A-level Scholarship Programme
We provide a scholarship programme for around 8 promising students each year. These students are selected from hundreds of applicants, following a rigorous academic and character-based selection process developed by Mark. All of the students are provided with a high quality A-level education at three of the leading private schools in Harare, a home to live in and all the resources they will need to make their study life as easy as possible. These students have all been recruited from townships surrounding Harare and beyond, and each of them has an incredibly inspiring story of how they fought against tremendous odds to get through their GCSEs and come out with outstanding results.
The A-level Scholarship Scheme started in 2011 and we have had 8 groups of students graduate from Makomborero. Our 9 second-year students from the 2019 intake are all doing well, and we have recruited a further 9 first-year students for 2020.
Our past students have all achieved extraordinary A-levels results! Here are their results, and stories of what they’re all doing now:
Makomborero also supports a number of A-level students who don’t qualify for the scholarship scheme (8 or more per year), paying their school fees at local government schools, examination fees and providing them with textbooks.
University Grant Scheme
Support for our students doesn’t stop after they have taken their A-Levels. In order to ensure that our scholarship students go as far as they can with their education, Mark and Laura work with them to apply for university scholarships around the world. Those students who don’t benefit from scholarships to international universities, are offered a grant to study at a Zimbabwean university. These grants will be repaid once the students are in full-time employment, making this scheme self-supporting. Our first University Students graduated in 2017.
Mobile Science Laboratory
In Zimbabwe, many schools in the high density (township) suburbs and rural areas are unable to afford to run science laboratories. This means that students learn the theory behind practical experiments without having any hands-on experience to draw from.
Makomborero has been successful in converting an old shipping container into a well-equipped Mobile Science Laboratory. Interested students in Form 3 fill out a simple form before being accepted into that term’s Science Lab class, where they engage in 8-10 experiments over 8-10 weeks. For the first time for many of them, the students have the opportunity to complete practical experiments without having to share or skip through certain parts due to lack of equipment.
For the past few years, Makomborero Zimbabwe has accepted over a hundred students who have gained practical experiences of using science equipment. This has also given the teachers hands-on training and helped them gain confidence.
Girl Mentorship Programme
Makomborero works with schools in the high density areas to identify vulnerable* girls in Form 2 (aged 14 – 15), in order to provide a mentorship programme, that gives them hope and a vision of their futures, beyond the societal pressures they face. We aim to address, in a very small way, the gender imbalance we experience with our scholarship programme and to see more girls making it through to Form 4 (O’Levels, aged 16-17) and not dropping out in Form 2. Though this project is overseen and guided by Makomborero staff, it is run by either Makomborero Zimbabwe’s past girl students or by older local girls who would otherwise have nothing else to do. This gives the girls mentors who have grown up in similar environments to themselves and know their very real struggles first hand. We aim to provide a source of inspiration and hope through giving life-skills training, teaching handicrafts, and hosting inspirational speakers. 2020 saw Makomborero working in three high density areas with 9 mentors and thirty girls.
*Vulnerable – girls who experience intense family pressure, due to the economic situation, to drop out of school; girls whose education is not a priority; girls who feel that they have no hope beyond getting married and leaving school before they are 15; girls who see no purpose or value in education; girls with disabilities, etc.
NDEIPI Business Training – ONE Hope Initiatives in partnership with Makomborero Zimbabwe
Ndeipi is an entrepreneurial, small business training course focusing on changing the response to the question ‘Ndeipi?’ (What’s up?) from ‘Hapana’ (Nothing!).
In a country where there is over 90% unemployment, poverty and debt are major problems leading to homelessness, alcohol abuse, crime, prostitution, poor health and feelings of helplessness. It is a commonly held belief that people are unable to do anything about their situation as they are viewed by investors as a high risk group. With little experience in managing money, they will often fail to pay back loans, or generate an income because of the social and economic situations they are facing.
Ndeipi teaches participants that they can earn an income using the resources that they already have, rather than needing a big loan or donation. Each participant will receive training in income generation and how to manage money, and US$1(or equivalent). It is a small amount to demonstrate what can be done with so little whilst reducing risk to the lender. On completion of the course participants are awarded a certificate if they have pitched their business, repaid their loan and taught and empowered another person with a micro loan.
We are excited about what these sessions can do for our families and know that this programme plays an important role in lifting these families out of the cycle of poverty and empowering them to help generate an income. Makomborero Zimbabwe families have benefited from Ndeipi in the past but not in this exclusive programme set up especially for Makomborero.
Mutsidzira (meaning “rebuild”)
Mutsidzira, our most recent project, is an annual grant-awarding competition that is open to past Makomborero Students. The students apply for a grant to run a community-based project aimed at serving the community they grew up in. The project should be something that will either have long-term benefits for the community or a short-term, one-off project. The amount awarded for each project may vary annually. 2020 applicants, looking to start projects in 2021, will be awarded a maximum of $500 per project. For more information and application forms, past Makomborero students may contact email@example.com.
Each year Mark and Laura run revision schools in the surrounding townships of Harare. These revision schools target pupils and students about to write their GCSE in October, so are run during the August school holidays. This is a much needed service for these schools, and is a wonderful way for our scholarship programme students to give back to their communities, as well as volunteer teachers from Zimbabwe or abroad. Makomborero has been welcomed with open arms by the headteachers of many high schools we partner with. Our team of volunteers and students find it very humbling working with these schools and to see the hope that many pupils and students are given just by teachers who come from very different backgrounds to them taking the time to invest in their lives. The heads often say it is an incredible motivator for them.
Support of Rural Schools
Mark and Laura have a vision for education throughout Zimbabwe and love supporting rural schools. In previous years they have worked in Mondoro/Ngezi supporting local government schools, helping to raise achievement. As a young family, whenever they go on holiday, they pop into rural schools along the way painting blackboards and leaving textbooks. These schools often don’t receive much outside help and are always so grateful for any support that they receive. It is hard to describe some of the conditions in these schools and what an impact something as small as painting a black board, donating text books, resources, chalk etc, can be. With time they hope to establish a more strategic work with rural schools but, with a young family and Mark working a demanding job, they will continue to serve in this way.