I’m very pleased to report that Tariro’s program coordinator, Fadzi, is making great progress developing and expanding our programs in Zimbabwe. The most recent development is the inauguration of an English club open to all Tariro students. The English club, which meets every other Saturday, is intended to provide our students with a fun, yet serious extra-curricular activity to enable them to improve their spoken English. While many of our students can read and write English fluently, they seldom have a chance to practice their spoken English, and many of our students struggle to communicate in basic spoken English. This is even true of students who achieve high scores on exam subjects which are written in English.
At each meeting of the English club, special guests will present on topics intended to broaden our girls’ horizons, motivate them to succeed in school, and inspire them to want to communicate in English. This program is modeled on the US Embassy’s “Food for Thought” series for high school students. Since most of our students can not attend the Embassy’s lecture series due to transport costs and obligations at school and at home, we’re bringing the idea behind this great program to them.
The first guest of Tariro’s English club was Hazel Z. Hazel went to high school in Highfield and is preparing for her first year of college in the US, where she will be attending school at MIT this coming fall. Like many of our girls, Hazel is an orphan and lives in the same neighborhood with them. Her presentation was based on ‘rising above your situation.’ At the end of her presentation the girls asked questions, in English, and were given a chance to introduce themselves and talk about their dreams. Here are Hazel’s reflections on her experience presenting at the club’s first meeting:
“Fadzi had invited me to be a living testimony to the girls that they can achieve all their goals regardless of their family background or the society they come from. As it is an English club it is a must to always speak in English so that the girls can build up their confidence and master the English language. Almost everyone introduced themselves and got to be asked any question that helped with getting to know them better. A guest visitor was Ms Peggy Samhaka whom the girls got to know personally and who is so different from the strict senior lady at Highfield High School as most of us knew her to be. The star of the day was Samantha M. who won the Student of The Month award and got a t-shirt and a notebook, which I am sure, will motivate all the girls to better their academic, marimba and participation levels.
Lastly it was the book and stationery distribution as we prepared to say our goodbyes. Tafadzwa also spoke to me about mentoring and tutoring some of the girls. I will be taking Audrey- she is writing her final exams this year-for extra Math lessons every Saturday at my house and promised to attend the English club whenever I could. Personally I was impressed with the services Tariro offers their beneficiaries because it is not only concerned about paying fees but also getting to know the girls personally and them getting to know each other. The other activities like camping and the English club I believe produce an individual who is not only educated but is well spoken, confident and feels part of a community.”
Thank you Hazel, Fadzi, and all of the Tariro girls! And as a follow-up, I’ll feature a short profile of Audrey in my next post.