Chingoni, who lost his wife and five children years ago, lived in a leaking and grass thatched house for years.
“We decided to start contributing amongst ourselves and other members outside Balaka to build a small but decent home for Mr Chingoni,” Jacqueline Mlaviwa, who chairs the Zokonda Amayi branch in Balaka, told MBC Online recently when they handed over the keys of the K1 million abode, at a colourful ceremony.
The handover ceremony, amid singing and dancing by the Zokonda Amayi members, witnessed by officials from the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, and scores of Chinthunthu villagers, moved a teary Chingoni who simply remarked: “There is God.”
“I did not believe that this would be possible. It is like a dream,” Chingoni said.
Some Zokonda Amayi members and Chingoni outside the old house.
“I am over the moon. Thanks to you women for this gesture. I had nothing. I was so desperate in the past,” Chingoni, a former boxer in his hey days in Zimbabwe and South Africa, added.
He said he was nicknamed ‘Razor’ because his punches caused cuts on the faces of his opponents.
The members did not only build the one-bed-roomed house. They also brought two mattresses, kitchen utensils and food to Chingoni.
“We shall continue to help our agogo,” Mlaviwa said, adding that their next charity cause was to pay fees for the girl child in order to empower the youths with education.
Balaka district social welfare officer Christopher Ndaona, whose office coordinated the construction of the house, thanked the women for “fulfilling your pledge” to help the old man.
He encouraged well-off families and individuals to replicate this charity move in their own villages to help their own poor kin and not wait for other people.
“Let’s take ownership of our poor relatives. Every Malawian should take ownership of their poor relatives,” he said.
Over the moon: Chingoni surrounded by Zokonda Amayi leaders.
Bertha Ndewele, DPP lawmaker for the area, hailed the women for reaching out to the old man. “Giving is the will of the heart,” she said at the function.
The MP encouraged rural women to join Zokoma Amayi initiative, saying the program “is not for rich people only.”
MBC’s broadcaster Patricia Sundu, Coordinator of Zokonda Amayi said the program was there to promote friendship and help change lives of the most vulnerable people in society.
“We might not build a house for everyone, but wherever we can, we want to change lives,” Sundu said, urging unity among the members to achieve positive results and continue making the program one of the signature programs for the public broadcaster.