An Update from Mark and Laura Albertyn – 2nd Term 2020

Please find below the latest Makomborero news from the 2nd term of 2020.

Term News

What a weird term it has been!  Covid-19 has changed the world and changed everything at Makomborero.  We have had to pause many of our projects over the last few months.  However, it has given us lots of time to reflect, learn how to run the office remotely, access and make lots of changes.  As hard as this season has been, it has also been incredibly productive.  So much time to improve and implement – when do we get time like this!

One of the biggest effects of Covid-19 and the lock down on our families has been the massive loss of income.  Most of our families are not employed and rely on the informal sector to make an income for their families, mostly through vending.  During the very strict lock down, it was an incredibly dire situation for them. Even as the lock down has continued, but to a lesser extent, many of the families are not earning anything and survival has become incredibly hard.  We have managed to feed all our external and internal students’ families with 3 food packs each.  We worked with an incredible organisation that makes products that just require water – bread mixes you can cook on the fire, healthy delicious porridge, etc. etc.!  We are so thankful to be able to offer healthy, nutritious food to our families.  These packs were literally life savers.

Our UZ students have also not been spared the stress of Covid-19 and having to learn remotely.  We have been able to provide them with mobile data to study, living allowances for food and encouragement through this hard, isolating season.  Their learning has been hindered but I have been so impressed to see them continue to push through!

Our internal students have had the wonderful opportunity to continue with online learning and incredible lessons through their school – St George’s, Hellenic and Gateway.  As much as they miss real school life, this has been a good substitute and they have been able to access all online learning!  They will write their end of year Cambridge examinations starting at the end of September.  So lots of preparation work is going into those finals.

testing
Covid testing the students

Our team has been working staggered hours but have managed to keep the boarding house and Makom-borero going and we are so thankful for their hard work and dedication.  We have learnt how to administer our own rapid Covid-19 tests, we have learnt how to run a quarantine facility, keep our students and staff safe!  It has been a massive learning curve for all of us. 

We have loved hearing from all of our students – those at University, those at school etc about how even though this time has been hard, it has also been an incredible opportunity for them to learn new skills, spend quality time with their families – seek out the silver lining amidst the hard times!  We have been so proud of all of them!  For our students studying abroad – not being able to come home has been particularly hard too!

The team has been working on launching an online learning system for our external students so that they too can benefit from online learning and not just during Covid-19 – so watch this space.  All our students – internal, external and university students have been supplied with mobile data for access to internet to help with their learning during this season.

News from the Alumni

This is also the time of year when we are able to celebrate our students who have successfully completed their tertiary studies. We have been receiving great inspiring news throughout the term.

Phillip graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery from the Central South University in China. He is now working with the Xiangya Hospital doing research on the need for a Clinical Skills Training Center at Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospitals. Lazarus graduated online from Jacobs University in Germany where he gained a BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Ruvimbo graduated from Agnes Scott University in the US – thanks to a Mastercard – ALA scholarship. She has now secured a job at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a research associate doing cancer research. We wish them the very best as they start a new chapter in their lives!

Renovations

office refurb

Finally, we have embarked on an incredible project – we were given a property last year to open a residence for our University students.  It needs renovations and we applied for a grant to do this.  During lock down we decided this was the perfect opportunity to convert the garage at the University house into an incredible office for Makomborero.  Our admin office has always been at our house – in a tiny storeroom!  It was about time!  It has a wonderful storeroom, bathroom and kitchen area – with a big, open plan office space!  We are hoping to finish the conversion this month and move into our new office soon!  The other incredible news is that the Beit Trust has approved us for a grant to renovate the UZ Residence!  We hope to start the work in October!  It is incredibly exciting!!  Thank you Beit Trust for believing in our vision!

So as you can see Covid has limited the activities we can report on but know that we are incredibly grateful for your continued support of us and Makomborero during this hard year we find ourselves in.  Stay Safe!

combined for 1st NL 2020 2

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