From Laois to Zimbabwe with love

A Portlaoise mother is looking for donations to help a poverty stricken tribe in her native country

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Natasha Ncube with fellow fundraiser Nobukhosi Ngwenya delivering items to St Luke's Hospital in Zimbabwe.

Natasha Ncube with fellow fundraiser Nobukhosi Ngwenya delivering items to St Luke's Hospital in Zimbabwe.

Portlaoise mother of two Natasha Ncube, is appealing to Laois people to help a desperately poor tribe in her native Zimbabwe.

An agency healthcare assistant at Portlaoise and Tullamore hospitals, Natasha is mother to Aamaan, 13, in St Mary’s CBS, and Jamal, 9 in Gael Scoil Phortlaoise.

Living in Ireland for the past 17 years, she has recently become passionate about helping one poverty stricken tribe in rural Binga.

Children in the Tonga tribe walk barefoot 10km to a mud hut school, and walk 3km for water. Sanitation is difficult. The girls use dried cowdung and leaves for sanitary pads. The nearest hospital, St Luke's, is 100km away, so babies are born at home in dire hygiene.

New mothers use washed stuffing from old mattresses found in landfills as sanitary pads, she said.

“Cholera is the biggest problem, and it is also malaria infested,” Natasha said.

“It is a very marginalised tribe, nobody cares about them. I went home to visit my family two years ago, and during a trip to Victoria Falls I saw these kids. I wanted to do something to help. Even though they have no clothes or shoes they still come to school. They don’t complain, they are so smart, but their future is destined to fail. They won’t go further than primary school because they can’t pay fees,” she said.

She grew up in Bulawayo city, leaving at the age of 16 for a better life.

“It is so peaceful here in Portlaoise. I know we have poor people in Ireland, but they really have nothing back there,” she said.

With other Zimbabweans in Dublin, she formed the Queen Loziba Community Initiative, to gather money, clothes, educational and medical items to send out.

“Last December I went out, paying my own fare, and I brought clothes that the hospital staff here donated. With the money we raised we paid local women to make hospital gowns and bedclothes, to empower them,” she explained.

She delivered items to St Luke’s Hospital and Kampandu Primary School. Natasha hopes to fill a truck container to send to Binga.

“I will take anything, clothes, shoes, bedclothes, sheets, curtains, childrens reading books, stationery, malaria nets, even old working washing machines for the hospital. You don’t have to have money to help these people,” she said.

To donate, contact Natasha at 087 1369108, or see Queen Loziba Community Initiative on facebook.

Natasha with children in Kampandu Primary School.