HARARE, Zimbabwe — Primary and secondary school students in Zimbabwe will benefit from a donation of 30,000 children storybooks from Merck Foundation in partnership with Zimbabwe’s first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.

The storybooks titled “Tudu’s Story”, “Educating Rujeko Story”, and “Make the Right Choice Story” were handed over to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on June 21 by Mnangagwa and Senator Rasha Kelej, chief executive of Merck Foundation.

“These storybooks convey important lessons of life, like supporting girls’ education; emphasize on the right family values of love and respect, to break infertility stigma; and raise awareness about coronavirus and inspire hard work and honesty from a young age,” said Mnangagwa, who is the ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother.

“Furthermore, these books will instill reading culture in young children.”

Merck Foundation More Than A Mother is a movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education, and a change of mindsets.

“Donating 30,000 storybooks to young readers, school students of Zimbabwe which were handed over by Zimbabwe First Lady will make a great impact to create a culture shift and sensitize children and adolescence about health and sensitive topics in their communities,” said Kelej who is also the president of Merc Foundation More Than A Mother.

Rasha Kelej (right), CEO of Merck Foundation, with Zimbabwe’s first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who is also president of Merck Foundation. (ANI)

Tudu’s Story emphasizes strong family values of love and respect from a young age, reflecting on eliminating the stigma of infertility and resultant domestic violence in the future.

Make the Right Choice aims to raise awareness about coronavirus prevention amongst children and youth as it provides facts about the pandemic and how to stay safe. It also promotes honesty, hard work, and the ability to make the right choices even during the most challenging times.

Educating Rujeko covers the importance of empowering girls through education.

“I hope this story will inspire every girl to fight for her right of education and encourage our communities to support education young underprivileged but brilliant girls so that they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams,” said Kelej.

Merck Foundation, through its partnership with Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health, has transformed the patient care landscape of the country by providing scholarships to more than 100 Zimbabwean doctors.

More doctors will benefit from more scholarships in different critical and underserved specialties in the next five years.

Together with Zimbabwe First Lady, Merck Foundation has also introduced six important awards for media, fashion, film, and music fraternity after the success of the previous editions of the same awards in 2020 and announce the winners together.

“We recently celebrated 11 winners of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother Media Recognition Awards 2020 through an online award ceremony. We are now very excited to launch our new awards together with my dear sister Her Excellency,” said Kelej.

The deadline for applications is Aug. 30, 2021, and Sept. 31, 2021, depending on the categories.

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Kipchumba Some and Amrita Das)

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