We were invited to visit Zimbabwe and Makomborero by our son Sam, who had been twice before in the university holidays. We visited for 2 weeks in late June 2012 and stayed with Mark and Laura Albertyn, who were very generous with their time and hospitality.

Both of us and both of our children benefited from free state education in England at grammar schools, and went on to study at university. We were inspired by the work that Makomborero is doing to enable bright young students from underprivileged backgrounds to access higher education in Zimbabwe, by providing scholarships and accommodation.

During our visit, we were also able to see how Mark and Laura also care for the emotional and spiritual needs of the students. Hopefully, some of them will become future leaders in science, technology, medicine and education in Zimbabwe. Sam was able to introduce the students to his sport, Ultimate Frisbee, and to do some computer programming with them. We were able to give careers advice about working in biomedical sciences and becoming a doctor.

 

We were also able to visit a township school and enhance the opportunities the students there had by doing additional microscope work with them. We visited two orphanages, where our son had worked previously, and we were delighted to meet some Methodist ladies, who were delivering food and singing so beautifully! We were concerned by the situation of some of the children at the orphanages, who had little chance of employment after leaving school. Many people in the UK watched a programme on BBC4 last year called “Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children” made by Xoliswa Sithole, which painted a rather bleak picture of the situation. What we witnessed did not seem to be as bleak as that, thanks to many charities and now better government support.

After returning home, our enthusiasm for the Makomborero project has not waned. We are taking every opportunity to talk about Makomborero with family, friends, work colleagues and in our own Methodist church.

There is huge support in the UK for any project that is directed at the education of the next generation in Zimbabwe, in the hope that the country can become more self-sufficient, progressive and prosperous.

Written by: Doctors Rosie and Hugh Rayner

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