Category Archives: Take action for Tariro: how you can get involved

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)

In Memory: Ambuya Kundai

Ambuya Kundai's passing means greater hardship for her four orphaned grandchildren

Ambuya Kundai

It is with great sadness that I write to report the passing of one of Tariro’s grandmothers, Ambuya Kundai. Truly dedicated to her grandchildren, Ambuya Kundai was raising four orphaned and vulnerable children at the time of her death late last month, all of whom have been sponsored by Tariro for many years. Three of her grandchildren, Kundai, Rudo, and Vanessa, are siblings who lost first their father, then their mother, and next their paternal grandmother, who initially cared for them following the death of their parents. A fourth grandchild, Dennis, is a cousin to the other three siblings.

Given the desperate circumstances in which this family found themselves, Tariro made an exceptional decision to sponsor Kundai and Dennis, Ambuya Kundai’s two male grandchildren, in addition to the two girls, Rudo and Vanessa. While our primary focus is on educating girls, on very infrequent occasions during our early years as an organization, we perceived a compelling reason to extend our sponsorship to the male siblings of an already-enrolled female student. With her very limited income, advanced age, and exceptional responsibilities, Ambuya Kundai struck us as one of these extraordinary cases.

Ambuya Kundai's four orphaned grandchildren Kundai, Vanesaa, Rudo, and Dennis, pictured here with their cousins Jessie and Tinashe.

Ambuya Kundai’s four orphaned grandchildren, pictured here with two of their cousins. From left to right: Kundai, Vanessa, Rudo, Jessie, Tinashe, and Dennis. Photo taken in 2008.

The loss of their maternal grandmother is a terrible final blow for Kundai, Rudo, Vanessa, and Dennis, who are all currently between 10 and 17 years old. As she passed away so recently, we are still unsure as to whether these four children will be able to remain in the same home with surviving relatives, or whether they will have to move yet again. It is possible that they will experience substantial instability in the coming months, as the various families involved- their fathers’ families, the family of Ambuya Kundai, and their maternal grandfather’s family- discuss who can best care for them. As we learn more about the family’s plans, I will continue to post updates on whether these four children are able to remain in their neighborhood, and in Tariro’s programs.

As Americans mourn the loss of so many children to the violence plaguing our society, Zimbabwean children like Kundai, Rudo, Vanessa, and Dennis are also mourning, as they grieve the loss of multiple, successive family members. What can we do in the face of so much loss? For me, the answer has always been to take small, yet tangible steps toward social change. Write to a senator, demanding better gun control. Choose not to own or use a gun. Study peace. Enable a single girl to return to school. Buy her a uniform, and give her access to books. In this way, Tariro began, and in this spirit, we continue to work, doing our best to honor to the memory of Ambuya Kundai, and all of the many relatives our students have lost.

Looking toward 2013 with excitement, and anxiety

Tariro coordinator Fadzie Muzhandu (left) with the Chipira family. Photo credit Trishula Patel

Tariro coordinator Fadzie Muzhandu (left) with the Chipira family. Photo credit Trishula Patel

In today’s post, I’d like to share with you a note written by our wonderful program coordinator, Fadzie Muzhandu, as a preface to this year’s annual report. I will be including some highlights from the annual report in forthcoming posts. As we seek to raise the funds necessary to continue our programs in 2013, Fadzie’s words, copied in below, are an exceptionally moving tribute to both the joys and the worries involved in our work.

From Fadzie…

Every year begins and ends with some excitement and anxiety for many Tariro girls and myself.  We are happy we got through the year, paid all our fees, and are moving to the next grade, and we are extremely proud that none of the students dropped out of school. We tell ourselves, the students and I, that we must be doing something right.

At the same time, we are restless about things we cannot control, like whether Zimbabwe will have presidential elections or not and what it means for the program. I am especially restless at the beginning of the year, because this is when our final year students receive examination results, and I speculate about how many will pass, and what future our students who fail have. Even those who pass are still confronted by the realities of a country not fully recovered from a decade long economic crisis, with unemployment well above 80%.

I also worry about whether we will have enough school fees for our students for the next year and how many more we can recruit.  Students worry about how their Christmas break will be, whether they will have enough food for celebrations, and if they are very lucky, whether a relative will buy them a new dress.

The realities of working with underprivileged children confront us around the holidays, but we still find time to celebrate our big and sometimes not so big achievements of the year. We celebrate the many students whose lives we have changed by paying school fees and through our mentorship programs. We celebrate that Noleen, who is in a wheelchair and through physiotherapy paid for by Tariro, made her first unassisted step.  Many students have become leaders of clubs or were selected to the student government, and have made contributions to their communities. Our proudest moment was when 3 students were selected to participate in a cultural exchange program that saw them showcase Zimbabwean traditional dances in Japan!

As field based officers we sometimes forget that the work we do is made possible because of the generosity of many. Many who have never been to Zimbabwe, but have committed their time and resources to improving the lives of young women. Through our donors’ generosity, Tariro has provided education funds for more than 300 students since 2003.

