BEGGARS TURN TO ECOCASH
BEGGARS in Bulawayo have resorted to EcoCash after enduring months of walking up to 15km to their homes, mostly in the western suburbs, with “little or no coins’’ as the cash crisis in the country has affected their benefactors.
The people, who live mostly off alms from Good Samaritans on the streets, say they now accept electronic transfers on the popular mobile platform.
Zimbabwe has been battling cash shortages which have resulted in a surge in plastic and mobile money usage. Before the cash crisis worsened, the beggars used to carry small tins and people would drop coins but now hard cash has become a scarce resource.
Mr Melusi Nyoni (35), who begs by the Ross Camp gate along Basch Street, said he now struggles to pay rent and buy food because people who used to help him no longer have cash.
“I live in Lobengula and I pay $65 rent monthly. Recently I have been struggling to pay because most days I go back home without even a coin.
“My friend advised me to write my EcoCash number on a piece of paper so that people may know that l accept ecocash. This has worked wonders. I can get up to $20 in three days. Some people who have my number sometimes make transfers in the middle of the night,’’ he said.
Mr Nyoni said he does not know some of the people who transfer money to him but he appreciates their kindness.
Visually impaired Mrs Ntombizodwa Mabika, who sits at corner Jason Moyo and Third Avenue, said she now moves around with her mobile phone and her neighbour has put a message tone specifically for ecocash transfer confirmation messages on the cell phone.
“I then go to supermarkets where they tell me the balance in my wallet and I purchase food for my children,’’ she said.
Mr Tafi Dube (49), a visually impaired keyboardist who sits outside Pioneer House along Fife Street, said he now uses EcoCash.
“There is a cash crisis and it’s hard for people to get even a coin to pay for a kombi but if you have an EcoCash account they can transfer something into your account. I started using EcoCash recently,’’ he said.
Silibaziso Nkomo (7), a child who walks with his visually impaired father, said since they resorted to EcoCash, they can now afford buying lunch in town.
“Mostly we could spend the whole day without eating and I felt so hungry but now there are people who transfer money to dad’s phone and we buy food where they accept EcoCash,’’ she said.
A woman who declined to be named said she now has cellphone numbers of four visually impaired people whom she transfers money to on a monthly basis.
“I took their numbers and when I get my salary I put some money into the accounts. I don’t need my name to be published because I am ministering for God not to men,’’ she said.
A man who gives beggars money through EcoCash said: “I find this idea so innovative because sometimes you wish to help but cash shortages becomes a limiting factor,’’ he said.
A pastor from Eagle Life Church, Mr Paul Moyo, said society should remain honest and never get tempted to get the EcoCash pin codes of the visually impaired and rob them of their money.
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