Graham, Belinda, Dave and June have recently returned from their trip to Zimbabwe to visit the Early Childhood Education school in Trenance which many of you contribute to.
It was so encouraging to see the school in action again and meet the dedicated staff. We have a new member of staff in addition to the original four. She is “Aunty Lucy” and is a fully qualified teacher, as required by the government in order to get the school registered. Registration is a long and drawn out process (as are all things in Zim) but Taurai and Taps are working hard to make it happen.
We met the new intake of children (all very scrummy!) and were able to see the New curriculum brought in last year, being taught. The teachers have had to make significant changes to line up with what is required of them now, but have embraced change with a good heart. They have a packed timetable so have increased the time the children are at school to fit it all in. They start at 8am and finish at 1pm. It’s a long morning for the youngest of the children and they have less time to play. We talked about the importance of keeping Jesus at the Centre and not getting bogged down with what is required and reminded them of the importance of praying together as a team and with the children.
↑ The new intake of children
The day we first visited the school the children were all outside practicing for an inter school sports day. They had made a running track and were practicing running, a sack race, throwing and bowling the tyre. A group were also practicing for a “mass display” which involves marching and chanting led by a parent who came in on the children’s day off to train them! We also witnessed one of the girls from ECD B (5years old) recite a poem, written by Samu in English, from memory. Amazing!
↑ ECD A
↑ ECD B
↑ A group practicing for mass display
↑ Snack time
The teachers had noticed a difference in this years intake in that some of the children are arriving at school hungry, a direct result of the economic situation in the country, unemployment and family break up. The food the children receive mid morning is so important for them.
We also visited the local Primary school where the children graduate to once they have completed their time in ECD. The Headteacher is always pleased to see us and talked about the challenges she faces working in such a deprived area. Obviously she is very grateful for the children we sponsor as she is guaranteed to receive their termly fees. She also takes some responsibility for the oversight of the ECD in terms of the curriculum and standards.
She arranged for all of the children we sponsor to come out of class to have their photos taken and it was lovely to see them all. The first group to go through the ECD are now in Grade 4!
We also sponsor the children of the teachers and some other older children so it was great to catch up with them too. Ma Phiri’s son achieved 5 ‘O’levels and is studying for 2 more subjects at another school because his school did not offer them, as he wants to be a lawyer. Happiness who is an orphan and had missed a year of school after her mother died is now catching up with her studies. We had the privilege of taking her to the shops to buy her a winter uniform and a mountain of school books and her friends Tendai and Takunda are taking ‘O’ levels this year to name but a few. None of this would have happened without your support.
All the staff, children and church leaders asked us to pass on our thanks to you as individuals and as King’s Church for what you have done and are doing to improve their lives. They know they can never repay you but say they will work hard and do their best to make you proud!
To find out more about our child sponsorship program in Zimbabwe visit our Inkosi Kids webpage.