Harare residents are well aware of the shortcomings of our Council in the lack of services provided – and this has stimulated courageous and welcome efforts in some areas.
The Stratford Drive Community Trust started in the Greystone Park area when litter, long grass and dumpsites stirred diminutive, energetic and empathetic housewife and mother of two young teens Nikki Hinde, into action. By engaging with the community she gained their support and help for a Tuesday morning each week to enlist the help of their gardeners, who were rewarded after 4 hours work with a meal cooked by Nikki’s housemaid.
Said Nikki, reporting to the Borrowdale Ratepayers and Residents Association last month “In the last two years we have painted 3500 curb stones, sent 2500 bags of waste to Pomona dumpsite, planted (with the help of BBRA and City of Harare) 70 dustbins, cleared numerous dumpsites and through and with interaction with the neighbours, have managed to keep our area clean, neat and largely dump free.
“Many people see our success and often stop and say thanks or chat to our crews, but not many people see the other side of clean up, the frustration when someone dumps where we have just cleared, the times when money is short, times when we are completely demoralised.
‘And we must also think of the property owners who send their gardeners. It often crosses my mind to wonder what makes the people who help with clean up so unique? So extraordinary? It is easy to whine and wait for someone else to do something, and they would be entitled to, but these people don’t. What is it in them that gives them such a spark of compassion, caring and self-sacrifice? I have pondered this question many a time, when I have met with them and been witness to the kindness, sincerity and love they all have for their community”.
The Trust members have also managed to enlist the help of the Corporate world who have chosen to help without hesitation, and the local Councillor and the Ratepayers association have helped them through the difficult times.
“The members cannot say thank you in a way that would honour the commitment, kindness and generosity of those involved in the clean-up” continued Nikki, ….. “I can tell you about bags, curbing stones and dumpsites BUT I cannot tell you about the lives that have been saved because drains were cleared of litter or the health hazard of a dumpsite has been removed, or because the grass at an intersection has been kept short.
“There is no way to tell how many lives are affected indirectly or how many lives will have been inspired by what has happened in our community. We will never know the true value this project will bring to a person, or how many robberies will be prevented because bridges were kept clear – it is something we accept and know we have made a difference.
“Are you prepared to make a difference and be a hero in your neighbourhood? I leave you pondering this question, what can you do to help your neighbourhood?” Ms Hinde concluded.
To contact the Stratford Drive Community Trust –write to firstname.lastname@example.org and to donate totheir efforts please donate to theStratford Community Projects Trust,
Avondale Branch 20112,
Account number 1004872637