LINDA SATIMBURWA’s QUEST TO HELP RURAL COMMUNITIES

She is a mother, wife, businesswoman and philanthropist. She was born in Ndola, Zambia and grew up in Samaringa Village, Honde Valley just outside Mutare before moving to the United Kingdom in 1998. “I come from a diversified educational and practical background that covers Secretarial Studies, Hotel Management, Nursing & Midwifery, Family Planning and Women’s Health. Besides being an experienced midwife, I have an accomplished record of over 23 years working in the hospitality industry”, she explains. She is the founder and current CEO of Global Hand Of Hope International (GHOHI) and currently work with the National Health Service (NHS) as a midwife. GHOHI was founded in 2007 and this year is its 10th Anniversary.  Its primary focus is to help the under privileged children in rural areas. To date through its work in Honde Valley it has have helped about 400 students.

“Most of them have managed to go as far as University and made a positive change in their lives and that of their families.  I have seen many lives transformed, many of our beneficiaries are now employed and set free from a cycle of poverty”, says Linda. “Many people have reached out to us asking to work with us on voluntary basis. We are branding and those who are on board will be announced in due course.” She notes that winning the Community Champion Award in the ZAA awards has motivated her to do more. Last year 2016 her organisation added more beneficiaries at primary school level.  Besides paying school fees and exam fees they have donated ICT equipment, books and football kits. This has resulted in more people now to know about her organisation and they do. Donations have been received from individuals within the Zimbabwean community and “a lot of encouragement to keep on doing the good work.” GHOHI has been featured in the media back home in Zimbabwe and in the UK. Winning the award gave the organisation a lot of momentum and significantly increased the enthusiasm and support from the Zimbabwean community. The number of people asking to be involved has since doubled. The win has given the organisation a boost and further determination to push forward with their initiative. “It made us all feel so proud about what we are doing and made us realise that the work we doing is truly making a positive impact on people’s lives,” she explains.

Linda values integrity and the spirit of Ubuntu and is very passionate about her work. As a leader she is always looking for ways to improve herself making sure she develop her skills to create a vision, build teams around a cause and deliver positive outcome. “I stay in tune with the changing environment making sure I am up to date with current affairs happening around the world. I invest in platforms and programs for improving teamwork, communication and sustaining innovation.  Innovation come from harnessing new ideas that will bring about positive change.” Linda says the greatest influence in her life is her mother. As children, she instilled the value of hard work and perseverance. Her mother always challenged her children and always encouraged them to aim higher and higher, teaching them many values that define who they are now – the values of honesty, integrity and sincerity. These included benefits of hard work and the importance of striving for excellence.

She notes that her husband and children love her unconditionally. The husband is the wisest and most generous soul she has ever known and she is blessed to have him in her life. He has taught her never to settle for second best, to treat people with the same degree of respect regardless of social standing, race or creed. Her family have been very supportive and always encourage her to keep up the good work regardless of challenges. At the moment they have projects they are working on of which some we have already started. In 2016 GHOHI started the Rural Sport Initiative (donated sports kit), Rural ICT Programme (donated ICT equipment and ICT books). As an expert in her field of nursing and midwifery and family planning and women’s health apart from education she also focuses on maternal and child health. In 2015 and 2016 she visited her rural district hospital, Hauna Hospital and her local clinic Samaringa Clinic. The Hospital and clinics in the area are struggling to provide even the most basic services due to lack of sufficient resources, equipment and staff. “We are going to support Hauna Maternity Service and we have started to put together donation items for Hauna Maternity Unit. Our aim is to promote and campaign for safe motherhood by improving awareness and facilitating the distribution of effective obstetric emergencies training, in the process reducing preventable harm to mothers and babies. Hauna Maternity Unit as we speak does not have an Ultrasound Scan machine. “We have since created a GoFundMe page to raise £15 000 so that we can buy one for the Maternity Unit. So far we have managed to raise £145. We have a few fund raising projects planned and will be announced in due course.  Hauna Maternity Unit is in desperate need of an Ultrasound Scan and we are appealing for help from individuals and organisations to make this dream come true.” Most rewarding is when she sees lives being transformed and the positive change within the community. She further notes that rural schools are faced with so many challenges and not much input is given in terms of development. The infrastructure is poor: there is lack of books, equipment, funding for sports development and science subjects (no lab equipment). The list of problems is endless. As a result the pass rate is very poor and pupils are missing out on opportunities because they do not meet the standards. More funding is needed in Zimbabwe’s rural schools so that the needs are met, in turn improving the quality of education in rural schools. The most critical problems are unemployment, poor infrastructure, poor health system (basic needs are not being met) and education. The majority populace can not afford basic needs, poverty is rife in Zimbabwe. Health and education should be made accessible to everyone and made affordable for every child to be in school. More industries should be build to create employment. Creating equal opportunities is vital so that the populace can be above the poverty line and are able to meet basic needs. “Diaspora community are living in an environment with a  thriving economy and advanced technologies in the field of engineering, health , ICT just to mention a few.  They have gained a lot of knowledge and are experts in their own fields. The diaspora has a lot to offer in terms of helping to develop our country. “They can share their knowledge and invest in the country. There is a lot of evidence of Zimbabweans who have gone back home and are running thriving businesses and some have set up charities to help the less privileged, but it is a small percentage. “It starts with us, changing a life one at a time and making the world a better place. As Zimbabweans we need to unite and work together in making our country a better place. We can change the lives of people in need every day with even the smallest of donations making a huge impact in a community,” she concludes.

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