Tag Archives: education

Tariro thanks Singing Wood Marimba!

Students of Singing Wood Marimba, in Santa Cruz, play Zimbabwean marimba music

In today’s post, I’d like to acknowledge a donation from students of Singing Wood Marimba, in Santa Cruz.  The global community of Zimbabwean music, including students and performers, has been one of Tariro’s major sources of support since our inception in 2003.  Combining a performing ensemble with a community music centre, Singing Wood Marimba has consistently supported Tariro by performing at benefit events, and through student contributions.  Thank you members of Singing Wood Marimba for your support!

I’ll be launching Tariro’s fall fundraising campaign this coming Monday.  As we move into fundraising season, I’d like to acknowledge the many other Zimbabwean marimba and mbira performers, schools, and groups that have supported Tariro.  Studying the dynamic, participatory marimba and mbira traditions of Zimbabwe is a wonderful way to learn more about African music and culture, and offers the chance to create cultural understanding through musical exchange.  I encourage all of our blog readers to contact the center or performing group nearest you, and learn how you can take a class!

Among the many groups that have supported Tariro are: the Zimbabwe Music Festival scheduled for Moscow, ID in 2012; the Kutandara Center in Boulder, CO; the Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center in Eugene, OR; Rubatano Marimba Center on Whidbey Island, WA; Pembera Youth Marimba in Cle Elum, WA; Chiroto Marimba Ensemble in Moscow, ID;  Kubatana Marimba in Albuquerque, NM; Anzanga Marimba in Seattle, WA; the Low Flying Knobs in Boulder, CO; Sadza Marimba and Kuzanga Marimba in Santa Cruz; Hokoyo Marimba and Kudana Marimba in Eugene, OR; Boka Marimba in Portland, OR; and Zuva Marimba, of Santa Fe.

Tariro sends a huge THANK YOU to all of the students, performers, and groups who continue to support our work educating and empowering young women in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS.  We couldn’t do it without you!

More highlights from the 2010 Annual Report!

From left to right, Grace, Sabine, Dion, and Lissa all finished high school with Tariro's support.

As promised, I’m following up on my first post detailing our successes in 2010, with more highlights from Tariro’s 2010 Annual Report.  Today, I’d like to focus on Tariro’s psycho-social support services, designed to enable students to focus on moving beyond their challenges and obstacles, and working toward realizing their future goals.

In low-income neighborhoods such as Epworth and Highfield, Tariro's students live in extremely vulnerable households, with little access to basic resources

As teenaged girls in communities deeply affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS, our students are among the most vulnerable young people in Zimbabwe.  In addition to coping with the death of one or both parents, our girls have to meet the daily challenges of living in neighborhoods with intermittent electricity and running water, and where average family incomes fall far below the poverty line.  As Tariro’s program coordinator, Fadzi, writes in the Annual Report:

Many of Tariro’s parents and guardians are informally employed, and earning on average $50-$100 per month. Most guardians do not own the houses they live in; hence most are paying rentals, of between $50 and $100 per month. The average school fees for a Tariro student in day high school is $90-$100 per term. Whilst the school fees structures have become more stable, and parents are allowed to sign up for payment plans, the fees are very high relative to the incomes of most guardians. Additionally, some of the parents and guardians are taking care of more than 2 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs).

While paying school fees in enough to get a student back in school, offering students psycho-social support services is also essential in ensuring their success, by enabling them to work through underlying issues related to grief, loss, and abuse.

In 2010, Tariro’s psycho-social support services included:

  • Our fifth annual Empowerment Camp, led by volunteer therapist Lauri Benblatt of Boulder, Colorado, was designed to encourage sponsored girls to reach their social and academic potential.  As in 2009, the Empowerment Camp was funded by a grant from the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Guidance counselor Peggy Samhaka speaks with Tariro students as part of our ongoing psycho-social support services

  • The introduction of ongoing counseling activities throughout the year in order to response to our students’ psycho-social needs outside of the context of the empowerment camp.  These included monthly group counseling sessions held by guidance counselor Peggy Samhaka and life skills coordinator Shepherd Wazara, open to all students enrolled in our programs.
  • One-on-one mentoring opportunities, which saw five Tariro students participate in the US Embassy’s mentoring program, centered around International Women’s Day, as well as 25 Tariro students paired with Zimbabwean undergraduate student mentors studying in the United States, through the USAPCares program.
  • Weekly traditional music and dance classes open to all students, providing girls with a safe environment to develop self-confidence, new skills, and positive relations with their peers.

