It was a love affair. The setting could not be more appropriate.
It was a profound moment at Belgravia’s Pariah State-an upmarket eatery where telecommunications giant, NetOne set up a perfect luncheon date with the elderly this Valentine’s Day.
For the old timers, this was a moment to recapture the youthfulness of their good ole days long past them and for once, they remembered how it feels to be loved.
Yet for the young, there was no better inspiration than to capture this enthralling sight of the aging celebrating their existence and being finally reminded what this day was all about.
One by one, they danced, sang and recited bible verses before partaking of a pricey three course meal courtesy of NetOne.
“I think we were not far from the mark. Look at how happy they are,” NetOne executive director marketing and communications, Eldrette Shereni told 263Chat Business.
“As part of our CSR pillars we have got one which is called OneCare which looks at reducing inequality, poverty reduction etc. And this is mainly on philanthropic initiatives. So this year we said let us spread love to people that do not feel the love anymore and we went to old age homes, Bumhudzo and SODA old people’s homes. We looked around and said those are the people who have been abandoned, they feel neglected and they have not felt love in a while then we said this is a special way of spreading love,” she added.
There were a total of 42 elderly people in attendance selected from Chitungwiza based Bumhudzo old people’s home and Society Of Destitute Aged (SODA) based in Highfield township.
Most of them were in their 80s with one past a hundred years.
Those from SODA, are mainly immigrants who came from Malawi, South Africa and Zambia about half a century years ago working in the mines and industries and somehow got stranded upon retirement.
Some had heart breaking stories to tell of how they were discarded by their grandchildren for various unsubstantiated accusations such as witchcraft among others.
But this was not enough to dampen the cheerful mood on this special Valentines afternoon as they were pampered with gift hampers.
“It is with immeasurable joy that we are getting this treat from NetOne. For them to remember the elderly and have such a sumptuous lunch at such a luxurious place is a true reflection of their love for us. We are grateful,” SODA Home Manager, Emilia Mukaratirwa said.
NetOne’s gesture comes at a time the harsh economic environment prevailing in the country has worsened the plight of the elderly who now suffer from neglect by the desperate economically active citizens.