Situated in remote south-central Zimbabwe, this area was once plagued by many years of political upheaval, war, the HIV/AIDS scourge and economic collapse.
But villagers have put aside their political differences, and are working together for a better future as by building a secondary community school. The brain-child idea of Cecil Sibanda, who grew up in uMzingwane district and is currently based in United States-based, MlomoTsha secondary school will bring enormous relief to pupils who now travel long distances seeking education on a daily basis.
“Our children continue to suffer as they walk more than 10 kilometres a day in search of secondary education,” said Sibanda. The only local secondary schools are Mzinyathini and Mawabeni. Children from Tshalimbe, Longfield and Mlomoliwoto walk more than 10 kilometers to attend secondary school. This community has now decided to put that to a stop.
“I attended Tshalimbe Primary and Mzinyathini High School and I do not want our children to continue going through that painful life I experienced of waking up as early as 4 in the morning while dark during winter to travel long distances every day. At times it will be raining and you will not have any choice but going to school. Some girls have been raped on their way to school and this frequently touches my heart.
“I have been thinking about this project as far back as 2008. Initially I wanted to build the school in Tshalimbe, which is my home village, but I realised that is a district issue,” he said. Sibanda was also full of praise for the community, which has united for a better future.
“I am impressed by the large numbers of community members who are volunteering to help build the school. An old man from Mlomoliwoto village told me that he has never seen such support for a project since he was born. Some days more than a 100 volunteers show up for work. The community support has led this project to be a success story.”
He said chief Stanley Gwebu and his headmen had made the project to come into life as he donated 60 acres of prime land supported by uMzingwane Rural district Council. The ward councillor, Elijah Nkala (MDC-T) and the MP, William Dewa of Zanu (PF), are working hand-in- hand to make the project a success.
“We have respected community leaders Alsom Mbuyazwe and successful businessman Ellius Njani also making sure that this dream comes to life, along with the diaspora community members from this area. The important lesson learnt is that people may be bitterly divided along political lines, but when it comes to the education of their children they are united,” added Sibanda.
“At first everything looked very hard but when we started clearing the site I noticed that the sky is the limit for our community. I have never experienced such a unity of purpose in my life time. This school is a unitary tool for our communities,” said Nkala.
A young active community member, Patient Moyo is confident that the project will be a success. “We have cleared the site, started fencing it and are digging toilet pits. We will continue working hard until the school is officially opened. This is for our children and we appreciate that Sibanda brought such a baby to us. We are united for a better tomorrow and we continue working hard to see this initiative a success,” said Moyo. The school is set to be opened in January 2017.Post published in: Education