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SIDA pledges continued support for child rights project in Murehwa
Taurai Maduna,
February 24, 2006

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Motorvehicle and two motorcycles donated to the SAHRIT child rights project in Murehwa.
Motorvehicle and two motorcycles donated to the SAHRIT child rights project in Murehwa

"The people of Murehwa should tell a thing or two to the people in Harare and Bulawayo who are detaining children." These were the words of the newly appointed Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Sten Rylander during a hand-over of a vehicle and two motor bikes for a community child rights project in Murehwa District, 85 km North East of Harare.

Mr Rylander's remarks were in direct reference to the arrest of 420 women and 19 babies during the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Bread and Roses Valentine's Day demonstration.

Mr Sten Rylander speaks to Prof Walter Kamba and Emma Gweshe from SAHRIT

The Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT) has been implementing a community child rights project since the early 1990's under the support of the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA). The project is being implemented in wards 1, 14, 20 and 21.

Speaking at Murehwa Training Centre, the Swedish ambassador assured the Murehwa community that his Government was fully aware of the present problems and challenges facing Zimbabweans and that they would not abandon them. "We have committed substantial resources to alleviate the human suffering and ensuring that children enjoy the full benefits of education," said Mr Rylander.

In his closing remarks, Mr Rylander urged the Murehwa community to be focused in their work and remain as a shining example to the nation. "I also applaud your strong and consistent determination to stay focused on what you have set out to do, refusing to be bogged down by petty politics and political rivalries," the Ambassador said.

Headman Sihute warns the community on the misuse of the donated motorvehicles.
Headman Zihute warns the community on the misuse of the donated motor vehicles

The SAHRIT-Murehwa community project is one of the beneficiaries of the nearly two million United Stated Dollars (US$2mill) that SIDA has allocated to programs targeted at promoting the rights of children.

An elated Headman Zihute representing Chief Magwende at the ceremony urged the community to shun corruption. He said the drivers of the motor vehicles should not carry their girlfriends. He drew loud applause when he announced that the motor vehicles should not carry him if they met him on the road.

Emma Gweshe, the Programmes Manager at SAHRIT said the community based project that her organisation is running in Murehwa is aimed at empowering the community to take responsibility for the promotion and protection of the rights of children. Listen to audio

She added that the project is being implemented through community-based initiatives such as child protection committees in villages.

Emma Gweshe from (SAHRIT) and Keziya Chikwati who has benefited from the (SAHRIT) educational assistance.
Emma Gweshe from SAHRIT and Keziya Chikwati who has benefited from the SAHRIT educational assistance programme

SAHRIT has also assisted the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) with educational assistance. Keziya Chikwati is one of the beneficiaries of the education assistance given to children in Murehwa. An excited Ms Gweshe said she was so proud of Keziya who has just passed her 'O' Level examinations, attaining 2B's and 5C's from Kambarami Secondary School.

Ms Gweshe said SAHRIT would continue to assist Keziya with financial assistance for her 'A' Level examinations.

According to Zimbabwe government figures there are about 50,000 child-headed households. In addition, statistics by the National AIDS Council (NAC) reveal that 1.3 million children under the age of 15 years have lost one or both parents to the virus.

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