I had almost lost hope, but my grandchildren are back at school! My name is Gogo Phiri, I live in Bulawayo with my grandchildren Maclean and Phumuzile who are both orphaned.When I moved from Gokwe I decided to take my grandchildren with me since there was no one to take care of them in the rural area. I relocated with them to town because of my ill health and that is when all problems started. My grandchildren could not go to school because they had no birth certificates! I am a widow and three of my children who also used to assist me are late.
Back in the village, the Headmaster understood the situation and my grandchildren would go to school without birth certificates. When we moved to Bulawayo, things suddenly changed, the school would not admit my grandchildren without birth certificates. I approached the Registrar General’s Office but I was told to bring death certificates for the children’s parents-I only had one for my late son.
I made every effort to get my late daughter-in-law’s death certificate but her mother refused to release it. I tried to explain to her that our grandchildren were being disadvantaged because of her actions but she would not cooperate. All of a sudden my grandchildren were school drop outs! I was pained to see them seated at home while others were going to school. The Birth Registration Officer referred me to the LRF One day I heard that there was a mobile birth registration clinic in my area and I went there to try my last chance –I was referred to LRF Bulawayo.
The LRF wrote a letter to the maternal grandmother advising her to cooperate. Upon receiving the letter, she came to the LRF office with the death certificate as had been requested and we went together to the Registrar’s Office where another letter was drafted and the maternal grandmother took it to Gokwe, which is the place of birth for the children. She came back with their birth certificates and identity documents! When I got the birth certificates, it was not difficult at all for my grand children to be enrolled at a nearby school. Maclean, who is now 20 had to go back to form 3 and Phumuzile, who is now 16, had to start form 1. My grandchildren are happy at school and they are excelling. I thought their future was doomed! I now advise my neighbors and church mates to visit the LRF if they need any legal assistance.