Social Work in Matobo: A Faith Journey

My journey with Silveira House began in 2007 as a participant in the Training for Transformation workshop that had been organized for community trainers. Then, I was an Agriculture Technical Extension (Agritex) Officer. I was inspired so much by the Community Development Programme team that facilitated the workshop. they were passionate and very knowledgeable fellows. I told myself that one day I will come back and work for Silveira House. Five years later, I found myself on the team, accepted shortly before I had finished my degree. It was by God’s Grace. Patience and faith in God carried me through the years of study to where I am.

As I carried out my work in Matobo among the youth, men and women, single mothers and widows, I saw a lot of potential for good in the people; I saw God in them; and the work, God’s, guided by love. I encountered some very unique characters, among them some difficult people, losing out due to lacking wisdom. I always took these encounters as opportunities to help them to understand life better. The youth are dynamic, very mobile, fragile and unstable. They can be swayed easily by various influences, both good and bad. God gave me the patience to accompany them through these moments and I often reverted back to Training for Transformation for remedy to the negative influences.

A particularly touching experience of my work in 2018 involves my encounter of Elias Banda, one of the beneficiaries trained in leather works. At one point, he left the group for greener pastures in Botswana, then came back, enrolled in a vocational training programme and graduated top of his class. He became one of the trainers, then moved from Sparrow, Ward 14, to Maphisa One-stop Shop to carry on with his trade. Elias eventually passed on in October, MHSRIP. But our journey with him continues. We took his wife on board through our backstop training and support programme in Home Décor empower her to carry on with supporting the surviving family.

On a different note, expos are like wedding to me, very uncertain during planning, but, by faith we always pull through. We are currently planning the 2018 edition and excited to participate at the upcoming Gwanda Agricultural Show. Achievement such as the conversion of Matobo RDC Beer Hall into a market stall, the One Stop Shop consequent to our lobbying and advocacy with ordinary youth add more the excitement i find in my work. In addition, most of the students we enrolled in the programme graduated from Westgate Industrial Training Centre with class 4 National Certificates despite their lack of required ordinary level results. Of these, one Makhokheli who used to be a heavy drinker has since converted. Simon and Proud, from the welders group are currently operating their own enterprise and supplying SaveMor Hardware. Kelvin and Nkosiyabo, carpenters are in the business of making coffins and other kinds of furniture which they supply mostly to surrounding schools. Another, Cosmos Moyo, a builder recently wrote his class 3 national certificate exams. These I know by head and carry along, faces and names as their successes reflect my own which gives me strength and desire to carry on. We also engaged the Ministry of Education to assist our beneficiaries and ordinary members of the community to boost their literacy and innumeracy.

It was not all rosey though. There were instances where I felt in adequate as a project officer. One involves late submission of reports. The pressure of single-handedly managing 52 enterprises in 10 wards came in the way of my fulfilling other, equally important duties such as documentation of the work. As I reflect back, I see the importance since all the good work without documentation is overshadowed by communication barrier upstream that affects collaboration with others. I also recognize my weakness in failing to demand clear reporting frameworks where there was none provided. The changes in the Institution’s management necessitated my growth, however painful. I recall breaking into tears during break after excusing myself from a guided report writing session with the programmes manager. Towards the end of the exercise I gathered the courage to confess to her and really felt at ease with her. Such moments add some humor to the work, 

Remarks from partners such as youth officers and the Council demanding continuation of Silveira House’s work in the district testify to the legacy we have carved out. These and our funding partners’ assurance to continue supporting our work further confirms my vocation with Silveira House. Looking ahead, I feel inspired to be more conscious of my work as a mission from God which I ought to undertake in humility and love. I desire to cultivate a positive outlook on life, in how I interpret events, receiving correction from colleagues, taking things less personal and non-judgmental. Lastly, to my colleagues I say fear not; trust that God is in control. Long suffering and endurance will keep us safe.”