UNITED States-based family – the Kanyongos – have embarked on a programme in which they are helping to combat early marriage and to raise girls’ confidence, aspirations and school attendance through sport in rural Mutoko.
The programme which is now in its third year running and mainly targets the vulnerable groups, is also extended to the young boys in the community as a way of keeping them away from drugs while helping them concentrate on school.
Apart from providing for the young children, the Kanyongo family has also moved to provide for the elderly people in the same community with foodstuffs, which included rice, maize meal, cooking oil, flour and beans during these tough times of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Furthermore, football clubs in that area are also benefiting as they are receiving groceries extending the family’s helping hand in the community.
Family spokesperson Gideon Kanyongo said it is their small way of giving back to the community where they hail from.
“Usually, people believe girls should fetch water from the well, wash dishes, wash clothes, work in the field, collect firewood and cook food among other things. So we felt there is need for change of mentality hence we came in to empower girls in our community.
“We are also doing the same for the boys. What we are doing is that we are targeting mostly the orphans and the underprivileged to ensure that they have opportunities to go to school just like their counterparts,” Gideon told the Daily News.
On the food programme, Gideon said: “We started the food programme two years ago and we now have 70 households that we cater for apart from the orphans. The food is distributed at the beginning of every month.
“Those who feel can benefit from this programme can register with our local church Rutendo Methodist located in Kanyongo Village in Mutoko. Every month we give something different depending on their needs. We have also brought wheelchairs for the disabled.”
The family has since moved to sponsor a football tournament for the Mutoko community which they say is meant to honour their late father Kennedy Blessing with the inaugural edition set for this weekend.
“We are also doing a soccer tournament. Remember, these girls and boys we are paying for school fees are also involved in soccer. This tournament we are organizing we want to make it an annual event at it is in honour of our late father,” Gideon added.