A high school teacher who left her job to pursue her passion for taking care of vulnerable children has earned her international recognition after she was nominated for the Global Woman of Choice Award.
Nokuthula Gavaza (32) who runs Unathi Children’s Trust which is based in Bulawayo was nominated under the category of Women and Children alongside one from Nigeria and another from Israel.
The awards focus on mainstreaming achievements and accomplishment of everyday women and recognizing the bold attempts they made to make the world around them a better place.
In an interview with CITE, Gavaza said the organisation came into existence in November 2019 while the feeding program started in March 2020 during the first Covid-19 induced lockdown and she chose Insiza because it is a mining community with a lot of children who are subjected to child labour, exploitation, malnutrition and early child marriages.
“Some of the children in this community come from vulnerable families. We figured most of these children are driven into predicaments so just to fill their stomachs. Through this program we help to raise awareness against these issues,” she said.
She explained that due to the lockdown regulations, mobilising resources has not been easy for her but well-wishing individuals and companies have assisted her.
“I am grateful to everyone who has extended an assisting hand to this project. We are still far from achieving our target and vision but at least we are in the right direction. At the moment we are feeding only 200 children. The target is to cater for 200 000 children by 2023,” said Gavaza.
She noted that while she practised as a teacher, she realised that her passion to help children was limited to the education aspect only, without access to helping them socially and economically.
Gavaza said the international recognition has rejuvenated her to do more for vulnerable children.
“This nomination has made me realise that my work is not in vain, actually it is a challenge because now I know I should work way harder than I have been. It will help us to get recognised by donors from across the globe and will help us to identify more vulnerable children who need our assistance. We intend to grow from being a provincial organisation to a national one.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)