia Scholarship Programme, the funds will benefit both Zimbabweans and Zambian students in an exchange that is expected to nurture the good bilateral relations between the two countries.

The President chats with ED UNZA Board of Trustees chairman Mr Herbert Nkala (right) while vice chairperson Mrs Vimbai Nyemba (left) and other dignitaries look on during a fundraising dinner in Harare last night. — Pictures: Justin Mutenda.

“This event aims at mobilising support towards creating equal opportunities for talented, vulnerable children to have access to high quality education. It will enable our young people to cumulatively contribute to sustainable livelihoods and their overall contribution to our national and socio economic agenda,” said President Mnangagwa who is the patron.

“I therefore appeal to you all to support this noble initiative towards uplifting the quality of life of our vulnerable and underprivileged learners. No one and no place should be left behind is our philosophy. I recognise and acknowledge our captains of industry, philanthropists, corporate leaders from both the public and private institutions who have stood by the Fund since its inception in 2019.”

He said under the leadership of its chairman, Mr Herbert Nkala, the Fund has provided education for the needy and academic gifted learners from both Zambia and Zimbabwe who ordinarily might have not the chance to pursue it. 

“To date the scholarship fund is worth US$1 million,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the Fund valued transparency and accountability hence it was subjected to auditing.

President Mnangagwa shares a lighter moment with Innscor chairman Mr Addington Chinake and chief executive Mr Julian Schoken after the company pledged funds towards the ED UNZA Scholarship programme during fundraising dinner last night.

 “With regard to enrolment levels, the pioneer group had 10 Zimbabweans and five Zambian and this has since grown to a total of 49 learners,” he said.

Some of the students are at Chinhoyi University of Technology and University of Zimbabwe, while those from Zimbabwe were at the University of Zambia where President Mnangagwa did his Law degree.

The President said by leading the initiation of supporting underprivileged learners, he felt he was paying back given that he barely had formal learning as most of his education was obtained from prison where he was imprisoned for his role in the liberation struggle.

He paid tribute to companies that were supporting the children through funding and industrial attachment among other services.

Among the children was a girl picked up in Mtoko herding cattle after parents failed to raise money for tertiary education and she is now in her Third Year reading Medicine.

In terms of the 2024 academic year a total of 15 beneficiaries will be selected 10 from all provinces and five from Zambia.

Some of the guests who attended the ED UNZA Scholarship fundraising dinner at State House in Harare last night. 

“I have never been in formal school. I only went up to Grade seven which was Standard Six and we went to the war and when I went to prison the Christian council paid for our education until l left it, I was doing third year law degree when I left prison. So for me it is time to pay back,” said President Mnangagwa.

He commended Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Zambia, Charity Charamba and her Zimbabwean counterpart in Harare, Ambassador Derick Livune, for their facilitatory role.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science, Innovation and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira lauded President Mnangagwa for his vision and resolve to empower young people with education.

“If people have their brains, even if you destroy the whole city and leave their brains, they will rebuild it. This is a visionary leadership you have shown us,” said Prof Murwira.

Mr Nkala said their beneficiaries were excelling in their academic endeavours and they had since produced two graduates one of whom is a lawyer.

“The success of our endeavour to create equal opportunities for vulnerable children to access education requires financial, material and human resources support,” he said.

Another member of the Trustee, Mrs Farai Mnangagwa-Mlotshwa commended the teamwork that has been exhibited in running the Fund.


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