Thursday, September 23, 2021
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Memorial celebrations for late philanthropist Jairos Jiri

 

The late Jairos Jiri

Moses
Ziyambi

The family of the late
Jairos Jiri has organised an event to celebrate the life of the renowned
philanthropist who died in November 1982 after building the largest and most
successful indigenous charitable institution.

The family has sent an
invitation to friends, relatives and all people to support the event.

The Jiri family says it
saw it fit for people come together and celebrate the life of a man whose name
has become synonymous with efforts to add value in the lives of people with
disabilities while promoting their rights.

“It will be our
singular honour as the family of Jairos Jiri to have you all as we celebrate
his life in a memorialto be held on 14 November 2020 at Ziumbwa village,
Mupamaonde, Bikita Masvingo starting at 10:00am till 5pm,” tweeted family
spokesperson Pamela Jiri who of late has been at the forefront of reviving
memories of the great philanthropist.

The family has asked
those that may want to assist with transport and other logistics to get in
touch with the Jiri family on 0783358826.

Born in 1921, Jiri
attended school at Gokomere Mission for a few days before falling sick and
going back home in Bikita.

As an adolescent, he
worked briefly in Masvingo, then called Fort Victoria, before travelling to
Bulawayo on foot in 1939 where he did menial jobs for white families.

In Bulawayo, as in
Masvingo, Jiri was pained by the suffering of destitute and disabled people,
and he began to offer whatever help he could.

He joined the then
Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR) as a dishwasher during Second World War in 1940,
a move which helped him gain some invaluable insights into methods of rehabilitation
since the organisation ran a rehabilitation programme for injured soldiers.

He created backyard
rehabilitation centre to help people with disabilities often in contravention of
council by-laws.

As a black person, Jiri
encountered many hurdles from the colonial administrators as he tried to
register the first indigenous disability charity organisation.

He later managed to
register the Bikita Physically Defective Society which was later renamed the
Jairos Jiri Association in 1950.

From Bulawayo, the
association expanded to Harare, then called Salisbury, and to many other parts
of the country.

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