BULAWAYO’S two main old people’s homes are struggling to cope after the government suspended subsidies to fund their operations with staff going for months without salaries.
Ekuphumuleni Geriatic Home and Entembeni Old People’s Home survive on donations from well-wishers, but of late contributions have been hard to come by due to the city’s deteriorating economic situation.
The dire situation was laid bare when Alpha Media Holdings, publishers of Southern Eye, NewsDay, The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard, as well as Edgars handed over clothes, groceries and other items bought using proceeds from the Southern Eye charity walk held early this month.
The government stopped financing operations of the old people’s homes in July 2012 and this saw them sinking into serious debt.
Ekuphumuleni matron Elizabeth Rhodes said inmates were suffering due to limited funding.
She appealed to the corporate world and members of the public to come to their rescue.
Rhodes said life had not been easy since the government stopped giving them grants leaving them facing difficulties in paying electricity, telephone and city council bills.
“We need a lot of assistance because now we depend on donors for survival and sometimes we have situations where there would be no food to eat and we survive by God’s grace,” she said.
“Back then we used to have bed subsidies from the government, but it is no longer the case.
“Even the fowl run is empty as we have no money to run a chicken project.
“We thought of gardening as a way forward to alleviate our situation, but we only have one functional borehole out of three. Two broke down and we have no money to have them repaired.”
Rhodes said workers had not been paid for three months.
At Entembeni Old People’s Home, board chairperson retired Justice Selo Nare highlighted similar challenges.
“We have challenges. Our staff have not been paid for months and our fowl run is empty too, but we are glad that we will start gardening because the Rotary Club donated a borehole to us,” he said.
Justice Nare said although the inmates were well catered for in terms of food, the institution was struggling to pay workers and bills.
The two institutions got groceries worth $1 040 raised through the charity walk and clothing from Edgars.
The donation would also see the homes receiving $750 each to clear their utility bills.
Some of the institutions that supported the Southern Eye charity walk include Edgars, Greens Supermarket, Beejery Embroiders, City of Bulawayo, Nokel Security, Hillside Dams and Emras Ambulance.