Tag Archives: education

An update on Noleen

Noleen C., pictured with Tariro's new director Kenny Magwada at St. Giles school

Noleen C., pictured with Tariro’s new director Kenny Magwada at St. Giles school

In today’s post, Tariro’s new director Kenny Magwada takes the helm, with an update on our student Noleen C.

For those of you who have not previous met her, Noleen has a medical condition known as spina bifida, which confines her to a wheelchair.  Several years ago, Noleen experienced physical complications from her condition, which required special care.

Thanks to generous donations from YOU, our sponsor, Tariro was able to transfer Noleen to  St. Giles, a school that is capable of attending to her special needs. Since her arrival she has taken well to this environment and her headmistress describes her as a “good, honest and loving girl.”

Recently, we had a few moments with Noleen. She seems a shy and reserved girl (or it could be that she was seeing us for the first time). She smiled heartily when her teacher told her that we were the ones from Tariro and responsible for her education. Noleen expressed her gratitude by thanking us.

Because Noleen had limited access to education before enrolling in Tariro, she is still struggling to catch up in school, and at fourteen years of age she is currently enrolled in grade four. However, Noleen has made great strides with her physical therapy during her time at St. Giles, including taking her first steps unassisted. Noleen continues to face an uphill battle in her studies. She also struggles with loneliness, as her family rarely comes to visit her during the school term. Yet she has particularly enjoyed the opportunity to participate in special activities at St. Giles, and her teachers note that she has become a “pro” in wheelchair racing.

As we approach the beginning of a new school year in Zimbabwe, I encourage you to donate in support of Tariro’s work with students such as Noleen. While the amount we need to raise for 2014 is large – about $40,000 – even a small gift can have a major impact in the lives of our students. For example:

  • $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.

It is also worth looking into finding out if the company that you or a spouse works for matches non-profit gifts, as that is an opportunity to make your gift count double!

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

Exams are Underway!

We’re excited to share that we have several students completing their O and A level exams this year. The exams are taking place right now, from late October to late November, and are a chance for the students to prove their knowledge in various given subjects.

“Ordinary level” exams take place after Form 4 while “Advanced Level” take place after Form 6. A deeper explanation of how the school system works in Zimbabwe can be found here.

This year, we have 5 students taking their A-levels, and 10 taking their O-levels! Please join us in wishing our A and O Level students the best of luck on their exams!

A-Level students

Nicole M.

Nicole M.

Jane J.

Edwinner S.

Edwinner S.

Not pictured: Tracy G., Jestina T.

O-Level

Chido C.

Chido C.

Loveness M.

Loveness M.

Gillian M.

Gillian M.

Rosa S.

Rosa S.

Julia M.

Julia M.

Pride R.

Pride R.

Not pictured: Vimbai C., Rumbidzai M., Charmaine M., Winston N.

 

Aside

Meet Patience, a teacher at Chinhoyi High School: She was kind enough to let me, as the UR’s student intern, ask her some questions about how education in Zimbabwe is currently working, and how it affects her.  Her comments were … Continue reading

Aside

Thank you so much for your recent donations! The third term of school is now well underway, and Tariro’s students are off to a great start. Since the beginning of August we’ve managed to raise almost all of the funds … Continue reading

Hello! From Tariro’s New Intern

Hello followers of the Tariro blog! My name is Amelia and I’m the new intern.
Amelia Picture

Some Background

I’m attending the University of Rochester which is home to the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies. Through this department, I am able to help out Tariro and receive University credit.   Although I’m studying for a degree in Biochemistry, I have always been interested in issues of social justice, and have incorporated Women’s Studies classes into my schedule to get a more informed opinion.

Social Justice through Education

It has always bothered me that the family, geographical region, and culture someone was born into has such an influence on their ability to succeed and live comfortably.

Socio-economic differences within the western world alone seem to have quite an effect on the opportunities available to individuals, but being disadvantaged in the western world is quite different than being disadvantaged in the third world. Western teens accustomed to privilege may choose to not take their education seriously, because they have options to fall back on, whether it be support from parents, family, or society.

However, in areas of Africa the ability to attend school may be the only opportunity to improve your family’s socioeconomic standing and to provide your siblings with some security.

My Motivations in Working with Tariro

I’m privileged enough to be receiving an education, and so it only seems fair that I take advantage of my resources to help provide educational opportunities to individuals who weren’t born into the same circumstances.

I think Tariro is particularly effective in addressing social justice because it recognizes the interplay between the HIV/AIDS epidemic and education.  Prior to looking at the Tariro website, I hadn’t realized the extent education plays in combating transmission. Yet this quote from the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS says it all:

Evidence from Zimbabwe shows that among 15-18 year old girls, those who are enrolled in school are more than five times less likely to have HIV than those who have dropped out.

If education can help reduce the spread of HIV, and a reduced impact of HIV means that more teens are able to get an education, then a strong effort should be taken to get this virtuous cycle started if we hope to improve the living conditions of individuals in HIV affected regions. I would very much like to be a part of this effort and am excited to get started working with Tariro to make this change happen.

I plan on updating the blog regularly, so keep a look out for future posts!

Tariro students achieve extraordinary success in O level results!