Tariro’s mentoring, counseling, and empowerment activities are critical in enabling our students to develop the motivation, confidence, and abilities to succeed.

Show your support for Tariro! 

In the coming weeks, Tariro will begin raising money to support our students’ progress in 2012.  As we move into our fall fundraising season, please consider making a donation to support our work.  You can also join us on Facebook, and help spread the word about us to friends and family.  Getting involved with Tariro is a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of young women and girls in Zimbabwe!

Join Tariro at the annual Imagine That reunion and benefit!

Join Tariro on Saturday October 1st from 5-8pm at Friendly Street Church! The sliding scale for the event is $15-2o and it includes the dinner.

This is an event that we put on every year to raise money for our girls in Zimbabwe. All of the funds go to the girls that we sponsor who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS. The event will not only be fun but your presence will make a difference in a young girls life.


Friendly Street Church

2290 Friendly St

Eugene, OR

Ready for a fun event:

Just like last year, Chef Juke will be preparing a delicious meal for 200 with vegetarian or pulled pork options and two sides. As always, after the meal we will have a giant Sweet Life cake!
There will be live music by Scotty Perey with performances by the kids from Imagine That and youth marimba players from Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center.
Last but not least, there will be an incredible silent auction with amazing deals. We normally have impressive contributions from artists, service people, and market folk.
We hope to see you on October 1st for this great event. Each person that comes will be making a difference in a young girl’s life. Please help support Tariro and help us in our mission to educate and empower young women and girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

Jukwa performance by Tariro students

Filmed in 2009, this short clip shows students in Tariro’s traditional music and dance ensemble performing a rhythm called jukwa.  They are accompanied by Tariro’s wonderful music and dance instructor, Daniel Inasiyo.  Enjoy!

Good news from Tariro’s traditional music and dance ensemble!

Tariro girls dance wearing traditional magavhu leg rattles

In today’s post, I’d like to share news from Tariro’s traditional music and dance ensemble.  As my own personal history with Zimbabwean music led directly to the formation of Tariro, our traditional music and dance group is one of my favorite parts of our work.  Weekly rehearsals, led by master dancer Daniel Inasiyo, provide our students with a space to develop confidence, self-esteem, and social networks with their peers, in addition to gaining practical skills as musicians and dancers.  The traditional dance group has also led to great collaborative projects, such as our fundraising CD, Maungira EZimbabwe, as well as our ongoing partnership with the marimba group Hokoyo, in Eugene, OR.

Peer instruction is an important part of Tariro's traditional music and dance rehearsals

As our traditional music and dance group continues to develop, I’m happy to report that instructor Daniel Inasiyo recently shared some good news with us!  First, we’re very pleased to announce that several of Tariro’s newly enrolled students, who joined us in 2011, have joined the group, infusing rehearsals with new energy!  Several of these new students entered the group with a background in traditional music and dance, after having participated in an ensemble as part of their primary school education.  We’re happy to have a new group of musicians and dancers sharing their skills and experience with the rest of the ensemble!

New participants in the ensemble include many students with previous experience in traditional music and dance

Second, our ensemble is now officially registered with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.  Our official status at the arts council will assist us in working toward gaining recognition and visibility within Zimbabwe, as well as securing performance opportunities at cultural events, giving us a platform to share our wonderful work with other organizations and individuals in Zimbabwean civil society.  Finally, Daniel also reports that he has ordered a new set of costumes for the group, to replace our old costumes, originally purchased in 2008.  We can’t wait to share photos of the group in their new uniforms in the coming months!

The support Tariro receives from individuals, foundations, and organizations around the world is critical to our ability to offer this incredible empowerment program.  Thanks again for your donations, which enable us to pay school fees for girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as offering extracurricular activities like the traditional music and dance group!