Every year I am encouraged by our supporters’ bigheartedness and would like to reassure you that your support is going a long way in empowering and transforming the lives of young women in a big way. Every year we recruit about 15 young women, and for these young women Tariro not only gives them hope, but an opportunity to rise above their backgrounds and plan for, rather than just dream about a better future. For some of these young women, we simply help them reclaim their childhood.

A balanced perspective on Tariro’s work

For me, one of the most powerful things about Fadzie’s perspective is that the work of development, like any other human endeavor, is marked by both happiness and suffering, both success and failure. For a grassroots organization like Tariro, the path forward can only be navigated by working together, in a concerted effort that begins with our students and staff, and expands to include our donors, board members, and volunteers.

Thank you Fadzie, for your hard work, your important insights, and your true investment and belief in our students. And thank you, readers, for your donations and support. Together, we’re making a small but powerful difference, one girl at a time.

World AIDS Day 2012: What Happened to AIDS?

Today is World AIDS Day, yet you won’t find a story about HIV/AIDS on the front page of the New York Times. In face, aside from the occasional red ribbon posted in solidarity as a profile photo on Facebook, it seems that HIV/AIDS is simply no longer news. After all, the disease has shifted from being a terminal disease to a chronic illness for most people living with HIV in the world’s industrialized nations,  doctors have managed to completely cure AIDS in the case of one extraordinary patient, and the disease can now be successfully be prevented by having HIV-negative people take daily anti-retroviral drugs as a form of “pre-exposure prophylaxis.

From the perspective of a comfortable kitchen table in South Philadelphia, where I sit typing this post during a break from attending an annual conference of the African Studies Association, AIDS no longer seems a deadly threat, no longer a cause for the type of radical action undertaken by organizations such as ACT-UP in the early days of the epidemic. Do we even still need a World AIDS Day?

The somewhat surprising answer to that question lies far from a kitchen table in Philadelphia, or the front page of the New York Times. We find it only on the front lines of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, in the slums of Kibera, in the drug treatment clinics of Kabul,in the crowded hospitals of Brazil. Here, we begin to see a different face of HIV/AIDS, one defined by crippling levels of poverty, high levels of gender and income inequality, and their associated barriers to adequate prevention and treatment options.

In fact, AIDS cases continue to rise dramatically in many places, including some of the world’s most populous nations such as China, challenging global prevention efforts.  On the African continent, which has born the vast majority of the burden of HIV/AIDS, gains in prevention and treatment efforts made by countries such as Uganda have recently been eroded, reversing decades of success. And even in countries where AIDS rates have declined, such as Zimbabwe, recent scholarship suggests that this decline is tied not only to successful prevention efforts, but also to mortality rates.  In other words, many of the Zimbabweans previously counted as people living with HIV have simply died.

Even as the disease continues to expand into a growing, global pandemic, however, funding for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS has declined shockingly, jeopardizing many of the gains made over the past decades. As a result, the World AIDS Campaign reports that

after years of international investment, just when we seem to have the right technologies, drugs, and approaches to keep the epidemic under control, success hangs in the balance.

Even in the United States, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, AIDS patients living in states like Florida are denied adequate treatment, receiving life-saving anti-retroviral drugs only once their immune systems are already severely compromised.

For the 34 million people living with HIV around the world, the 16 million children orphaned by the epidemic, and the many millions more at risk of contracting HIV, reductions in funding are not simply academic: they are a question of life or death. On World AIDS Day 2012, we at Tariro urge you not to forget that the fight against HIV/AIDS has not yet been won. To the contrary, a long, hard road still lies ahead.  Given the recent decline in funding, your donations to organizations working in HIV prevention and treatment are more important than ever.

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, and as we enter the holiday giving season, we therefore ask you to give.  Give to a local AIDS clinic, such as AIDS Care Rochester. Give to The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. Give to Tariro. Working together, we can continue to ensure that HIV/AIDS remains a global health priority. Together, we can ensure that treatment and prevention options continue to be available to the 99%, not only the 1%. Together, we can continue to make progress in the fight against AIDS.

Thanking our donors: Kambuyu and Kubatana!

As we enter our Fall Fundraising Campaign, Tariro would like to thank the many communities that have supported us this past year.  Most recently, we received donations from two performing ensembles in very different parts of the United States. Both of their members, however, share a love for the music and culture of Zimbabwe!

The first group, Kubatana Marimba, is based in Albuquerque, NM. For several years now, Kubatana has joined together with the awesome Wagogo Banda, a group that blends musical influences from Zimbabwe, Mexico, and elsewhere, in order to host a benefit concert for Tariro, raising close to $1,000 for us each year.

The second group, Kambuyu Marimba, is one of the few Zimbabwean marimba groups performing east of the Rockies!  Based in Syracuse, NY, Kambuyu has been bringing the vibrant dance music of Zimbabwe to audiences in Western New York for almost a decade.  Recently, we were thrilled to receive a check in the mail as a donation from Kambuyu!

As we work toward raising $40,000 in order to continue our work educating and empowering Zimbabwean girls in 2013, we appreciate the ongoing support of many individuals, organizations, and performing groups, including Kubatana and Kambuyu.  And if you have not yet done so, please consider making a contribution to Tariro today.  Your support is critical to our success!