To kick off 2014 I thought I’d share with you what Makomborero is achieving in Zimbabwe – from the perspective of a couple of our students.
In the UK, access to free education up to A-levels is considered a basic right, but in many countries around the world, there is no such thing as free education. Zimbabwe is one of these countries. The children there are desperate to learn in order to improve their lives, but recent economic and political developments mean that 90% of the population are unemployed, and life expectancy has fallen to the mid-30’s. And so, with the parents either unemployed or dying, getting an education is an unreachable dream for the majority of Zimbabwe’s children.
After independence in Zimbabwe, the Government was very good at setting up schools up to O-Level. Over the years, due to political problems, schools in Zimbabwe have really suffered. The buildings are still there but there is a serious lack of resources, qualified teachers etc and there was a period of three years recently where schools barely opened due to lack of funding. This, combined with the fact that many families cannot afford the $75 per term school fees meant that if students wanted to learn, they had to teach themselves. Often families have to make huge sacrifices to put their children through school and the burden of schools fees is huge! There are very limited A-Level places at schools, and only a few good universities in the country. But, it all comes down to money!
In Zimbabwe there are three school terms a year – and the school year starts in January.
Two of our students share a little about what their schooling was like before and after starting on the Makomborero A-Level scholarship scheme.
Pre-Makomborero – by Phillip
Life before enrolling for Makomborero was extremely different. My previous school was Glen-Norah 1 High School located in a Township of Harare. Finances were of course very difficult to come by. In my year there were 450 pupils. The school was unable to afford to provide text books for our subjects and we were not provided with paper or books to write in. This made it very difficult as if you could not afford these things you went without. Often township schools do not have the capacity to hold all the students that are enrolled at the school. They then run two schools in one day – 7am to 1pm and then a second seating (another school) would start at 1pm till 6pm. We were unable to do Science experiments due to lack of equipement – so practical work was all theoretical for us. Teachers would often not arrive to lessons. We would walk to school – even if it was a long distance!
Post-Makomborero – by Collen
My life has change completely since joining Makomborero Zimbabwe. It took a while for us to adjust to the new schools as they were so incredibly different to what we were used to. We go to school in the morning – leaving the Makomborero Boarding house at 6.30am – school starts at 7.30am. All our lessons are done in the morning to 1.30pm and then the afternoon is clubs and sports. We have been exposed to so many new things since starting at these schools – different sports and clubs. We have also enjoyed the practical hands on side of our subjects – doing experiments as this was something that never happened at our previous school. Makomborero Zimbabwe have a minibus that takes us to school and picks us up! We also have an amazing study to work in at the boarding house, a resourced library and a laptop to share between 2 of us. We have internet access and have found it so wonderful to have this for our research and work. We also get loads of homework, projects etc.
We hope that has given you a little glimpse into Zim School life!