“For as long as we can share what we have, the relief kitchen will continue to operate, restoring hope one plate at a time,” says 35-year-old Samantha Shingirai Murozoki,a married mother of two.
She is the founder of Kuchengetana Relief Kitchen – a Kuchengetana Trust initiative.
Samantha resides in Mount Pleasant, an affluent neighbourhood in Harare , but she has committed herself to helping the less privileged people in Chitungwiza – a dormitory town situated about 30kms southeast of the capital.
She has been in Chi-town (the colloquial name for Chitungwiza) since President Mnangagwa announced the countrywide lockdown in March. The lockdown was a bid to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Established in 1978 Chi-town encompasses five locations namely Zengeza, St Marys, Seke, Manyame Park (New St Marys) and Rockview. The current population is estimated at between 340 360 and 380 000. The majority of the inhabitants have not been spared from the harsh economic climate, which has soured the livelihoods of the general populace in Zimbabwe.
Endeavouring to eke out a living, the unemployed in the town ventured into informal businesses. The countrywide Covid-19 induced lockdown conditions involved the closure of informal businesses – albeit worsening the plight of the already impoverished residents of the town.
It was through realising the desperate and catastrophic situation that could impact her close relatives and most people in Chi-town that Samantha came up with the idea of the relief kitchen. Kuchengetana was initially supposed to be a backup plan for the less fortunate in Zengeza’s Unit A Extension.
“It was originally supposed to be a contingency plan for the folk in Unit A Extension. Never in a million years did l think l would find myself feeding thousands. But, my inspiration to help comes naturally. There is no way you can force yourself to care, to love: it’s inherent, “she said.
When her financial resources ran dry Samantha went into barter trading to get food to feed people. She exchanged clothes, snickers and other things for grain to make porridge and sadza. She is grateful for the help that she has been getting from people who have seen the work she has been doing with her team of 12 volunteers.
Kuchengetena has 12 volunteers.
On average the relief kitchen provides porridge to about 750 children everyday and 1400 adults join the children for a hot supper daily. Beneficiaries also get emergency sanitary packs comprising of 4 sanitary pads, 2 tablespoons of petroleum jelly and many other things.
***Story originally published in August