Reaching out to the rural vulnerable

As the heavy wind blows, it threatens to carry away the rusty metal roof sheets that are loosely patched. There are no window-panes in most of the blocks and the children learn while seated on floor. The buildings are crumbling and the toilets are in bad shape.

Welcome to Chimuduro primary school, perched on a mountain in Makoni West. The state of affairs at this school is a microcosm of the situation facing the country’s rural education system.

There is hope, however. An American-based charity, Compassion for African Villages (CAV), is aiming to reach out to rural schoolchildren in Zimbabwe and give them access to better facilities and technology.

Established in 1979, Chimuduro primary school is one of the least developed schools in Manicaland, and possibly the country as a whole. The pupils are mainly the children of poor farm labourers. However, schools like this are set to become models for what can be achieved

CAV is now committed to improving the school, which was attended by its late founder, Tsitsi Mutseta. Mutseta, who died in October 2013 after a seven-year battle with breast cancer, had started charity work to improve the school while attending San Diego State University.

Professor Mark Wheeler, the new CAV president, visited and toured the school last week and said plans were afoot to start the rebuilding work.

“The situation here has touched my heart. It is sad that students are learning in such deplorable conditions. CAV can give assurance to you of its commitment to refurbish this school to meet modern standards,” said Wheeler.

“That is what the charity founder, Tsitsi, wanted for this community, and I know local people and the pupils at this school will also be pleased. We believe that the buildings will match the best in the country,” added Wheeler.

“Our charity works with those in the San Diego community and elsewhere to raise money to improve the lives and living conditions of those less fortunate than us. We are dedicated to improving the lives of men, women and children in African countries who do not have the means to do so themselves.

“Our current projects are going towards giving the orphans an education, providing them with clean water, suitable living conditions, and slowing the progression of disease,” Wheeler said.

About 60 per cent of the pupils at Chimuduro are vulnerable.

Makoni West House of Assembly member Kudzi Chipanga, said CAV was also going to help build a rural health centre. People travel about 10km to get medical treatment at the moment.

“Obviously we are delighted that the refurbishment of this school will create a much conducive learning environment to our school children,” Chipanga said.

“This is one of the poorest schools in the Makoni district and this gesture came at the right time.”

Wheeler said that the CAV package would also see the revamp of staff accommodation and electrification of the entire campus.

Post published in: Education

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