Ex pupil inspires others to save school

Luckmore Mazoza is a member of the Junior Chamber International (JCI), a leading global network that aims to nurture and inspire active young citizens to create positive change within their own communities.

Association hands over donation to school authorities and local leadership.
Association hands over donation to school authorities and local leadership.

He first sold the idea of saving the school to his own family, former Mukamba students themselves. He then used his skills to convince other ex-pupils to come to the aid of the struggling school

“I had to convince my own family first before I could think of trying to convince others,” he recalls.

Social media

After successfully selling the idea to his three elder brothers and sister, Mazoza faced the mammoth task of tracing former students and selling his vision to them.

He said social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp were very useful as he reached out to communicate with former students.

“Social media just made this huge task so much easier. I used Facebook and WhatsApp to identify, reach out and talk to former students. I advised them of the situation at our former school and emphasised the need for us to step in as former students to rescue the school. People started buying into the idea and I went on to create a Facebook and WhatsApp group where we could sit down to discuss possible ways of helping,” he said.

This led to the establishment of the Mukamba High School Former Students Association (MHSFA) last year. Through its social media network, the association has managed to reconnect many former students dotted around the country and others who were outside the borders. Although many brilliant ideas were discussed in the two social media groups, implementation of the ideas was not that easy. Through the association, some former pupils agreed to make monthly contributions of $10 as a way to raise funds. Through this they managed to raise $300.

Needs Assessment

Mazoza, who was appointed administrator of the association, together with other members of the group travelled to Mukamba situated in Rwodzi village in Nyazura, Makoni West where they spoke to headmaster Leonard Mutibu.

After receiving the green light from him, the association conducted a needs assessment to prioritise what needed immediate attention at the school. The report highlighted a few priorities such as the reconstruction of two classroom blocks that had collapsed and were currently roofless and the Form One and Two classrooms where all windows were broken and where no doors existed.

Classrooms also had an acute shortage of chairs and desks with most of them being broken and in dire need of refurbishment as well as the imminent threat of termites facing the school buildings.

Low moral

The sad scenario at the school had become a major cause of low morale among teaching staff and students alike.

Mukamba was established in 1985, but only has four classrooms that were functional. The school has a total of 200 students with the Form One class having the highest enrolment of 70 students while the Form Four has 33 students.

Observations made by this reporter, when visiting the school recently, was the sad reality of a neglected institution on the verge of collapse.

Mukamba students do not have access to classes in practical subjects such as Woodwork, Metal Work and Technical Graphics like that offered by other schools despite the fact that the school has electricity.

Owing to the many challenges facing the school, the association decided to attend to immediate needs first taking note of the fast approaching winter season.

They funded the re-installation of doors and repair to all broken windows. Furthermore, they hired the services of a fumigator to rid the school of termites.

“We decided to settle these first because we wanted to shield the pupils from the winter season. It is obviously difficult for children to learn in a class without doors and windows in the middle of the winter season,” said Mazoza.

Gilbert Chadyemhunga travelled from Harare to view the association’s first efforts recently. “It feels good to be able to do something positive for those in need, let alone one’s former school. As a religious person that believes in prayer, I take this as the source of my blessings and will continue to support my former school,” said Chadyemhunga who was at Mukamba school from 1998 and 2002.

Prominent businessman Peter Chikwena, who was part of the pioneers between 1986 and 1989, said his donation was just part of better things to come. Other former students who gathered at the ground-breaking donation were Joseph Mazoza (1993-1996), Amos Mazoza (1991-1994), Memory Mazoza (1998-2000), Rogers and Grace Kugarahutsa among many others.

Local support

The association received overwhelming support from the local leadership as well. Headman, John Mungati expressed his deepest gratitude at the selfless attitude exhibited by the ex pupils.

“I am the happiest person in this village. This donation to Mukamba school shows that there are generous and thoughtful people who have decided to assist their former school at a time of great need.

“Not to say that these ex-pupils have it all. They are probably struggling just as much as we all are, but they saw it fit to share the little they do have to rebuild Mukamba and we are forever grateful for that,” said Headman Mungati, adding that there is still a lot that needs to be done at the school.

At the close of the meeting they had decided to repaint the Form One and Two Blocks as well as acquire new furniture for the Form Four class by August this year.

The painting will cost approximately $380 and they will need $600 for furniture.

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