Healing a nation one step at a time

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. This adage has proved true in the work of Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Heal Zimbabwe which has taken that first bold step towards healing a nation traumatized by years of political instability.     While the Inter-Party Political Agreement (IPA) constituted Organ on National Healing remains mum on the fate of victims of political violence, Heal Zimbabwe Trust has embarked on activities which unify communities and bring healing to affected families.
Heal Zimbabwe began the process of rebuilding and restoring   the nation in May 2009 by providing blankets, radios and plates to survivors of political violence, assisting widows to start self help projects   and paying school fees for children left behind by deceased victims.

On the 8th of June 2010, the organization took a step further in the politically volatile district of Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central by holding memorial services for victims of politically motivated murders during the June 2008 violent electoral period. Seven memorial services were held in the district for the late Tendai Chisengeya, Charles Mutendebvure, Zondai Chapendeka, Givemore Kanodeweta, Fana Dhlamini, Toas Gatsi and Master Kachiwaire who were murdered at bases in Muzarabani. Muzarabani is one of the worst affected areas in Zimbabwe with 22 recorded deaths and numerous cases of arson during the run up to the 27 June 2008 election.

In an interview with The Catalyst, Heal Zimbabwe Trust Director, Mr. Rashid Mahiya stated that the national healing program has sparked discussions among communities on the way forward in issues of transitional justice and national healing. He further noted that the government designed Organ on National Healing is yet to begin activities in communities, presenting a challenge as most people in those communities are eagerly awaiting the beginning of the process.

Quizzed on the importance of the Heal Zimbabwe Trust national healing program, Mr. Mahiya said, 'For the families it is recognition of the importance and contribution of the fallen to the democratization of Zimbabwe. Our program is restorative in that it tries to restore some dignity to the families of the deceased without deliberately provoking the perpetrator, it deals with the victim and the needs of families left behind. We also seek to restore community and traditional relationships and practices which define an African and a Zimbabwean.'

He however noted that the people of Muzarabani remain traumatized and apprehensive. 'To date, the Muzarabani community lives in constant mistrust, fear and uncertainty,' said Mahiya.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition commends the bold step taken by the Heal Zimbabwe Trust and implores upon the government of Zimbabwe through the Organ on National Healing to take a leaf from the organization and turn its words and policies into tangible results.

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