The Inner Wheel Club of Harare West is a vibrant, committed and hard-working group of women who strive to better the lives of Zimbabweans who live in difficult circumstances. Although the Inner Wheel is a small group, it is affiliated with the International Inner Wheel, one of the largest women’s voluntary service organisations. As an international organisation it was established in 1924 and the Harare West Inner Wheel has existed since 1991. The Inner Wheel is also tied to Rotary, initially the wives of Rotarians forming the organisation. It is now open to any women interested in serving the community and is the only club of its kind in Zimbabwe. Currently the Harare West group has 9 members, with Sue Moore serving as president.
Work Within the Community
The Inner Wheel meet once a month to discuss and organise their projects, some of their meetings are used to make birthday or Christmas cards for the elderly who live in old-age homes B.S Leon and Nazareth House. Before each meeting, the Inner Wheel Prayer is read out. It is in the words, “Notwithstanding the differences in our cultures and creeds, endow us with a desire to serve our fellow men, remember that we too often need help” that really reflects their selfless desire to help others. These women are unified by their own friendship and their desire to reach out to those who may be neglected or in need of such friendship. It is this passion for care that I have witnessed in person which I have found particularly inspiring. Life in Zimbabwe is hard for a lot of people, but the Inner Wheel demonstrates that even a small group can make a big difference to a lot of people in need.
Their main projects which are on-going are assisting the old-age people of Nazareth House, the retirement village of B.S Leon and providing some assistance with women with babies in Chikurubi Prison. Val Caldecott has visited Nazereth House and has been involved with this elderly community for over 20 years, a true dedication to service. Caldecott, Ann Tingay and Emylda Apps provide cakes and sandwiches once a month to the residents which they enjoy with their tea; not only is the food welcome but also the time spent with these elderly people, who can often lead solitary lives. The residents also receive a card and gift on their birthday from the Inner Wheel ladies.
Sue Moore has visited B.S Leon for 12 years, providing companionship as well as a birthday gift for each resident’s birthday. $100 is also donated each year by the club to the retirement village.
Another establishment appreciates the time and charity of the Inner Wheel ladies. Diana Pazvakavamba regularly visits Chikurubi Prison, providing the pregnant women with Layettes and nappies. The club also donates jerseys, medical supplies, toiletries and occasionally gives some financial assistance. It is particularly important that these imprisoned women are not being forgotten, thanks to the selfless dedication of the Inner Wheel Club.
Refurbishment Project at Jairos Jiri
Sue Moore happened to visit the Jairos Jiri School for the physically handicapped in 2014. It was on this occasion that she saw a dormitory for 6-8 year old girls that was in a dire condition of neglect. The other dormitories had been refurbished with the help of other organisations/companies, but this particular one needed attention. Moore’s enthusiasm to assist these young girls inspired the rest of the Inner Wheel to take the project on. Financial assistance came from Moore’s sister-in-law and her four church parishes in Yorkshire, England which enabled the complete refurbishment of the dormitory. The Reverend had a chance to go to Jairos Jiri and meet the Chairman, Chris Mbanga and the Headmistress, Margaret Mukwa. The church ladies made colourful blankets and cushion covers and donations also came from the Inner Wheel UK as well as Friends of Kids in Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, places like Jairos Jiri have very little assistance from the government and rely completely on the goodwill of the community. Moore worked tirelessly, transforming a bare room with leaks in the ceiling, brown marks, bare lightbulbs, broken windows, curtains on strings as well as a bathroom with an old geyser and dilapidated sinks, into a fully-functional and beautiful environment for the girls. Harare companies and individuals provided materials at cost and often with discounts. The hard work and generosity ensured new plumbing, glazing, tiling, new ceilings, new lighting, carpentry, painting, curtaining, new mattresses, bedding, towels, as well as toiletries and even beautiful murals on the walls.
This was a huge undertaking that Moore did not give up on, despite some delays and setbacks. Her love for these 12 girls who were living in such difficult circumstances, really galvanised an amazing transformation. Her passion and effort with the help of many, brought about a change that touched the hearts of the girls. The project was completed in June this year and the end result was hugely appreciated by the pupils and staff alike. The unveiling which Rotarians, Inner Wheel members and Jairos Jiri staff and pupils attended, revealed a wonderful new space. The children expressed their appreciation in joyous song, smiles and high fives.
Such a successful project is an example of the spirit and values of the Inner Wheel. These women in service reach out to all Zimbabweans, spreading the gift of friendship, giving time to those who may feel neglected, and bringing change and hope to communities in need. It is important that despite our own challenges, we do not forget those who have less.
For further information please contact Sue Moore via her email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs used in this article by Sue Moore.
Lucy Tingay has a Fine Arts degree from Rhodes University. Her passion for writing has encouraged her to create a writing group with fellow writing friends. She particularly loves to write poetry. She was born and currently lives in Harare.