An Update from Mark and Laura Albertyn – 3rd Term 2019

Here is the latest Makomborero news from the 3rd term of 2019.

Term News

We made it to the end of another fantastic – but challenging year!  Looking back over this year it has felt like, at times, every curve ball thrown at us would undo us but we have made it!

prize giving

It is a very busy term with Prize Giving ceremonies, examinations, leavers’ dances, SATS, university applications, graduation, the Christmas Party etc, but it is an incredibly memorable term too.  Our end of year graduation was such a celebration of our Students and their achievements and their time with us!  We also ended the term with a Christmas Party for both our Internal and External students.  Through many kind donations of meat, presents and a fabulous craft – the day was a huge success!

The Lower Sixth Hellenic and St George’s students went on their respective leadership camps and it is always wonderful to welcome them back as more confident young men who have made some new friends!

Yeukai was badly burnt at the beginning of the term and we were so thankful for an incredible doctor – she was so very brave and weathered a very hard trial well.  She is finally totally healed!

Our testing process is underway for this next intake starting in January – it will be our 10th intake and we are incredibly humbled we get to do this again and again!  We continue to refine our testing process – impacting lives for one day, even if it’s their only day with Makomborero, is our absolute goal as well as academic testing.  We sow seeds of hope during this process and see lights come on in eyes, even if only 18 of them gain a scholarship.  It is a wonderful time seeing our current and past students come together and give tirelessly of themselves to touch students’ lives over these coming weeks!  We hope to finish home visits by 20th December!

Community Projects

The Ndeipi entrepreneurial training programme was a great partnership with One Hope Initiatives, who ran the course.  They came in for a number of weeks and ran sessions on setting up small scale businesses with very little capital, budgeting, managing a business.  Many of our students and families will be graduating from this training programme today.  This course is so empowering, it not only gives practical skills but it is filling hearts with hope again.  We are grateful for this partnership and the opportunity to run this course again next year! 

We ran our Pilot Girl Mentorship Programme last year and were able to expand to two programmes this year – one in Mufakose and one in Mbvuku.  These programmes take the most vulnerable girls in form 2 and we work with them for one year.  What an incredible journey it has been with them.  Makomborero past students are the mentors and they trained up community mentors to take over the programme in the new year – we see the trainee mentors’ lives change as well as the girls on the programme and it is inspiring and wonderful! I think what surprised our mentors the most was how much they fell in love with each girl – each girl became a highly valued jewel in their eyes.  Words cannot describe the transformation that has taken place in each young girl.  We are looking to run four mentorship groups this coming year and will continue to refine and work on our material.  It hasn’t cost us much, it isn’t playing the world numbers game, but it is giving hope to a few precious girls each year and we are thrilled.  I am immensely thankful to Ropa and Rura, Isabel and Shyline for all they poured into this project and for its success this year and for the incredible Trainee Mentors who have become part of us too!

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Our Mobile Lab continues to run on Saturday mornings – running two sessions per Saturday, impacting students from all over Harare and different High Density schools.  Giving them a deep joy for science, seeing their worth and learning the practical side of a subject.  I tell my two awesome teachers – the academic side is important but above all of this is your heart connection with these students!!!  We want them to leave with hope and purpose in their hearts, that someone values them deeply as a person.  I think they accomplish that and more in the 9 weeks we have the students!

Past Students

We continue to see students get international scholarships and will see students go off to Botswana, Germany, USA and Morocco next year, having sent students this year to Scotland, USA, Mauritius, Botswana and Kenya.  These scholarships are an amazing opportunity and we are proud of our students but the real heroes are the students studying at our local universities!

We have 22 students at UZ and NUST.  We have regular get-togethers at our house, mentorship sessions and opportunities to encourage each other.  We had a big emphasis on mental health this year and this I think has been particularly worthwhile for our students.  The living conditions of many of our students as they try and secure accommodation near campus is completely unacceptable and it has been heartbreaking to witness!  We have had three incredible families come forward and offer their homes to Makomborero.  A couple in Vainona have given space in their home to two Makomborero University students and have been doing this for a few years now. Another couple invested in converting 4 rooms on their property into beautiful accommodation for four of our students.  This has been a life saver!  The last family have generously donated us a house in Avondale West which we will be looking to convert into an 18 bed University Residence.  These three families have blessed Makomborero beyond words and we are so incredibly grateful – humbled and overwhelmed at their generosity! 

I can’t move on from our University students without acknowledging the big role that Sandvik plays in the success of this programme.  As things have become more and more challenging in Zimbabwe, the gaps in our funding have grown.  Sandvik has plugged this gap for us with our University Students and if it was not for them, we would not have been able to pay tuition fees.   Our partnership with Sandvik has been humbling and life saving all at the same time.  The vital food packs arriving just in time to fill students’ bellies, have filled a very real practical need! Their vision for Zimbabwe and their incredible leadership is inspiring and I leave their site often feeling like I’ve visited a foreign land. 

Thank you to our corporate sponsors and individual sponsors.  It is wonderful to have the loyalty of our long standing sponsors. You do not realise how much your dedication to us means, when so many of our local sponsors have had to stop supporting us over this year!  A shout-out to four corporate sponsors who this year have upped their game and really plugged some holes for us – Halsted, Belina Payroll, Multichoice and Caurnaldmetal box for sponsoring today.  Thank you, thank you!  This investment will pay off in the long run! 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you from all of us at Makomborero Zimbabwe!!!

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