Yeukai K. is one of Tariro's many students to pass her O level exams this year!

Exciting news about Tariro’s 2011 pass rates!

I’m writing today with exceptionally encouraging news from our program coordinator, Tafadzwa Muzhandu.  As some of you already know, students enrolled in secondary school in Zimbabwe write Ordinary, or “O” level exams after finishing Form 4.  Their results on these exams determine whether or not they are able to proceed to Advanced, or “A” level study.  In the past, Tariro’s pass rates have significantly beaten the national average.  In 2010, for example, roughly 30% of our students passed their O-level exams, compared with only 16.5% of students nationally.  However, we still haven’t been satisfied with a pass rate of 30%, and have sought to implement a number of strategies to raise our pass rate.  These strategies have included extra-curricular tutoring and academic guidance counseling, as well as revisiting the schools we sent out students to, in order to ensure they are receiving quality instruction.

This year, we’ve seen our efforts result in huge gains for our students!  In 2011, sixteen Tariro students wrote O-level exams, and ten of them passed, giving us a much higher, 62% pass rate!  This is well above Zimbabwe’s 2011 national average of 19.5%.

What does this mean for our students, and for Tariro?

As Tafadzwa reports, our exceptionally high pass rate in 2011 means that we have a record number of six students proceeding to A-level study.  This potentially means that in three or four years, we will have five or more students enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe.  We’re so pleased to see our efforts paying off, and bringing tangible, positive results for our students!

This development also means that we have some additional fundraising to do!  A-level study is considerably more expensive than O-level study, especially as Tariro must be able to cover the costs of taking A-level exams once students finish the two years of Advanced level courses.  In addition, most A-level students required new uniforms, and more expensive textbooks.  Finally, career guidance counseling efforts must be intensified for A-level students, in order to ensure that they make a successful transition into University study.

We are committed to taking our students as far as they can go in school, extending to the level of a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Zimbabwe.  But we can’t do it without your help!  Please consider making a donation to assist Tariro in covering the additional costs of sponsoring such a high number of A-level students in 2012.  If you’d like to contact us to discuss making a donation, or propose a fundraising event on our behalf in your community, we’d also love to hear from you!

Letter of thanks from a Tariro family

As we move into the weekend, I’d like to offer you a short letter of thanks that Tariro recently received from Patience Chaitezvi, the aunt of one of our sponsored students, Gillian M.  Patience is a high school teacher in the town of Chinhoyi, several hours away from Harare.  She is also an excellent musician, and has toured the United States twice playing the mbira dzavadzimu, one of the best-known Zimbabwean instruments.

While the poverty line for an urban family Zimbabwe is pegged at $540 per month, school teachers such as Patience make an average of $253 per month, making the income from her tours abroad essential in supplementing her earnings as Patience raises her son Lionel.  In addition, Patience’s family has experienced several significant losses, leaving many orphaned children who Patience struggles to support.  Among them are the four children of her brother Endiby, who passed away in 2010.

While Endiby’s eldest daughters have secured scholarships to pursue university-level study, his younger son and daughter were at risk for dropping out of school.  As his daughter Gillian already attended Highfield High 1, one of the schools within Tariro’s sponsorship program, she applied for enrollment within our organization and was accepted shortly after her father’s death.  As you will read in Patience’s letter, Tariro’s executive director Jennifer Kyker also worked closely with Patience to recommend fundraising strategies through which Patience was able to raise funds for Gillian’s brother, who was not eligible for enrollment in our program due to our focus on working with teenaged girls.  Finally, Patience thanks us for sponsoring the daughter of yet another mbira player who passed away within the Highfield community, Silas Madziva.  Here is her letter, in full:

“Dear Tariro Organisation

“I have written this email to show my gratitude towards your organisation for helping me pay fees for Rutendo Gillian M. who is my niece.  Since the passing away of my brother last year I faced so many difficulties and one of them is paying fees for his kids.  But you made my life easier when you accepted Rutendo in your organisation.  You are as good as her guardians because you are helping build her future.  A child with no education does not have future.

“I thank you so much.  My brother was a breadwinner in my family and passing away meant a huge responsibility to me and yet my earnings can not sustain the family even for 2 weeks.

“When I came this year i did not even mention Rutendo because she is well taken care of.  I talked about Tapiwa who is her brother who needed fees since he is a brilliant young guy. I’m so happy I got ideas from Jennifer which made me have money for 3 terms.  I’m so grateful.

“Last but not least I thank you so much for paying fees for Silas Madziva’s daughter.  To me Silas Madziva is a brother because of his totem, the eland (Museyamwa).  Just before he died he told his relatives that when he passes on they should contact me, because I will be able to inform his American friends and they will help out send her daughter to school.  I did and Chris from Seattle did help a bit by and Tariro Organisation accepted her.  To me Silas, even though he has gone, his spirit is resting because he wanted his child to complete school though he did not leave any funds to help the daughter.  I thank you so much and hope you will continue with this loving spirit.

“NDATENDA CHAIZVO (I thank you so much)
Patience”

I’ll leave you with a short clip on YouTube, which pairs some experimental images with a track of Patience playing with her late brother, and Gillian’s father, Endiby.