By Style Reporter
Charitable businesswoman and farmer Divine Simbi Ndhlukula has given back to her home area of Gutu after unveiling the Mbuya Mary Simbi Library last week through her foundation.
The Divine Simbi Ndhlukula Foundation, which was formed to formalise her ongoing humanitarian work is premised on ensuring a structured and sustainable implementation of community projects in communities where she grew up, and where she currently resides as well as where she works.
“I have always been passionate about community development and charity. I am happy that the foundation gives me a better platform to reach out to marginalised and needy communities. We have a whole team dedicated to championing the cause of the foundation and we are happy with our progress to date,” Ndhlukula said.
“We have also been supporting disadvantaged girls with tuition fees and the setting up of a community library in Gutu is therefore another way of consolidating our desire to make a lasting difference in our beneficiary communities.”
For close to a decade, Ndhlukula has been paying fees for girls to proceed with school but sadly, the percentage pass rate has been too low to have expected impact.
Initial findings attributed the low pass rate to lack of access of reading material, moreso lack of curriculum relevant textbooks. Coupled with this, the Covid 19 pandemic presented even devastating results to school enrolment and attendance of the rural folks who were vulnerable even before the lockdowns.
Ndhlukula said it was that realisation that made her decide to construct a library for the Gutu community.
“It is from this background that I came up with the idea of establishing a community library in Gutu rural area,” she said.
“I met with stakeholders from the area who commended the efforts and promised to ensure that they kept this library secure and ensured that students benefited from this initiative.
“The vision is to also have a computer lab whose positive effect will lead to advancement of ICT literacy in the area.”
Chief Chitsa, who presides over the area, welcomed the initiative and encouraged the community to work together with Ndhlukula to ensure project remains sustainable.
The traditional leader’s sentiments were welcomed by Ndhlukula’s team member Masiya who said the library project would go a long way in supporting the girl child.
Chief Chitsa thanked the foundation and commended the quality investment
“This state of the art library is for the benefity of the community. It is up to us to support our children so that we improve the economic state of our area,” Chief Chitsa said.
Ndhlukula thanked benefactors from all walks of life for chipping in to make the vision of a library a reality.
“It is our hope that through this intervention, results would have improved from the ones registered in the past two years,” she said.
“The library is benefiting five schools, both primary and secondary, namely Firomumwe, Zvinavashe, Chitsa, Mondo and Machingambi.
“When you have been blessed return to develop this area. Together let’s be givers of our time, resources and gifts. Voluntarism isn’t only about money, but a little what the community of Makudo Township have displayed through working together to make this a reality
Guest of honour, acting deputy Masvingo provincial education director Hove said reading opens the mind.
“Reading opens new worlds as the theme says. We want children from this district to be innovative and find solutions to our local problems just as those children in Asia, Europe, America do,” Hove said.
“This comes from research and we thank Dr Ndhlukula and her team for working hard and for the community for accepting this gift.
Mbuya Mary Simbi Library project manager Sympathy Sibanda said the initiative will bridge the rural and urban gap to education.
“The initiative by Dr Ndhlukula is to bridge the rural and urban gap through availing the same tools,” Sibanda said.
“The library now has curriculum relevant books and in a few months we are setting up a computer lab.
“The idea is to create leaders from even the areas that would not have had access to better dreams.
“Through the vision of Dr Ndhlukula, we are building sustainability and have already introduced services like photocopying photocopying stationery sales which most schools would have to travel to a nearby Murambinda town for.”
Ntokozo Mpofu, a beneficiary of the Divine Simbi Ndhlukula Foundation bursary, now a first year student at the University of Zimbabwe, encouraged fellow girls to work extra hard and to not forget the community when they have been blessed.
“I will work extra hard and come back to develop this community. I want girls to keep going going to school and not get married at early ages. Education is the door to a better life,” she said.