Harare West’s “Unsung Heroine”

If you listened to School on the Air for grade ones and twos in the late 60s and 70s, it was the voice of Dr Joyce Childs you heard teaching through the airwaves. Though she is British she has lived and worked in Zimbabwe for more than 40 years.

Dr Joyce Childs.
Dr Joyce Childs.

Harare West MP Jessie Majome described Childs as a role model for other women, saying she had contributed immensely to the teaching of infants, and revolutionised how young learners should be taught.

“She has made the constituency proud with her achievements,” Majome said.

Childs was born in 1926. She witnessed World War II in her early teen years and at the tender age of 19 she was posted to Hope Fountain Mission near Bulawayo in the then Rhodesia.She took a keen interest in the infants. In those days there were not many women teachers, meaning youngsters did not have the nurturing touch of a mother.

In 1966 she got a job in the Ministry of Education and began her infant education broadcasts. She went on to obtain further qualifications and lecture on education at the University of Zimbabwe.

She retired in 1986 to study Theology and Biblical Studies. Four years later she was ordained as a minister at the United Congregation Church in Eastlea. After 10 years as minister of the gospel she retired in 2000.

Even after her retirement she was still interested in children, and formed a play group in Mabelreign.

“Due to old age Dr Childs has relocated to Sengezi Mission, where she is living with Catholic nuns. She never married and has no children, but her contribution to the education of infants has inspired many teachers and learners alike, and will continue to positively impact on generations to come,” Majome added.

Post published in: Africa News

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