MT: You are a community champion with a heart for Zimbabwe. Please tell us more about Women of Valiance, how you started and why?
Beritha: Thank you Monique. As a teacher, I have always been passionate about education for all. So whenever I got home, I would take something educational to give to a child or children. In 2016, I donated about 300 library books to my former school. I visited a few other schools and I realised that our schools needed us. So I was caught in between supporting my old school in the city or a small school in my rural areas. I choose the latter. I knew I could not do it alone. I needed the help of others. That’s how VOW was formed
MT: What got you to this point of starting VOW?
Beritha: Without boasting, I know that whenever I put my mind into doing something, it is always successful.
MT: Can you share on the mindset that makes you successful when you set your mind on doing something?
Beritha: When l start thinking about the “what ifs or are you sure(s)”, l challenge my mind to be the voice that speaks possibilities. Actually l do not get stuck with those thoughts.
So I thought, why not put my skills to use; and bring women together. Why not have a day of elegance, fun and motivation at the same time raising money for basic education.
MT: Give us two or three things that might be beneficial to others?
Beritha: One or the other we are all fearful. More so when it comes to stepping out into the unknown. Fear will say “You are not qualified. You will not do it. It will certainly fail” Courage will say “l am not sure l can do it but l think l will learn valuable lessons by doing it”. Should l fail, l will not be first neither will l be the last. Most successful people had a fair share of failures.
MT: What challenges do you face from having to get people involved and actively giving?
Last year’s (2017) event was successful. There were no challenges at all. In fact we were completely sold out. Many businesswomen donated some of their merchandise which we auctioned or used as raffle prizes.
This year (2018) it’s too early to tell because our event is in July so we are yet to see. But preparations are being received very well. We are optimistic.
MT: We are in a society where some people have abused funds resulting in people refraining from giving. How do you maintain accountability and integrity when it comes to monetary donations?
Beritha: I believe in transparency so we keep people informed about all our activities through our website
We have an account which is just for VOW business only
MT: So you have had children who were “adopted” through VOW. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how it works?
Beritha: After last year’s event, a few women wanted to go an extra mile in terms of sponsorship so they have a child whom they have “adopted” & pay fees for. One lady does more than just school fees. She buys food & clothing for the whole family. “Adopting” a child is very simple and does not cost much. £100 buys the whole uniform, including shoes and pays for a whole year’s fees.
MT: What do you feel most proud about?
Beritha: The fact that we are making a little difference in someone’s life.
The smiles that we put on those children’s faces and their parents is just priceless. The children look smart and happy in their new uniforms. It’s such a pleasure to see the children happy
MT: How have you balanced responsibilities between VOW and your own private life?
Beritha: I love VOW and l find myself creating time for it. Last year it was a bit difficult balancing VOW & full time work but with the help of my team we managed well. This year I have been unwell but when I am well enough I work on VOW. Also, as mentioned earlier on, I have a very good team and supportive family.
MT: Where do you see VOW in 10 years time?
Beritha: We want VOW to grow in such a way that, we are not only helping one school but at least one school in each province in Zimbabwe. In future we would like to have our guests choosing the schools they want to support. We want to be able to support many children up to university level.
MT: What advice would you give to women that want to serve in their community but are hesitating to start up?
Beritha: Your community needs you, yes you!
Every little helps. However many hands make the job light, so team up with others to achieve more.
MT: What are your objectives and desired outcomes from the sponsorship?
Beritha: Sponsorship helps us to achieve our goal, which is to provide basic education to as many children as possible. The more sponsorship we get, the more children we can help
MT: Tell us about this year’s upcoming event?
Beritha: We have our 2nd Annual Ladies Luncheon on the 14 of July at Whittlebury Hall Hotel in Towcester. Other ladies can help by buying tickets from £50 from our website www.valiant-women.co.uk
They can also get in touch to sponsor the event in cash or kind and they can also “adopt” a child to send to school.
Men can also support us in terms of sponsorship. MT