We had a great start to the year – welcoming the 3rd addition to our family Ella Thea Albertyn. She is a precious gift who we feel very blessed to have in our lives.

The year has started well with the scholarship project. We are now operating under our new Trust: Makomborero Zimbabwe as well as still working with KST. From January 2013 the whole scholarship programme will come under the covering of Makomborero Zimbabwe.

Our 15 pioneer students returned to the house eager to learn and we now have a further 8 students who we care for – totalling 23 Students!! The new 8 are a fantastic group of students who achieved outstanding O-level results. It was a gruelling process for Mark to get to this point – we did an initial cut down to 80 from 270 applications, from 35 township schools and then Mark did a few days of testing and interviews to further reduce to 24 students. One more day of testing and subject specific testing and decision time!!!

23_Students

Once Mark had settled on the 8 students he felt would best fit the three schools who have given full scholarships, he paid a visit to the students and their families/guardians at their homes in the townships. He went with Dinnis Banga (our brilliant house mother) and Hope (our new Administrator). All three of them were completely speechless and emotionally drained after having a brief glimpse into their lives. They could not believe how much these 8 had achieved with so few resources. The visits provided real confirmation that we have discovered some young adults that will have their lives (and that of their families) completely transformed.

The students have started in their new schools and are finding their feet. We are so excited that our new 8 students did brilliantly in their O Level Examinations – these results only came out once they had started at their new schools – so Mark, as you can imagine, was hugely relieved that his selection process worked.

Starting at these schools is a huge step for them socially, culturally and academically and understandably they were a little nervous. The host families have provided a bedroom for the students and we have kitted the rooms out with bunk beds, desks and storage space as well as a rechargeable light to work with when there is no electricity. They will have all their meals at the boarding house and partake in the boarding house life fully, as the host families are all walking distance from our boarding house.

Nyasha and Lisa have been awarded Full Academic Colours at their school and we are so proud of them and that their results have been acknowledged in this way. We hope that the other 6 might have some kind of acknowledgement of their accomplishments too!

Taringana made it onto his school chess team and consequently made the provincial team for Zimbabwe and came 2nd so will be representing his country!!! We are very proud of him. We look forward to you getting know these new 8 students as well as our 15!!

The 15 students continue to prepare for the USAP programme. We find out soon who has made it! This has been a great opportunity for them. They have also benefited from being invited to a few functions that the US Embassy has hosted – Jazz Evening, attended seminars, taken part in an Essay competition based on Black History Month etc. This has been a great confidence booster for them! They are currently preparing for their SATs and we have two volunteers who are giving generously of their time to prepare them for these exams – Rebekah Bell and Charlotte Allum-Smith.

We continue to have amazing games evenings led by Sian. What a gift she has in this area and the students love their evenings with her. She also did a brilliant lecture on Body Language and how this can play such a big role in interviews, etc. Thank you so much Sian!

Liz Pierson also continues to teach music to a few students every Friday and they were able to take part in two concerts this term, which we so enjoyed watching! Thank you Liz!

Laura runs the weekly bible studies and loves this time with the students.

The 15 continue to have computer lessons with Jill who so generously gives of her time and they will be doing their ICDL certificate sometime this term. They also continued to enjoy a full sports programme, which included Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball, Football, Netball and Swimming. The new 8 students fully partake in the co-curricular programmes at their schools.

A group of boys from our 15 students regularly volunteer their time at a local Boys Orphanage to give free Maths tuition to the boys. We were so proud of them for initiating this and their faithfulness in serving the boys of St Josephs. They have also done a fundraiser to help raise money towards the boys examination fees at the orphanage. Edwin, accompanied by one or two of the other students has been visiting township schools giving motivational talks to the current O-level students (GCSE). We have been so proud of all our students as they want to give back!!! Well done guys keep it up!

We ended the term with taking the 15 to Gweru for the weekend. Mark and Hope took them to a wonderful teacher training college a couple of hours outside Harare. It was a great weekend of bonding for the students but also a time for them to see if any of them are inspired to become teachers. We think a few of them might be. This weekend has been a highlight for many of them this term.

Visitors
Diana, a former student of Mark’s visited during the end of January. She painted our logo on the boarding house wall – doesn’t it look great. Our 15 students loved being involved in the process – amazingly it was the first time many of them had ever painted!!! Diana also helped with various administration duties for the project, as well as tuition where possible. We enjoyed our time with her.

Painting_logo

One of the Makomborero UK Trustees from England, Deb’s had a flying visit here!!!! She coached Netball and took part in basketball, she came along to Bible Study and baked for all 23 students, she interviewed each one of them, visited the township schools where our 8 new students came from to thank the heads for putting these students forward for selection etc. She managed to cram both Albertyn family stuff in among project stuff and we loved sharing it all with her! She is a trustee of Makomborero in the UK and we know she will be able to feed back to all the trustees all she has seen!

A lovely lady called Brenda came out from New Zealand and spent a bit of time at the boarding house. Doing a workshop in how to debate and also showed an incredible tv series documentary on the World!! The students were amazed by what they watched and it was brilliant.

Two young guys, Marko (whose full name is Makomborero – how cool is that) and Josh have volunteered their time to run courses over the next year to help integrate the new 8 and our current 15 students into their new lifestyles etc. What brilliant men they are – these two men will be able to speak to their hearts and minds and be relevant to our 23 students. They are such a blessing and we appreciate all their input.

Fundraising
We have had a few fundraising events so far this year. Ange Smith ran another Mother and Daughters morning at a local primary school and it was hugely successful. The proceeds came to Makomborero Zimbabwe. We so value her input and passion for what we are doing.

Hwei Tan, another former pupil of Mark’s, has just climbed Kilimanjaro to raise money for Makomborero. We feel humbled and in awe of her. Thank you!!!!

We welcomed another former student of Mark’s in December, Shaun Orpen. We so enjoyed sharing a little of our lives and the project with him. He has been an incredible support of what we are doing and his company will be running for Makomborero again this year – thank you!!!!

Susan Leese will be running the London Marathon for us this year! Thank you Susan!!!!

Makomborero UK has bought a debenture for the London 10km run – if any of you want to take part in this you are welcome to sign up through Makomborero UK. Please contact one of our Trustees in the UK on info@makomborero.info.

We are also thrilled to welcome 3 more local companines on board – Stanbic Bank, Atlas Copco and Delloittes!! They have generously sponsored 6 students between them and we are so grateful for their support and belief in us!!

Makomborero Zimbabwe Staff
Hope is our new administrator and she has quite literally been a life saver. It has been a life saver having someone to do all the running around etc and we feel that she is an incredible asset to Makomborero Zimbabwe.

We are in the process of purchasing a minibus for the project. This will relieve a couple of hours each day for the students who currently use puplic transport and will also save us money in the long run. We are excited to be able to provide another job for someone and we look forward to welcoming Stephan onto our team from 1st May.

We are so grateful for the 4 amazing house parents who host the 8 students in their homes – thank you!!!

Also as always this term could not have been the success it was without Dinnis (our incredible house mum) and Johannes (our handyman/caretaker) – you guys continue to serve tirelessly and we so appreciate you!! Thank you also to our incredible team of teachers – Charles Muchoko, Katy Lanas, Hayden Eastwood and Alison Stancombe. What an amazing team we have been blessed with!

Hopefully we have updated you on this last term. The pressure is on for the 15 as they begin to prepare for their final exams.

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Written by: Laura Albertyn

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I am Praise Musungate, thanks for your inspiration.

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