Fall Fundraising Campaign 2015

 Dear Friends –

It’s hard to believe how far we have come. Whether you have been supporting Tariro for years or are a new supporter, your donations make a life-changing difference to Tariro’s students. Our girls are now making it into university and excelling in ways we never imagined! With Zimbabwean news suggesting an increase in the number of students unable to pay their school fees, your donations continue to help our girls both with grade level fees and with their university fees. Your help makes a radical difference to their future.

Pamela’s story – From high school to university with Tariro!

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Pamela is the younger sister of our first-ever university student, Pauline. After the loss of her mother in 2000 and the expenses her father incurred raising her older siblings, Pamela struggled finding a permanent home and going to school. Tariro was able to help Pamela get into a boarding school where she did not have to worry about a roof over her head and was able to pass all her Ordinary Level exams.

Today, Pamela attends Harare Polytechnic College and is majoring in Urban Planning. She doesn’t have to worry about tuition payment because your donations make it possible for Tariro to cover her costs. She has a work-study trade, where she receives a small stipend as Tariro’s Librarian. It is young women like Pamela who inspire us to continue what we are doing.

Help us educate other girls like Pamela!

As the new school year begins in Zimbabwe, I encourage you to contribute to Tariro’s work with students like Pamela. While we need to raise a large sum– about $10,000 – even a small gift has a major impact:

  • $30 will provide a student with school supplies (pens, paper, and sanitary ware) for the year.
  • $80 will provide a student with a new uniform, including shoes, socks, pants/skirt, shirt and tie.
  • $100 will cover the annual cost for a student to participate in Tariro’s music and dance ensemble.
  • $150 will enable a student to write her Ordinary or Advanced Level exams, which are required for further study
  • $300 will cover the annual school fees for one secondary student
  • $900 will pay for one semester for one student at university.

You can donate to Tariro online through our Fall Fundraising Campaign site  or via our website.  You can also mail your donations directly to PO Box 50273, Eugene, OR, 97405. Thank you once again for your support and don’t forget to stay updated with all of Tariro’s endeavors and like Tariro on Facebook!

Without your assistance, it is unlikely our girls would complete their basic and high school education – much less go to university! Your donation is the difference between a life of poverty and hardship and a future filled with hope. Your gift means everything. The students attending university with Tariro’s help are now role models to our high school students. As one of these current university students, Pamela could not have made it without you – WE THANK YOU.

A Strong Desire for Change

Quite simply, these students and their teachers are all motivated with a desire for change in their lives! I mentioned in my last post that many of Patience’s students are orphaned, poor, hungry or struggling to succeed, but they keep coming back because they know that this is the only way for them to succeed. Although these children are not in the best of situations, they still have people who love, care and worry for them. Teachers, like Patience, are continuously caring for their students. Patience explained how on a daily basis they must deal with students who have fainted. She said the teachers try to bring a little bit of food everyday but it is VERY hard because of their poor salaries. When teachers report that students are fainting and hungry, the higher administration usually speak to the guardian about the need to feed their children but it is usually impossible to ensure.

When I asked whether successful students ever came back, Patience replied that they usually ended up moving to other countries with better economies and jobs. Some may think that this would result in a lack of connection or role models, but in fact students treat these stories, of emigrated workers, as their motivation to go further in their education. One year, Patience’s former student became a teacher at her school and she was proud to introduce him as an example to other students that they too can do better.


Patience has a familiar yet unique story about what continues to motivate her. Patience stated, “I lost my brother. I know the pain of  orphans. I feel for others. I know that it hurts, so if people come to me, why not help others? No one should suffer, I can help.” Patience helps cares for four of her nieces and nephews. One of them, a girl named Gillian, has been sponsored by Tariro since 2010, after her father passed away. Another two of her nieces, who had already finished secondary school by the time their father died, received Econet Scholarships for university level study. Their brother is also partially sponsored by a group of American Students at Shona Music. If it weren’t for these opportunities, it would have been impossible for Patience to financially support each child’s educational needs.

YOU can help!

Patience is grateful for all the help she received and wishes there were more sponsorship opportunities for Zimbabwean students. In our interview, Patience made a direct appeal for people to help Zimbabwe. If you can, please donate to support Tariro’s School Program, which enables orphaned and vulnerable girls to stay in school! Please also share this post to help Tariro spread awareness about Zimababwe!

Past and Present: The Struggles of Zimbabwean Students and Teachers

You open your eyes to a group of people looking at you. Your stomach aches and your head is pounding. This feeling is all too well known. You have passed out. Not for the first, and certainly not for the last time. You slowly get up and your teacher tries to comfort you, but you can see in her eyes the pain and worry. Students fainting is not uncommon in Zimbabwean Schools; in fact this is too frequent of a thing that Patience Munjeri, a high school teacher in Zimbabwe, constantly must face at work.

