Our approach to this was not merely going in and paying their school fees. We work in partnership with the children, their parents and the teachers. We stretch each child’s levy as far as possible to create a centre of hope and education in healthy survival.
The fees have not only provided essential education materials and allowed over 1000 children back into school, we have also achieved the following:
Child Protection – an intensive workshop was held to provide training on child abuse, HIV/AIDS and health. Following this workshop the community has created systems in which sick or abused children can be given the help they need. Absenteeism and child abuse has reduced massively.
Water and Health – a new borehole and water pump has been installed providing clean, safe water and sanitation. There has not been a Cholera outbreak since!
Agriculture – training was delivered with an established farming foundation, giving parents and teacher’s insight into best agricultural practise to ensure the most gain with minimal expense, such as zero tillage, mulching and composting.
Building – during January 2013 we were devastated by the news that the school block the community had so caringly erected, was destroyed by severe weather and flooding, along with many villager’s huts. With the help of a qualified building teacher and thanks to donations of building materials we have been able to construct a solid, weather proof classroom block. Since the disaster, most classes are held under trees or unsafe shelter. We hope this new, secure classroom block will be just the beginning!!
School Development Committee – with our assistance the SDC has successfully applied for BEAM assistance from the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. This initiative gives orphans the help they need to pay fees and receive the necessary education materials, and it gives the school the income to sustain the programs we implement with them.
Help for disabled children – we have recently managed to highlight the plight of disabled children in the area to the Ministry of Education and local charities. Most notably for a 7 year old boy called Emmanuel who suffers from cerebral palsy and was left orphaned during 2012.
Exam results – 3 years ago 90% of children registered at the school were being sent home each term for non-payment of fees. Now our school and its pupils rate at no. 13 out of 100 in the district for passing exams.
WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE
We have only touched the surface of what still needs to be done. The school and these children need your support and help as poverty in this area is extreme. Please help us to achieve more!!
- A multi-functional building which can be used as a classroom block, facility for all aspects of children’s health, community/sports centre, vocational training centre. At the moment classes are held under trees in terrible heat and women are waiting to be a part of a health shelter for those who need assistance with HIV/AIDS in the area.
- Early Childhood Development training for teachers, and better materials for pre-school children.
- Agriculture Plot – we desperately need funding for a low-cost irrigation system to increase the garden size and provide nutritional security for starving and ill children, especially those with HIV/AIDS.
- Continue strengthening community-school links by making the school a hub of knowledge for the children and surrounding communities.
With unemployment being so high in Zimbabwe, jobs are rare especially in such a remote rural area, therefore we need to leave this community with the ability to provide for themselves in a healthy approach.