PED dumps mentally retarded kids into dustbin

SIMBARASHE MTEMBO

MIRROR REPORTER 

MASVINGO – Masvingo acting Provincial Education Director (PED) Shylatte Mhike has forsaken 19 mentally retarded kids at Ratidzo Zimcare Centre in Mucheke, Masvingo to subhuman life by forcing them to stay in boarding facilities condemned by authorities.

Mhike gave Ratidzo school head Everjoice Runesu the green light to convert an ordinary classroom block into a hostel although the building has no suitable and adequate ablution and other facilities needed for normal human habitation.

What shocks many is that boys and girls are sharing one hostel.

Asked for comment Mhike told The Mirror that the hostel met Ministry of Education standards and she saw nothing wrong with the hostel although both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Welfare made categorical statements against the hostel.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary, Tumisang Thabelo wrote a letter to Runesu instructing her to build proper boarding facilities first before starting a boarding school. The letter dated September 21, 2021 also instructed her to get special designs for such hostels from relevant Government departments and to ensure that construction work is inspected and approved at every stage.

Instead of following the instructions, the PED supported Runesu in the conversion of a classroom block to hostels. She insisted that the letter from the Ministry allows Ratidzo to start a boarding school immediately.

Ratidzo Zimcare Centre head Everjoice Runesu told The Mirror that she has not been feeling well and has not been to the school in over a week. 

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said that Mhike misinterpreted the letter. He said that she had since been advised to remedy the situation.

The 19 children were withdrawn from Alfred Walter, Roman Catholic Hostels which are 100 metres away at the beginning of this year. Ratidzo which offers lessons for mentally retarded children now wants to offer both lessons and accommodation.

Social Welfare ministry director for disability affairs, Dr Christine Peta condemned the move two weeks ago and dispatched inspectors who are still compiling a report. 

Sr Maria Murwira an expert on mentally retarded children said her heart bleeds when she looks at the living conditions of the 19 children. She said it is by the Grace of God that there has not been a tragic incident at the hostels so far.

The Mirror understands that mattresses are always wet, the blankets are not enough and the hostel stink with urine and human waste. The girls and boys are not separated at the hostels and chances of girls getting pregnant are rife.

Donors have apparently shunned the school resulting in financial problems that have seen the children being fed on relish of chunks all the time. The cooking facility, a fireplace outside the hostel was improvised and when it rains it’s difficult to prepare meals.

The hostel has no nurse for children with special conditions especially those who afflicted with seizures.

Sources close to the matter told The Mirror that the children are no longer being taught life skills as metal and woodwork because the classes have been converted into a dining and kitchen respectively.https://masvingomirror.com

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