A Not-so-Great Blast from the Past… And a Look at the Present

Two years ago we were able to interview Patience Munjeri about the economy and financial status of schools in Zimbabwe. We learned that students were struggling to pay for their school fees and teachers were being paid close to nothing for their work. We heard that Econet, the cell phone provider, was one of the only organizations that helped students pay for tuition. We learned about “Civics Day,” where students could pay to not wear uniforms in order to raise funds for supplies the school may need. There were a lot of concerns about the importance of funds as well as the health of these students.

Let’s take a look into those same issues now. The economy is even worse than two years ago. Econet is still one of the only national organizations helping fund scholarships for children to go to school. Civics Day no longer exists because most students are well below the poverty line; therefore they could not afford to pay for Civics Day, and would stay home. Teachers are getting paid even less than two years ago, and in July three hundred of the nation’s teachers were not paid at all. At the same time, teachers are being held more accountable for lateness or taking off work. Making matters worse, there is a drought occurring this year. Zimbabwean families usually grow their own staple foods, but without water their grain production has been low. People are suffering more than you can imagine.

Children Struggling to Obtain Success


            Children are told from a young age in Zimbabwe something we are all familiar with: Education will help you gain a better future. Yet there is a high death rate in Zimbabwe from HIV leaving many students orphaned and making it harder for students to pay for uniforms, fees and/or books. Many students drop out because they do not have the money to pay for their examination fees, or must work in order to pay for other living expenses. Patience explained to me that it is mostly middle and high school students dropping out. Boys often drop out to work as mini-bus conductors helping drivers collect tickets for people traveling.  Most girls who drop out become house maids, which are really tough jobs and can expose girls to abuse from the people they work for. Dropping out, however does not help them escape the life of hunger and struggles, so children make every attempt to stay in school.

Even though children go to school because their future relies on it, most of the time they cannot concentrate because of their hunger pains. While some schools provided lunch in Zimbabwe, it is not free. Either students have to find money on top of the struggle to pay fees, uniform and books or they starve.

Throughout our interview, Patience repeatedly stated how hard things are in Zimbabwe, both for teachers and students. So what motivates people to carry on, in spite of these difficulties? Stay tuned, because this will the subject of my next post!

Spare a thought for that child in Zimbabwe!

Zimbabwe has had it’s fair share of economic challenges with HIV/AIDS, massive unemployment, growing urban and rural poverty being the order of the day.The woes bedeviling this beautiful nation are no secret and recently, things took a new twist with the mass job terminations that resulted from a Supreme court ruling that allowed companies to terminate their employee’s contracts on three months notice without benefits.  As much as 22 000 workers lost their jobs in less than a month.  We have witnessed heads of households losing their source of income. In Zimbabwe it is typical for one to be the breadwinner, not only for one’s immediate family but for members of the extended family as well hence the domino effect is felt by everyone.

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Zimbabwe on the African map

In addition to that, there have  been demolitions of illegal dwellings in the capital city, Harare, reminiscent of the 2005  “Operation Murambatsvina” by the local authorities. So far, hundreds of houses have been destroyed leaving many families homeless and destitute.

Amidst this doom and gloom, one wonders  what is to become of the Zimbabwean child.  Many children now live in abject poverty with or without guardians. The Social safety net is well-worn porous. Many children have dropped out of school, due to lack of funding. We have witnessed  young girls turning to prostitution, as a way of fending for themselves thereby risking their health and lives to HIV/AIDS. In short, things are not looking good for the Zimbabwean youth and the nation in general.

As Tariro, we are obliged to act in support of the orphaned and vulnerable children to ensure they are empowered through  uninterrupted access to quality education. At the moment, our offices are inundated with applications and pleas from desperate parents and guardians seeking to have their children enrolled into our educational support program. Just like our name means, we have the ‘hope’ of a brighter future for our youth and our nation. Please  take a moment to to spare a thought for that child suffering because she has no one to fend for her, that child whose guardian no longer has a source of income and that child whose home has been destroyed.

Nowhere to go: young children look at their former home now reduced to rubbles. (Picture Credit; Aaron Ufumeli, Newsday)

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”
  — Stacia Tauscher, dancer and artist 

Another reason why Tariro strives to empower girls and women!

Today I  share with you an article by Jackie Mbaiwa Makuvatsine, who writes for the NewsDay in Zimbabwe, the article was published in the NewsDay of 29 July 2015 and is published here with full permission from the newspaper…

DSCF3499 (2015_03_11 23_19_10 UTC)                                                     Full of hope: Tariro girls!

DRESSED in cream blazers with different ribbon colours at the arms and collars, the Junior Parliament members in Zimbabwe look superb and determined. These youngsters look to the future with curiosity and fortitude; it looks so bright they do not dream of anything deterring them.

News about adolescent girls in Zimbabwe has been reported to a large extent recently, after prosecutor-general Johannes Tomana revealed what is in the Zimbabwean constitution, which women and a large chunk of the populace did not know, that 12-year-olds can consent to sex.

This did not go down well with women and girls’ organisations and they called for the ouster of the prosecutor-general.

