If you’re taking your kids to the last couple of days of the Harare Agricultural Show, you’ll be happy to know that Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has been making the Show safer for children this year. They’ve been tagging every child below the age of 13 as they enter the show grounds.
The tag, which is put on the child’s right hand, contains contact details of their parents or guardians in case they get lost, a high possibility at an event that attracts thousands of people daily.
This follows a tragic incident two years ago when three-year old Given Matapure went missing during the agricultural show. His remains were only found a year later.
ZRCS Marketing and Public Relations manager Takemore Mazaruse explains: “As we tag children we educate them to go straight to our volunteers who are always moving around the Exhibition Park in the event that they get lost.”
Experienced counselors give lost children psychological and social support while the organisation tries to contact their parents or guardians. They use the Show’s public address system to locate lost children or their parents.
ZRCS is working with the Zimbabwe Republic Police from Milton Park, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society and the Matapure family in this initiative.
“So far we have managed to tag over 8,000 children and have reconnected four children with their families,” said Mazaruse. One of the found children was mentally challenged.
“I am very grateful to Red Cross for this great initiative. I am really happy I managed to get my child back after I had lost him at the amusement park,” said the parent of a 5 years old boy who went missing yesterday.
The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is funding the program, although volunteers mainly run it. ZRCS is calling on any individual or organisation who would like to help to make the agricultural show safer for children to chip in with whatever resources they have.
“We do not want this to be only a program for the agricultural show but any major events that attract many people,” said Mazaruse.
ZRCS is also providing medical services to those who are injured or fall sick during the Harare Agricultural Show. They have first aid teams stationed at various points around the show grounds and a well-equipped medical centre at their stand in the Exhibition Park.