An update from Zimbabwe

Tariro girls ready to head back to school!

In today’s post, I’d like to share a general update regarding Tariro’s recent work in Zimbabwe.  As many of you may know, the third term of school in Zimbabwe has just recently started, after a month-long holiday in August.  During the school holiday, Tariro took care of many important administrative duties to ensure that our students are able to succeed in school.  Please read below to learn more about what we are doing to educate and empower the 65 girls enrolled in Tariro this year.

Payment of third term school fees

Our program coordinator, Fadzi, reports that she has finished paying all students’ fees for the third term of school.  These included “top-up” fees of $13 per student at Domboramwari High School in Epworth.  Domboramwari has recently acquired a bus and built a library, and the top up fees are required to meet the expenses of running the school bus and library.

Tariro’s second Mercy Corps grant

Tariro received a second grant from the “Mukomberanwa” fund administered by Mercy Corps, and targeted toward organizations working with orphans and vulnerable children.  The grant totaled $750, and we used it to buy textbooks and uniforms.  Girls enrolled in Forms 3 and 4 received new textbooks, and school shoes and jerseys were distributed to new students recently enrolled in the Highfield and Epworth neighborhoods.  Tariro has submitted a report to Mercy Corps showing how the funds were used, with signatures from all the students who benefited from the grant.

Home and school visits

Together with Tariro’s librarian Senzeni, Fadzi has completed home visits to assess the living situations of our enrolled students, as well as school visits to network with administrators and teachers.  Overall, the visits revealed that students’ health is generally good for Zimbabwean standards, except for some girls reporting minor headaches.

In addition, the home visits showed that school attendance for Tariro girls is very high.  Fadzi reports that providing sanitary pads and paying for minor, but mandatory fees, helps with attendance rates.  An example of this type of mandatory fee is “civics days,” used by many school as a mandatory fundraising day, where girls pay to attend school wearing street clothes instead of their school uniforms.

Guidance counseling

Peggy Samhaka, who is a senior teacher at Highfield High, has continued to volunteer her services as a guidance counselor once every month, receiving transport reimbursement from Tariro’s 2010 PEPFAR grant.  In recent sessions, she has covered everything from hygiene and presentation, to making a good impression on teachers and parents, to available career choices in Zimbabwe.

And more…

These are only some of the important work Tariro has been conducting in recent weeks.  In my next post, I’ll be sharing more news about developments in our extra-curricular music and dance group.  And next week, we’re looking forward to getting an update from Lauri Benblatt about the August empowerment camp.  Check back soon for these exciting updates, along with some recent photos from Zimbabwe.

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