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Thandekile is a mother-of-two and a widow. Her family, who live in Bulawayo in southwest Zimbabwe, are facing hunger and the double impact of Covid-19 and climate change.
When Covid-19 hit in March 2020, mothers around the world found themselves caring for their children in extraordinary circumstances as they navigated between school closures and responsibilities at home and at work.
Thandekile (31) knows this struggle of providing for her family too well, as the impact of Covid-19 has been felt deeply by her young family in the rural community of Bulawayo in southwestern Zimbabwe.
In November 2020, the family’s already fragile world was turned upside down when Covid-19 hit. Thandekile’s husband Donovan (35) passed away from the virus in South Africa where he was working to earn money so he could provide for his family.
Following the death of her husband, Thandekile struggled even more to provide food for her family. Grieving for her husband meant that she couldn’t engage in farming activities which delayed the planting of crops and made them even more vulnerable to heavy rainfall.
The last time Thandekile spoke to her husband, he had just finished work in South Africa and had been feeling fine. The following day, Thandekile was told that Donovan was unable to talk or breathe and he was rushed to the hospital where he sadly died from the virus.
Devastated, Thandekile says his death was so sudden that their children are still struggling to accept the fact that they will never see or speak to their father again. “The death of my husband hit me very hard and I was bed-ridden for days. I did not know how I was going to move on and raise my children without the presence of their father,” she says. “His death greatly affected my children too. Donovan was a good father to our children and a good husband to me.”
Thandekile lives for her children and will do anything for them but fears that she too will die from Covid-19 or hunger.
“I live for my children and my wish is to be able to provide for all their needs. My greatest fear is to die whilst my kids are still young. I pray that the Lord keeps me so that I raise them until they are old enough to take care of themselves,” she says.
“What gives me hope is that I am still alive despite all that we have been through as a family. Whatever the problems you have been through in life, it is important to dust yourself off and move on, have hope and work hard for the children even if it’s very difficult. I thank the people of Ireland for all the help you give to us, please do not tire,” Thandekile says.
Thandekile hopes that the love of strangers can help her and her children, Nomatter and Forward, to survive.