Looking back at 2015

IMG_2877Dear Tariro supporters,

Thank you so much for your continued support for Tairo: Hope and Health for Zimbabwe’s Orphans!  You make such a huge difference in the lives and futures of the girls we support.  I’m so proud of our students this year – they have been working hard at their studies and many have won awards and accolades and been selected for leadership positions at their schools! Our 2015 Annual Report is full of highlights from 2015 — please click here to read the full report.

A big first for Tariro in 2015 was taking part in the international giving movement, #GivingTuesday on 1 December – and what a success it was!  Between donations made that day and over the course of the Fall Fundraising Campaign, we hit and exceeded our funding goal!  Between online donations, checks mailed to our PO Box, and benefit events over the holiday season, you helped us raise more than $10,000.  Wow.  On behalf of our students, we are so grateful – Thank you!

In 2015, Tariro supported a total of 34 students enrolled at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. The number of students we supported has decreased significantly over the past few years because of the increase in students who have been admitted to university.  As we move into the future, Tariro will be actively seeking partnerships and scholarship opportunities for our students who are accepted to university so as to be able to build up our numbers of secondary school students again. The cost of sending one student to university is about the same as sending six students to secondary school, so we need to find new funding partners to join with us in supporting our university students.

Core to Tariro’s mission is helping girls finish secondary school – this is because this age group is the most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, and staying in school is one of the single most important ways to bring down the risk of contracting the disease. I’ve seen several articles lately about the continued problem of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, and I am reminded that by keeping girls in school and providing a safe, caring community for them to learn about HIV prevention, Tariro – with your help – is contributing to the solution.

The biggest change for Tariro in 2016 will be welcoming a new Executive Coordinator to take the helm of Tariro’s programs in Harare.  We had to say goodbye in December to our previous coordinator, Kenny Magwada. Our candidate pool for the new hire is exceptionally strong, with hundreds of applicants. We are currently in the final interview phase and expect to have a new coordinator in place by 1 March. In the interim, our former coordinator, Fadzie Muzhandu – also a member of the Zimbabwe board – has stepped into the gap.

Thank you for your faithful support.  On behalf of the entire board of directors, but most especially on behalf of our students – thank you.

Elizabeth Davis,
President, Tariro Board of Directors

Tariro: Hope and Health for Zimbabwe’s Orphans
P.O. Box 50273
Eugene, OR 97405
USA

Student Profile: Meet Moleen W.

IMG_2828Meet Morlene! Jennifer Kyker, the founder of Tariro, was able to go to Zimbabwe this past summer and interview Morlene. 

Morlene was unable to continue her Grade 7 in 2010 due to the fact that her family had no money for school fees. Her mother was single-handedly raising the family as her father left them when Morlene was young. Her mother and her went to Domboramwari High to seek support. In 2011, Morlene meet Sisi Fadzie, who is the program coordinator for Tariro. With that, her school fees was paid for by Tariro and Morlene has been with Tariro since.

Morlene has passed an incredible number of ten O level subjects. She has passed with seven A’s, one B, and two C’s specifically. She now attends Harare High for her A level study, and is on the Junior City Council of Harare. As Morlene explains, she was a member of Junior Parliament during her O level study  at Domboramwari High, during Form 3 and Form 4. Now, she has transitioned to the Junior Council. In her words, council members “serve the children so that they become the voice for these people that are voiceless… and take problems such as having no water at home, and other basic needs, and take them to Senior Council”

To get into Junior Council, it was a difficult journey. In all of Harare, there are only eight people total serving on the Junior Council. Out of fifty people who applied from her school alone, she became one of only two elected counselors. From writing and delivering speeches to conducting interviews, Morlene proudly stands to represent her community.  She describes her experience by saying, “It is a big commitment because we are called to serve”. Using this as a bridge, she hopes to pursue Political Science at University and eventually become a Minister!

Here is the full interview, for those interested in watching:

Check out the message she gave to those that are hearing about Tariro for the first time at 10:12.

“We are prospering with Tariro… Tariro is doing much for us as orphans”

She ended off the interview with a beautiful poem that she herself wrote. You can listen to it at 10:51

As the Fall Fundraising Campaign is almost over, we encourage and greatly appreciate donations to our Razoo Fundraising Site, to help Morlene and all the other Tariro girls to be able to continue their education and achieve their dreams. Thank you for your support!

Giving Tuesday is tomorrow!

Save-the-date-white2-1024x438Tariro is trying something new this year for our Fall Fundraising Campaign – we’re joining up with the power of #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.  After a week of thanksgiving, you can join us on Tuesday, 1 December in Tariro’s first ever attempt to unlock some #GivingTuesday prizes.  Also for the first time this year, the Board of Directors will match the first $1000 donated on 1 December!
Here’s how it works – Razoo, our fundraising website, will award prizes to the nonprofit that gets the most donations during a specific hour.  We qualify for both the education hour at 10am and the children and youth hour at 1pm, so we have two opportunities. Just log on to our Fall Fundraising Campaign site to make your donation!

So .. mark your calendars for Tuesday, 1 December at 10am or 1pm Eastern time (7am or 10am Pacific)!

Can’t make a donation during those windows?  Don’t worry!  Any donations made now and until midnight Pacific time on 1 December count toward our #GivingTuesday totals and we could still win other prizes!

Thanks for joining Tariro for #GivingTuesday!

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

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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.

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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

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            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