Introducing Ashley B.’s Hero Story

Dedicating the story:

While Tariro is a non-religious based organization and works with girls of many different beliefs, many of the students have found support through their individual practices, such as Christian Protestantism. In Ashley B.’s story her faith is shown very clearly, as it is with many other girls who write about their beliefs.  Ashley decided to dedicate her Hero Story to Jesus Christ. She believes without him she wouldn’t have had the fortune of all the blessings in her life.

My hero is my Lord because he gave me my mother who takes care of me, my grandparents, trees which provide oxygen for my life and also Tariro organization. Thank you Lord.

Venturing to the past:

Ashley discusses in her story the hardships she has faced.

Going to school without school uniform and October 27, 2000 when I was 8 was the day that my father passed away.

Making progress for the future:

I am now in form four. I live with my ninez in Mhondoro. I always study my books in order to pass. My favorite subjects are Mathematics, Science, and English because I dream to be a nurse.

Hoping for the future:

This picture refers to my wedding day. May people come to celebrate my wedding day.

Continuing with blog posts:

Thank you for reading a story from one of the girls once again. It is amazing to me to see the themes within each story that really come out to show how the girls are similar but also different.

However even though I see commonalities between the girls when reading the stories I also see each girl as a unique individual that I am getting to know better through their personal story, just as I hope you are as well.

Looking specifically at Zimbabwe after the UN council meeting

The first case of HIV was discovered by scientists in June 1981, since then the epidemic has continued to grow. With it’s growth we have seen a numerous amount of deaths, but there have also been strives. Partners in Zimbabwe wrote an article about the HIV epidemic specifically related to Zimbabwe after the UN council meeting in New York. The article discusses Zimbabwe’s challenges, achievements, and opportunities.

Looking at the challenges Zimbabwe faces:

In the world Zimbabwe still has one of the highest HIV infection among all the countries. “It carries the third largest HIV burden in Southern Africa and has one of the highest rates of premature adult mortality, largely due to HIV-related illnesses.”

The second most significant source of new infections is mother to child transmission. “Approximately 1 in 3 infants born to HIV infected mothers are HIV infected.”

AIDS still remains a leading cause for death in Zimbabwe. “It is estimated that in 2010 alone 59,318 adults and 11,981 children died of HIV-related illnesses.” The other tragedy is that, “AIDS related deaths have left in their wake large numbers of orphans and vulnerable children: it is estimated that 25% of all children in Zimbabwe have lost to AIDS one or both parents.” However Zimbabwe is committed to achieving the goal of zero new infections.

“Latest estimates place the 2010 adult HIV prevalence at 13.13%, which brings the estimated number of people living with HIV to about 1.2 million, including 145,225 children under 15.”

Looking at Zimbabwe’s achievements:

Even though there are 1.2 million people living with HIV the percentage of new cases every year continues to decline. “The first cases of AIDS in Zimbabwe were reported in 1985. For the next decade, HIV prevalence continued to rise and peaked at 29% in 1997. HIV prevalence has fallen significantly since the late 90s, down to 16.06% in 2007 and further down to 14.26% in 2009.”

Zimbabwe has also done with with making the antiretroviral treatment more accessible to the people. “By the end of 2010, a total of 314,927 adults (60% female) with advanced HIV infection were on ART representing coverage of 54% based on the revised (2010) WHO guidelines, up from just 8.3% in 2005. A sizeable number of children were initiated on ART: 32,430 children were receiving ART by the end of 2010, which constituted about 37% of the total number of children in need of ART, which was estimated at 89,490. It is estimated that annual AIDS-related deaths decreased from 123,000 in 2006 to 84,000 at the end of 2009.”

Looking at the future:

Through all of these messages coming from different sources we all must stay positive and continue to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. It is troubling to see how many people are living with HIV, but it is inspiring to see how the number of new infections in decreasing.

It was interesting for me to see how many mothers pass on the condition to their children. Through seeing how many new children are infected I believe that it is more important now than ever for Tariro and organizations like it to continue sponsoring young girls and keeping them in school. Stopping the spread of HIV to these girls will not just stop with them, but if they succeed because having the ability to go to school they won’t be a part of the statistic of mothers that spread HIV to their children. The cure will not just come from an immediate solution, but a long term one in which we break the cycle of girls receiving the condition and spreading it on to their kids.