This has also exposed how active adolescent girls are in sexual activities; this is in contrast to the country’s culture which expects girls to abstain from sexual activities till they are married.

Experts have cited that when comparing rural and urban girls, those living in the rural areas are twice as much affected by teenage pregnancies as statistics show that 144 per 1 000 girls in rural areas fall pregnant as compared to 70 per 1 000 urban girls.

There were reports late last year of a sharp increase in teenage pregnancy with “92% of all sexually active girls aged 15 to 19 being in some form of a marriage”, due to cultural or religious norms.

Statistics obtained from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Zimbabwe indicate that child pregnancy for the past five years has sharply increased with most pregnancies being recorded in rural areas.

To reduce the increase of child pregnancies, a representative from UNFPA said: “As UNFPA we advocate for delayed sexual debut for young people and continued availing of the right set of information, skills and services to allow young people to make health and informed sexual and reproductive health choices to enable them to realise their potential in life.”

Teenage pregnancy is a serious issue that may seriously impact the future of a young woman. Any teen pregnancy will be a challenge as teens typically lack skills needed to handle a pregnancy and motherhood.

A teen pregnancy may also impact the baby. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute of the United States, notes that babies born to teens may have weaker intellectual development and lower skill set scores at kindergarten. They may also have ongoing medical issues and behavioural issues.

Education may be put on hold when a teen becomes pregnant. Some pregnant teens may decide to leave high school. Others who were planning to attend college in the future may put off that experience after becoming pregnant. They may decide to focus on the baby or getting married rather than pursuing further education.

Uncertainty about the future may arise when a teen is pregnant. A teen may feel she does not have enough knowledge to be a mother. She may also have fears about how having a baby will impact her own life and dreams for the future.

Once their baby is born, teenagers may not be willing or able to give it the undivided attention it needs. A teen may not be an adequate mother because she is overwhelmed by the constant needs of the baby. She may grow annoyed at the lack of freedom to interact with her peer group due to the baby.

Financial difficulty may arise during a teen pregnancy or after the baby is born. It is expensive to raise a baby. Teens who do not have full-time employment may struggle to cover the basic expenses of life upon having a baby.

Tariro students excel: get recognition!

One  wise man once said that good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished like a priceless diamond. Today,  I am sharing a piece of good news concerning two of our beneficiaries, Moleen and Melody. For most of you who have been following our posts, you may already be familiar with these two.


Moleen in her school uniform

Councilor Moleen

Well, there is Moleen, who is currently doing her Lower Six (from 5) at Harare High school. She has been recently sworn into the Junior Council. This is a form of local government run by juniors, usually lower six students, and it runs parallel to the senior council. Through the Junior Council   the young people of the City of Harare have a means by which they may make known their opinions and feelings, and are encouraged to participate actively in the affairs of the City. Naturally those appointed to council positions have to be smart, show a genuine concern for their community, display leadership qualities and be willing to dedicate to the demanding program.

Moleen’s will to win and desire to succeed have, in  no doubt, played a major role in her getting to such levels. We believe through  her, empowerment is going to reach many other youths.

Melody’s big heart rewarded

Melody is our student in her second year at the University of Zimbabwe. She recently received an award from the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof  Nyagura for  being helper of the year.  Melody volunteered to be an assistant to a fellow student who is blind. Melody’s commitment and dedication to helping this and other handicapped students saw her being voted for the award. The electors were handicapped students at the university.

As Tariro we are  happy and gladly invite you to share the joy. For melody and Moleen, we are happy for your milestones and may the spirit of giving back to the community continue to dwell in you.

Melody in 2009


Life Skills workshop for Tariro Beneficiaries


Posing for a photo: Tariro staff and beneficiaries alongside TYDA facilitators



Tariro recently held a life skill workshop to complement the current support that we have for our beneficiaries. As you might be aware, Tariro’s beneficiaries’ backgrounds are mostly characterized by poverty and family instability/dysfunction. This situation is also compounded by limited resources both at home and at school. This situation leaves most of them in danger of failing not only academically but socially and economically as well.

Held in conjunction with Transformative Youth Development Association (TYDA), a local school based organization for youth empowerment, the workshop aimed to equip our beneficiaries with an adaptive and positive behavior that will enable them to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. We had facilitators touching on decision-making, problem solving, interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, assertiveness, HIV/AIDS among other issues.

The beneficiaries particularly enjoyed the participatory approach that the workshop took. There were  lots of fun activities designed to engage the beneficiaries. As one of our beneficiaries, Bertha M, put it “…I now have greater self-esteem and self-confidence.”

At Tariro, we strongly believe in the moulding of a wholesome individual with both academic and social competencies!

Below are some photos from the workshop;


A beneficiary participates in a lesson on “Decision making”


A section of beneficiaries engrossed with the proceedings. 



Gillian ( with white-blood-cell tag) pushes Brenda in a demonstration of how white blood cells fend off infections during a lesson on HIV/AIDS.