The letter below was sent to us by a concerned friend of Janice whose name we have changed to safeguard her identity – but the story is heartbreakingly true:
I have known Janice since the early seventies when she started work as a secretary and worked at various companies eventually becoming the personal assistant to the MD of one. Sadly, in 2019 Janice, along with others in the company, was made redundant receiving the appropriate sum for redundancy which was paid to her in Zimbabwe dollars. That money has now been totally exhausted and Janice finds herself in an acute and deteriorating predicament.
She is a childless widow, her husband having died several years ago, and she now lives in the home she inherited from him in Harare, with various family members, none of whom are able to find work and situation has become one of dire poverty, so much so that all they can afford to eat is sadza.
Janice has made great efforts to find work but at the age of 68, owning no transport and having no savings or pension, her prospects were bleak, and all of her efforts have come to nothing.
She had hopes of securing care work in the UK as this has been the saving grace for many Zimbabwean women, but this too has become almost impossible. Previously a woman could simply turn up in the UK, show willing, work hard and get by, building some savings, living in the home of the person receiving the care and making a living. This is no longer the case. Care work now requires courses of instruction which are expensive as well Disclosure and Safeguarding Certificates, uniforms, money for rail fares and other transport and much more.
In the hope of finding care work, Janice was recently interviewed by a firm in Harare, which specialises in providing care workers from Zimbabwe to positions in the UK but, having walked there and back (15 km each way), she was told she did not meet their criteria.
She has a current British passport and would consider returning to the UK but does not have either the money to buy a ticket or the means of supporting herself while she passes the Habitual Residency Test – this can take up to three months during which time the person must be able to show they live at a permanent address before they can access the National Health or any pension or benefits.
In absolute desperation, Janice has turned to ZANE. She is on the waiting list to receive permanent aid and is getting emergency food support in the meantime.
Your donation could enable ZANE to help Janice, and others like her, who grow more desperate every day.