Looking back at the last 30 years

According to a recent article from PlusNews Global we have now reached the third decade since the first case of HIV was diagnosed. “An estimated 30 million people have died, another 34 million are living with the virus and an estimated 7,000 new infections occur every day.” However according to the article the news isn’t all bad. We have also seen a 25% decline between 2001-09 for the new cases of HIV. Also last year a record 1.4 million people started antiretroviral drugs. The article categorizes the successes as well as the failures for treating HIV in recent years. The following statistics have all been contributed a new report from UNAIDS.

Looking at the pure numbers:

- Between 1981 and 2000, the number of people living with HIV rose from less than one million to an estimated 27.5 million;

- In 2010, an estimated 34 million people were HIV-positive;

- The number of new infections has steadily declined, with the annual rate of new infections falling by nearly 25 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Treating the infections:

- Between 2001 and 2010, the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment rose nearly 22-fold, with an estimated 6.6 million people on treatment globally by December 2010;

- An estimated nine million people who qualified for ARVs did not receive them.

Looking at the future:

While we have seen an increase in the number of HIV cases we have also seen a decrease in the rate of new people being diagnosed. This statistics may seem overwhelming but it is important that we realize that in time we can continue to work towards a goal and solution.

I wanted to share these statistics with you because they remind me of how many lives are being affected in this world but also make me hopeful that in the future the rate of newly diagnosed will continue to decline.

It is Tariro’s mission to prevent the further spread of HIV by educating young girls. Through educating these girls we can make it less likely for them to fall in the same pattern as their parents did and help them to achieve a brighter future with education.

Thank you for reading this week!

Here is the link to the actual article if you’re interested in reading more: http://plusnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=92883

Understanding Zimbabwe: Statistics regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.


The county and its flag.


Hello readers! I hope that you liked last weeks post explaining the how the school system in Zimbabwe works. In this weeks post I want to take a look at the specific HIV/AIDS statistics in Zimbabwe. Looking up these statistics really put the epidemic into perspective for me and truly opened my eyes.

I would also like to talk about a personal story of one of our students, Ashley M., and talk about how HIV/AIDS has effected her life.

Astounding statistics in relation to Ashley M.:

Ashley’s story:

Ashley is attending Herentals college right now. Both of her parents have died, her mom January 31st, 2003; and her dad December 5, 2007. According to UCSF the year Ashley’s mother died there were 170,000 HIV/AIDS related deaths, and 140,000 the year her father died. Zimbabwe has a higher number of orphans, in proportion to its population, than any other country in the world, according to UNICEF. In fact, as many as 1 in 4 children in Zimbabwe are orphaned as a result of parents dying from AIDS.

After her parents died Ashley and her little sister Ellen moved in with their grandmother and two younger uncles. She said that some of the difficulties she faces is her relatives not having enough money to buy “food and soap.” But after Tariro began sponsoring her, “a lot changed.”

She said that after Tariro came into her life her, “school performance improved as well as her emotional state.” She began worrying less because she didn’t have to be concerned about finding ways to pay her school fees. According to UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), in 2009 there were 1,000,000 children orphaned by AIDS. Sadly only 95,000 of those students went to school. But Ashley is now one of them because of Tariro’s support.

At the end of Ashley’s interview she said something very moving, “I will be different than the other children who didn’t have the chance to go to school.”

Ashley is one example of an orphan is Zimbabwe who is effected by losing parents to HIV/AIDS. If you look at the thousands of people who died in the same years as her parents it becomes astonishing to think about how many children are effected and go through life changing events because of this epidemic.

Thinking about these statistics:

Going beyond the statistics and relating it back to Tariro’s mission sheds some light on how important our work is. Out of the 95,000 orphans that are attending school, only 39,000 of those are girls. Tariro’s work continues to be more important than ever with us sending girls to school each year and helping make that number a bit higher.


Once again I thank you for your support by just doing the reading. Learning these statistics really opened my eyes. To realize how big the scale is and how many people are effected makes me even happier that I am participating in Tariro’s work.

