The plight of women and children in Penhalonga

by Lloyd Sesemani

Due to economic hardships being faced by Zimbabwean youths, they are sacrificing themselves to get involved in any money spinning opportunity that comes their way. Recently Penhalonga in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province and its surrounding areas has witnessed the coming in of illegal gold miners from all corners of the country.

Penhalonga and its surrounding areas are no longer safe for women and children to live due to illegal mining activities within the area. There is an increase in illegal mining activities, predominantly by the male youths who are coming from different parts of Zimbabwe in search for the precious mineral. The mining activities increased women and children vulnerability to gender based violence.

Involvement of school going children in illegal mining activities in Penhalonga is on the rise and this has resulted in low school attendance, poor pass rates, drug abuse and an increase in early child marriages and unwanted pregnancies. Reported cases of early child marriages and school dropouts are very high such that school going children are engaging in illegal mining and at the end of the day they are pocketing some few dollars. Such events negatively affects young women who in turn being trapped in early marriages.

The influx of illegal miners in Penhalonga poses health and security dangers to the residents as most miners are engaging acts of violence and unlawful entry for their survival. Cases of robbery and rape are on the rise and this is unsafe for residents especially women. The law enforcements agency working with several local lobby groups are fighting for the removal of illegal gold miners in and around Penhalonga. This is a welcome initiative as it will bring sanity within the affected communities.

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