FIRST Mutual Holdings Limited (FMHL) on Friday commemorated three years of their corporate social investment vehicle, First Mutual Foundation.
Launched in 2014, the Foundation supports education through a bursary programme to economically disadvantaged Zimbabwean children selected from all areas across the country.
First Mutual Foundation was also celebrating a 3 year partnership with World Education Inc / Bantwana Zim. Under this initiative the “foundation supports the education of 110 students; 54 males and 56 females,” First Mutual Holdings said on its official Facebook page.
First Mutual also stated that foundation had not only managed to change the academic lives of the students but their social lives as well. According to the social media page Many people were left in tears when beneficiaries gave testimonies on how the Foundation had transformed not only their academic lives but also their social lives.
Speaking at the 3rd annual commemorations held in Harare one beneficiary is quoted on the Facebook page to have testified that through the uniforms provided by the foundation the student no longer felt out of place at school and was now more confident when interacting with peers.
“Before I had school uniforms and shorts, it was difficult for me to play with other children because they laughed at me… Since I now have school uniforms and shorts my life has changed and I feel confident.”
Under the Bantwana Initiative, “students are supplied with a comprehensive fund not only covering school fees but also stationery, shoes and other things,” FMHL stated.
The foundation also assists tertiary students with funding. In February this year the foundation unveiled an $80 000 scholarship fund to the Reformed Church University (RCU) to cover tuition, boarding, fees and living expenses. The foundation also assists university students studying medicine, risk insurance and commerce at local tertiary institutions to create competent, skilled, additional manpower and talent pool for continued regeneration of the insurance industry.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an integral practice at First Mutual Holdings Limited. Its CSR programme also extends to promoting sports in secondary schools through its partnership with the National Association of Secondary Schools (NASH).
Beam statistics estimate that that about 720,000 and 320,000 primary and school secondary school pupils respectively are in need of assistance. The bulk of these children are orphaned and under the care of their grandparents or other guardians who are struggling to provide them with basic needs due to the current economic hardships. As a result there is high school dropout prevalence due to non-availability of school fees.
Initiatives by the fund are critical in creating a brighter future for disadvantaged students in the country at the same time capacitating students with the necessary skills and human capital for continued regeneration of skilled and competent manpower, said First Mutual Holdings Limited Group Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Hoto when they launched the foundation in 2014.