|The late Jairos Jiri|
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.