Catherine Pweruka - an amazing woman
"My name is Catherine Pweruka and I am 51 years old. I grew up in the countryside until I got married and moved with my husband to a suburb of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. We have a daughter Mazvita (29) which means "happiness" and a son Tendai, (20) which means "we are grateful". When Tendai was three years old, my husband died and I learnt that I was also HIV positive. My life broke into many pieces, my pain was great!
I tried everything to pay our rent of 13 euros per month and our food and started selling cigarettes and roasted nuts in bars and nightclubs, which is a very dangerous job for a woman. I was able to earn around 1 US dollar a night and I also worked hard during the day so that I could give my children a good education and a better life.
Even in primary school, the teachers noticed how talented and clever Tendai was, his grades were very good. I did everything I could to help him graduate from primary."
Tendai herself tells us today: "My mother struggled so hard to provide us with some food, sometimes we had some and sometimes not. Often we went to school without eating, both during primary and secondary school!"
Tara Ropka makes strong
"In 2014 I found out about the Tara Ropka Therapy group and gave it a try. Tara Ropka is a therapy programme that helps one to understand oneself and others better and also offers support to live a happier life. Most of the women who participate are extremely poor, many are living with HIV and have children with and without limitations. I have learnt that although I am poor and have experienced bad things, I carry love, compassion and wisdom. I have changed my attitude and my life and am now free from stress and fear. Tara Ropka gives me security and self-confidence. When I or my children are sick, we are taken care of.
When the Tara Ropka Group staff got to know Tendai with his exceptional talent, they paid his secondary school fees, which I could never have afforded. In June 2020, Tendai took his exams to go to university and his results were very good, really rare for a boy with his social background."
Help, also and especially in times of pandemic
"With the Corona Lockdown 2020, the situation became very bad for many people, people could no longer live on their income and hunger was a bigger threat to us than the virus. I no longer had any income because the bars were closed, we had nothing to eat.
But the Canchanabury campaign, which already supports our therapy group, has not forgotten us! In May 2020, the first packages of rice, maize, beans and flour were distributed! That was enough for one family for one month, it was like heaven! We have never had so much food in one place.
I have a message for those who made it possible to send these packages to us: We say all together: God bless you and thank you so much for your wisdom and compassion and love!
Our hope for the future: Tendai dreams of going to university to earn good money if he can find a sponsor, and I will continue to work hard so that I can live in a proper house and help other widows and orphans to fight for a better life."