HARARE, Zimbabwe – An elderly home opened by Britain’s Princess Diana in a Zimbabwe township during her African charity crusades has run out of money nearly two decades after its opening, workers at the home said.
The Society for the Aged Destitute has had to reduce the number of elderly given shelter with only a few months of funding left, administrator Louise Allaart said. She said the home has space for 50 people but can only care for 24.
After years of economic meltdown in this southern African country, those turned away from the home resort to the surrounding litter-strewn streets where homeless elderly dressed in rags beg for money and scavenge for food scraps and anything of value.
The home’s grounds are overgrown and a bedroom wing has been shut down. The residents stream into a bare eating room holding battered tin plates. Two well-wishers have brought them food, and there are broad smiles in the line for the cornmeal staple, rice and beef.
“We still have good people in Zimbabwe,” Allaart said.
Allaart met Princess Diana at the home in 1993 and said she touched the hearts of everyone she met.
“I was so impressed with her. She had contact with people. It was absolutely amazing. She had that gift. I want her children to know she touched many people’s hearts in Zimbabwe,” she said.
The late Princess Diana opened the home in 1993 as patron of the British-based HelpAge charity.
British embassy officials in Harare told The Associated Press that they have begun looking at possible ways to help the home.
Allaart said the home is relying on donations from well-wishers but has only enough cash in hand to stay open for less than six months.
The British charity HelpAge cut its funding in 2008 at the same time as foreign
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