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.

26032015163

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

Melody

Life Skills workshop for Tariro Beneficiaries

DSCF8183

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;

DSCF7877

A beneficiary participates in a lesson on “Decision making”

DSCF7863

A section of beneficiaries engrossed with the proceedings. 

 

DSCF7956

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 000 drop out of school in 2013 alone!

Last week the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education released a report with which had disturbing figure of school drop outs in 2013 Zimbabwe. While the official figure of 13000 may be lower than the “actual” figures it is quite disheartening to note the major reasons and the gender of those dropping out. Below are some of the disturbing facts;

  1. More than 13 000 primary and secondary school pupils dropped out of school in 2013 owing to early marriages and lack of school fees,
  2. About 52 percent of secondary school drop-outs were females, and 40 percent of all primary school pupils who failed to proceed with their education were also females.
  1. At secondary level 2 289 dropped out of school comprising 1 063 females and 1 226 males because of school fees, while 1 191 failed to continue because of marriages, with 801 of them being females and 390 males. Absconded has 901, while pregnancy has a total of 856 drop-outs.
  1. At primary level, 2 784 dropped out because of school fees consisting of 1 646 males and 1 138 females followed by absconded, which consists of 591 males and 440 females. Death and unknown reasons have 525 and 625 respectively
  2. Only157 in every 1 000 pupils successfully progress from Form 1 to Upper 6, which is down from 168 calculated from 2012. The increased number of school drop-outs comes as the ministry is grappling with a huge number of children failing to access the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) [a government initiative meant to assist poor children with school fees] in the payment of fees.
  3. There are over one million orphaned and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe in need of assistance.

Children who are supposed to be in school: Image courtesy of speechlog.com

This is the reason why we at Tariro exert ourselves to educate orphaned and vulnerable girls. We believe our ‘small’, yet tangible steps are a vital cog in the wheel of social change. Our range of services are meant to be the much needed cushion to the worn out social safety net.

High flying Moleen!

Late last year we ran a blog for Tariro students who had received various prizes for academic excellence at Domboramwari high school in Epworth. One of the students was Moleen who scooped various prizes in different subjects. Well today we are featuring her again and this time she has done it on a national level. Out of the 8 subjects that she passed Moleen obtained 5 straight “A”s.

Naturally we are as ecstatic as Moleen as she takes her academic journey to Advanced level. Moleen will be taking Business studies, Accounts and Economics at A level. Moleen has always had the desire to be an accountant and we are glad that she is on course to realising her dream.

Recipe for success

Moleen attributes her success to a strict reading culture. She disclosed to me that she would often wake up at 2am to study for the examination. For many days she would stay behind after school and engage in group discussions with her colleagues. Spiritual guidance also played a part as Moleen told us that she would pray regularly.

It’s all because of you

DSCF7780

A bright future beckons: Morleen wants to pursue a career in accounting.

Moleen is thankful to Tariro for coming to her rescue in 2011 when she almost failed to enrol for form 1 because her mother had failed to raise the $100 required for her to start secondary school. The family had just lost the breadwinner, Moleen’s father the year before in 2010. Moleen is grateful to Tariro for the support she has been receiving ever since.

We would le to congratulate Moleen and wish her the best in the rest of her academic journey. We would also like to thank YOU our supporters who help us to work towards the fulfilment of  our mission to educate and empower young women and girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

IMAG0323

Precursor; This photo from last year shows a jubilant Moleen surrounded by family and friends after winning multiple awards at Domboramwari High School.

Highlights from our work in 2014

Greetings to you and we would like to wish you a prosperous 2015. Well, before we delve into this year’s business, let us just share with you some of the highlights of our work for 2014.

2014 has been a challenging year as we had the uphill task of sending an unprecedented number of students to university , this against a limited budget. We also lost our colleague, Senzeni in October. However, it has been another successful year for Tariro and marked another milestone in the history of our work.

We managed to score several successes in our work and the below are some of them

• Provided a full range of services

Tariro ensured that none of its beneficiaries missed even a day of school due to lack of fees and or sanitary ware. We managed to pay school fees for all our beneficiaries in primary and secondary schools as well as those in universities. In addition to that we provided a year’s supply of stationery and sanitary ware to ensure a hassle-free academic year.

Some of the beneficiaries posing for a photo after receiving new uniforms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beneficiaries holding stationery sanitary ware

Registerered students for examinations

We managed to successfully register 8 students to write their examinations.