Explaining education: How Zimbabwe’s education system works.

A group of Tariro's secondary students model their uniforms.


Hello readers! I hope that you are all doing well. In this weeks post I wanted to explain how the education system in Zimbabwe works. The reason I chose to cover this topic is because I think it’s important that people get a more in depth understanding of our work. I am trying to go beyond the mission statement of, “educating and empowering young women and girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS,” and expand on that. I understand the school system can be confusing, but understanding it is the next vital step in knowing the work. Beyond supporting young girls, I hope this helps you to understand why we would pick the age group that we do, and give you a better understanding of these girls lives.

Explaining some history:

Zimbabwe gained independence from colonial rule in April 1980. At that time most of the people in the country didn’t have the resources to go from primary to secondary schooling, which stopped them from continuing their education. Since then, the educational system has expanded; however, there is still a huge discrepancy between the private schools and the government funded schools.

The school system in Zimbabwe consists of seven years of primary school and six years of secondary school. When these 13 years are completed a student can then move on to University. The school year for Zimbabwean students runs from January through December. The terms are three months each and they are all broken up by one month holidays. The students take their national examinations during the third term in November.

Defining primary school:

Primary school is the first seven years of the 13 year education. Most of the children begin grade one when they are six, however there are a few that start when they are five or seven. There is a difference in the first few years of school between rural and urban environments.

In rural schools the children begin being taught reading and writing in their native tongue but by grade 3 they are switched over to English. For children in urban areas they begin being taught in English with the other languages being taught as other courses. During the seventh year students take examinations in: “Mathematics, English, Shona or Ndebele and Content, which is a combination of sciences and social sciences.”

Defining secondary school:

A rural secondary school in Mhondoro, where Tariro has sponsored several students.

When students are entering secondary school they compete for places in private and mission schools depending on how well they did on their seventh grade exams. There are two levels to secondary school: “O” level which is four years, and “A” level which is two. There are certain forms for each level. “O” level consists of forms I-IV, which “A” level consists of forms V-VI. There are certain curriculum for each form and once a student gets through form IV and is ready to move onto form V it becomes very competitive. Only those students with very high marks manage to get into “A” level courses.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Harare the “A” level courses are made up of, “science, commercial and art subjects.  The vast majority of students take three subjects at “A” level, with a few very gifted students opting for four subjects.” At the end of their “A” level curriculum when the students work is graded there are certain scores that are equivalent to college credit, just like AP classes.

Helping make a difference:

It is important to understand the education system in Zimbabwe to understand why Tariro’s work is vital. In many situations children will get out of primary school and not be able to move on to secondary school. This especially effects the girls who have been orphaned by losing parent/s to HIV/AIDS. I am happy to say that through Tariro’s work we are making the problem a little bit smaller everyday by helping send 50 girls to school each year.

Now Tariro likes to focus on sending girls to secondary school as the primary goal, however we do have some girls that are in college right now. We had one girl, Pauline K, finish university last year, but we have two currently enrolled. Tatenda C. is currently a freshman in university and Daphine S. was just awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Venda.

Supporting students beyond secondary school:

The US Embassy in Harare is really trying to make a contribution to the gifted children in Zimbabwe who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend University. Through the embassy there is a program called USAP (United States Achiever Program). The students that are selected for this program, “undergo an intensive yearlong program that assists them to negotiate and finance the process of obtaining full scholarships to study at U.S.”

This is another great program working in Zimbabwe to help children. For this reason I thought I would give a short blurb about it for you, the readers, in case it’s another initiative you might be interested in.

Thank you:

Thank you for taking the time to read about the education system is Zimbabwe. I certainly learned a lot when researching it. I hope that this has been informational and interesting. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Megan Bauer

Special Note:

There is a women named Hazel Zengeni who is studying at MIT right now. She went through the education system is Zimbabwe and has worked with Tariro girls. She is going to be writing a piece about her experience with the education system and I will be posting that to the blog!


Zimbabwe’s education system: http://www.bibl.u-szeged.hu/oseas_adsec/zimbabwe_sec.htm

US Embassy’s explanation of education: http://harare.usembassy.gov/zimbabwe_educational_profile.html