Kuchengetana Trust Serves Over 300,000 Meals to Less Privileged in Response to COVID-19; Founder Shares Her Story

In the Bible, we read of Tabitha (or Dorcas). She was a charitable woman who used her few resources and abilities to help the poor. She was compassionate and had tender mercy (Acts 9:40-43).

Chitungwiza, a small town that is approximately 26 km from Harare’s central business district, now has its own Tabitha by the name of Samantha Shingirai Murozoki. She has always been keen to help the needy from a young age. Now she is assisting the less privileged who are failing to put food on the table or clothe themselves properly during this COVID-19 era. This is her story:

My name is Samantha Shingirai Murozoki, aged 35. I am a mother of two boys, but I have always had the vision of having a big family. I was born in Bulawayo and though my parents later divorced, they taught me a lot about love and they have always been helping people.

I grew up in a family that was stable financially and always felt that from the position where I was, I could make a difference. For example, helping a classmate who could not afford stationery or did not have a jersey [sweater]. I always felt compelled to help.

Every other day, I got in trouble with my parents as I would take things from home and go and give my friends who were in need. People ended up locking away their belongings knowing I would give them away.

I am always affected by the plight of people and I feel obliged to attend [to] or fix their problems. It might not be possible to do it all the time, but I try.

In trial you find results, either negative or positive. If they are negative, you find ways to polish them up so that in the end you find a better way to do things or better route to take in order to attain success. I always try my best in every situation to assist. Even in a situation where I do not have the particular solution, I try and bring it through someone else.

Being the middle child comes with a lot of controversy. We always feel we are the forgotten ones and are always up to no good just to get attention. So for me, whatever I do, I give it my all. I try not to be forgotten because the impact we leave in the world will serve as reference for someone else that wants to take up the challenge.

Growing up in a family where parents are broken up is the worst thing ever, but it literally is the reason why I ended up in Chitungwiza assisting people. So indirectly, God was paving a way for me to bring that small solution that I brought to help people that are struggling to feed themselves or clothe [themselves] during this lockdown.

I was introduced to Chitungwiza when I was in Form 2 [Grade 9] when my mother built a house here. I made ties with people here and wherever I go, I make sure I communicate with them.

I came to a point where I could relate [to] and empathize with them because you cannot really wake up and see someone you know by name and let them go hungry when you have a little bit of food in your house. To me that would have been the greatest atrocity of all. So, I am here today because of the upbringing from my parents enforced in me.

Kuchengetana (Shona for “taking care of each other”) Trust started over three months ago. It started off as a contingency plan for a few individuals from Unit A extension. I wanted to help people that I knew by name and I was familiar with and it didn’t take much planning.

I was expecting 15 people on the first day, but I ended up feeding 24. The second day it was 47, then 86, and the numbers kept doubling. Now we feed about 2,200 people for supper and 950 children in the morning, so that’s an average of 3,100 people per day.

The main focus of the trust is to make life easy during times of crisis – like right now we have COVID-19, and people are not able to make ends meet. Most people who come are informal traders, their children or parents who are one way or the other affected because we are trying to observe regulations to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. It is understandable, but at the same time, hunger is actually soaring.

I am not even feeding enough people right now. There are people who walk over 25 km. Some come from nearby rural areas (Seke), walking all the way to get food. I know that a lot of people who are in need of food but are not able to come through to me. It would be great if someone came up with the same concept in a different area to cover ground.

I have had people call from other parts of the country like Gweru, Harare, asking if we can assist them. I would love to impart knowledge or assist a start-up kitchen as long as we follow regulations. I would gladly jump to assist or establish a relief centre somewhere where people can get assistance for different needs at different times. Franchising will be a dream comes true for us.

At Kuchengetana Trust we do not turn anyone away. We are not screening per se. Anyone who cannot put food on the table is welcome to get a meal simply because the lockdown has affected the financial standing, even of those that are able-bodied and those that have been able to go to work all along.

No one is too rich or too poor to be served. As long as it has been a difficult day(s) for you, you can come through. We are just here to make sure everyone sleeps after getting a meal each day.

Now that the trust has been officially registered, I have managed to sit down and work on a strategic plan. I hope to continue to assist whenever necessary, say an emergency comes up or an ongoing crisis within a family.

My main motive however, is to create a self-sustainable environment for each and every able-bodied person. There is nothing as uplifting as a person being able to provide for their family because I believe handouts are very humbling. [You] wish you could earn something for yourself. So, I want to come up with social development projects that will empower and hopefully enrich the recipients.

If a society of happy people is empowered with skills and the know-how to be able to generate income, they will in turn influence a happy economy. A happy economy is an economy that will cater for its people and the populace will be in comfort, not too rich and not too poor either. There should be moderation in life, and I feel that if people are empowered to go and fish for themselves, it will be an on-going and never-ending source of empowerment.

I just want us to be able to fight the poverty that is going on, to fight the gaps in classes. It should be normal for people to access basic services like healthcare and to be able to access jobs. That is why entrepreneurship will be at the helm of our plan. It’s a long dream, but hopefully we will get there.

When Samantha started Kuchengetana Trust, she was funding it herself, but right now they are solely reliant on donations to keep the kitchen running. People donate what they have from groceries to firewood to protective wear to cash and even labour. Kuchengetana Trust is living up to its name and to date has served way over 300,000 meals in addition to clothes and shoes handed out.

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