Pamela K sat for the National Certificate examination in Rural and Urban Planning at the Harare Polytechnic College. Melody S sat for the ZIMSEC Advanced level examinations while Brendon I, Tinotenda B, Esnarth M, Mollyn W, Winston N and Mercy N sat for the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) Ordinary level examinations in October and November.

• A boost for our library

We managed to boost our library stock by purchasing 33 revision guides for Ordinary and Advanced level as well as general text books for our library. This saw increased traffic to our library and we believe it will contribute immensely to our students pass rate at both national and local exam level.

• Three additional university students

We managed to enrol Jane J and Edwinner S into university, Jane J (Bsc Hons in Human Resources Management) got a place at the Midlands State University and Edwinner S ( Bsc Hons in Social Work) at Bindura University of Science Education this has added to 6 the number of tertiary students that we have – the highest number we have had so far. W also had Pamela K enrolling with the Harare polytechnic college to study Rural and Urban planning.

• Our traditional dance ensemble getting recognition

Our Traditional dance ensemble, which is our major psychosocial support vehicle, was featured in the Zimbabwean mail edition of 31 jan 2014. In june we got the chance to be the main entertainers at a youth expo organised by a local NGO YET Trust – among the delegates were ministers, legislators, representatives from youth organizations and members of the public.

• Partnering CITW

IMG-20150111-WA0002

Jane J (in white T-shirt) posing with some of the children who were at the CITW camp in Hwange.

In November , we partnered Children in the Wilderness (CITW) when two of our beneficiaries were selected as volunteer team leaders for a safari camp they held for underprivileged children in Hwange, Zimbabwe• Kusatenda uroyi

There is a Shona Proverb which says, “Kusatenda uroyi” whose meaning is that failure to express gratitude is just like witchcraft. In the same spirit, we would like to express our gratitude to all of you who have supported our cause, it is because of your donations, words of advice and encouragement that we manage to speak of highlights. You may not be there to physically meet our beneficiaries but they surely feel your warmth and love!DSCF3499

• A call for more help.

We continue extending our plea for your continued support. As we face each new year, we face new challenges. Where we used to pay for 15 secondary students or 35 primary school students, we now pay for just one university student per year.

Tariro needs someone like you further our quest to empower young girls and women through education. We would also like to enrol other vulnerable girls who are missing school due to lack of school fees and supplies.

• $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 Level exams.

You can donate to Tariro online, or mail your donations directly to PO Box 50273, Eugene, OR, 97405. Thank you once again for your support!

We wish you a prosperous year ahead!

Kenny Magwada (executive director)

Student profile: Meet Tiny J.!

Meet one of our beneficiaries: Tiny J.  She lives with her mother, grandmother, three other siblings, and six cousins. Together, the 12 of them share three small rooms in Harare’s densely populated suburb of Glen Norah. With an absent father, it was up to Tiny’s unemployed mother to single-handedly raise Tiny and her three other siblings, among a huge extended family. In 2010, when she was in grade 5 at Chembira Primary School, Tiny almost dropped out of school due to not being able to pay her school fees. Like many orphaned and vulnerable girls, she was plagued by continued absenteeism from school and this was severely affecting her grades.

DSCF3353

Fortunately, Tiny heard of Tariro through our dance instructor, Daniel. After going through our vetting process and with recommendations from her Headmaster, Tiny was enrolled into Tariro and before long, her grades gradually began to improve. Now doing Form 2 at Glen Norah 2 High School, Tiny is happy that Tariro has taken her this far. She is doing well in school and her confidence has returned. Today, Tiny is a prefect at her school.

When she spoke to us, she revealed that she strongly wants to become a nurse so that she can offer immediate help to those who are ill. She says she was inspired by her friend’s aunt. Tiny is so passionate about becoming a nurse that she disclosed to us that she is studying her mathematics and science extra-hard so she will be eligible to enroll for the profession.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On a parting note, Tiny revealed her dream to give back to Tariro through donating money for school fees as well as stationery once she is working. She also had a word of advice for her fellow Tariro colleagues, “Girls, we should work hard in school so as not to let our donors down”. We would like to thank all the supporters for helping us get this far! As we move toward a new school year in Zimbabwe, your donations mean the world to Tiny and her peers.

This blog post was written by Sagar Patel, a Tariro student intern through the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender & Women’s Studies.