By Decent Moyo
“On a fateful day in 2018, I left for work like any other day, unaware that this would be the
last time I would ever return home in the same condition. I departed from home and traveled
to Avondale, where I worked as a general assistant at a local school. The day started
typically, and I was at the grounds where I was working alone, I suddenly felt this intense
pain that I could not stand or move any part of my body. I fell, and I couldn’t yell or whisper;
I just lay there helplessly throughout the night, and worse off, it rained all night, only to be
rescued the following morning by the school caretaker and rushed to the hospital. That was
the beginning of the condition I’m living with now, a stroke.” Susan explained.
From this day, the life of Susan Guruve(pseudo name) changed for the worse. Being a widow
and mother of two daughters, her life took a downward turn, as she was the only person that
the children looked up to for support and guidance. Susan’s stroke left her immobile on the
left side, and this means that she is no longer able to work and support herself and her
daughters. She now relies on her daughter for her upkeep.
“My husband died in 2012, so I was looking after my two children on my own. When I
stroked, it meant that there was no longer any means of income. I then relied upon well-
wishers who would donate everything from food, and clothes to paying school fees for my
children. However, the assistance from the church ended in 2019 deepening my challenges and
left at risk of dropping out of school because of the unavailability of school fees. That is
when she was introduced to Aids Counselling Trust (ACT) by her Church Members from our
community. From this day my burdens were lightened.
ACT is receiving funding from USAID through Mavambo Orphan Care in a project called
Vana. The program has assisted her family through education assistance provided for her
eldest daughter Tanaka(pseudo name) from 2020 up to date. In addition to school fees
assistance, Tanaka has also received stationery, textbooks, and uniforms, and is in the Homework
clubs. USAID has also assisted Tanaka with exam fees. Tanaka says this support has helped
her to move towards achieving her dream of becoming an Air hostess. She pointed out that
without the support I could be home or roaming around in the streets.
“My daughter would have been married by now because she would have dropped out of
school. Thanks to the support of USAID, my daughter has been able to continue her
education without any financial burden. She has been able to focus on her studies and pursue
her dreams without worrying about the cost of school fees, stationery, or uniforms. I am
grateful for the opportunity that USAID has given my daughter, as it has truly given her a
future full of possibilities. With their help, she can continue to strive towards achieving her
goals and making a better life for herself.” Susan expressed.
Apart from the education assistance she is receiving, Susan is still facing financial problems
as she is not able to work, and hunger and poverty are the major challenges the family is
“Hunger is one of the challenges we are currently facing; if we could find food assistance, as
now we are relying on well-wishers, if I could find assistance to start projects that I can do
whilst sitting at home, like a tuckshop, it would help to guarantee food security for us. I
would also be grateful if I could find assistance to go for physiotherapy.” Susan pleaded.
Susan’s daughter is one of the 500 children who are being assisted through education
assistance under the Mavambo Vana program, a USAID-funded program implemented by
Mavambo and its sub-partners, ACT being one of them.