Growing up in a broken family is a thorn in the flesh for many children as this exposes them to the vagaries of life and society. Children whose parents have divorced or separated experience violation of their rights and in most cases fail to get what is necessary and basic for them. Some can actually grow into adulthood without basic documentation like birth records, birth certificates, or identity cards. This can negatively impact their well-being as members of society while in other circumstances, they cannot participate in issues that affect them because of lack of important documents.
Nyasha Todyana*, born in 2004 is a victim of such circumstances who had abandoned school when her parents divorced. She had no birth certificate and had prematurely ended her education. This was coupled with the fact that Nyasha’s mother had remarried and could not afford school fees for her to continue with her education after Grade 7 in 2017. Nyasha was left with no option until a relative took her from Mutoko to Harare where she would become a domestic worker.
One day as Nyasha was fetching water at St. Fidelis Parish in Mabvuku, she met with a challenging question from the groundsman who asked her why she was not in school to which Nyasha responded that she did not have money for school fees.
The man then referred me to Mavambo Orphan Care (MOC) where I explained my situation and immediately got enrolled into Grade 6 at Mabvuku Learning Centre.
A challenge came when I was asked to produce a birth certificate so that I could register to re-write Grade 7 examinations. I told her that I could not secure a birth certificate as my parents had divorced, said Nyasha.
Nyasha’s situation prompted MOC to contact her parents whom it supported with bus fare to come to Harare to process their daughter’s birth certificate and identity card. Nyasha appreciates the strides done by MOC in assisting her to secure a birth certificate and the national identity card and for continuously supporting her educational needs. The courageous Nyasha is eager to learn and she is now bold enough to say ‘nothing will stop me to sit for my Grade 7 examination this year as I have acquired the required documentation,’ says the soft-spoken Nyasha.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 81 (C) (ii) stipulates that every child born in Zimbabwe; or born outside Zimbabwe and is a Zimbabwean citizen by descent has a right to a prompt provision of a birth certificate. The same Constitution emphasizes the right to education, health services, nutrition, shelter, and other rights for children. These rights are often overlooked or neglected in many families and situations resulting in many children becoming vulnerable.
Nyasha, whose dream is to become an engineer, said her parents’ divorce greatly affected her and continues to haunt her whenever she sees other children being taken care of by their parents. However, she receives psycho-social support sessions through the Putting Children First a CAFOD funded project. Nyasha considers Mavambo to be a pillar of support for vulnerable children by taking good care of them and making sure that they realize a bright future.