My name is Shamiso Tirimuta* I am girl aged 13 years. I was born on the 14th of March 1999, in the village of Murewa in Mashonaland East Province, here in Zimbabwe. My father’s name was Nhamo (poverty). My mother was called Grace Tirimuta*. I do not know my father’s surname that is why I used my mother’s surname. We were four in our family, and I am the third born.
I started going to school in 2006 at Chipembere primary school in Murewa. I used to stay with my grandparents. In 2009, I stopped going to school because my grandfather had stopped working. When my grandfather left formal employment, life became difficult and the four of us stopped going to school. The first few days, we continued to go to school but were continuously sent away. The school fees per term were $45/child. My grandparents then moved to Harare town and we are staying in Block 7 at Matapi Flats (this is a high density oldest suburb of Harare characterized by overcrowding and poverty). One of my grandfather’s daughters is helping with rent and our upkeep.
When we moved to Harare, I continued to stay home due to lack of school fees, but because of some miracle, I met Shanty Sasa, who was once learning at Chiedza Child Care Center and told me that they are assisting children who are not going to school due to lack of school fees. I felt very happy and went and told my grandmother. My grandmother sought clarification from Shanty’s granny who accepted to accompany us to Chiedza Child Care Center.
When we got to Chiedza Child Care Center, we saw Mr. Makoni, the Out of School Teacher Supervisor, and we told him our problem and he accepted to enroll me. That’s how I came to Chiedza Child Care Center.
Before I came to Chiedza, I used to feel very sad and troubled but because I am just a child, there was nothing I could do and I felt left behind. I want to thank Chiedza Child Care for accepting me; because if I check on some the girls of my age who are not going to school have already eloped or have children out of wedlock. Now I want to focus on my studies so that I bring change into our lives and look after my grandparents. Of the four siblings, three of us are here at Chiedza Child Care Center.
Lastly, I want to thank you all for the help that you are offering me and my 2 siblings!
For girls like Shamiso to benefit, we need funds to construct a classroom block so that the children can learn under a roof, funds to pay for her school fees to the send her back to a formal school, funds to buy furniture and stationery for teachers and pupils.
*Names have been changed for confidentiality
RESTORING HOPE-CHIEDZA CHILD CARE CENTER OUT OF SCHOOLPROGRAMME
In Zimbabwe, the schools have opened for the third term beginning on the 3rd of September until early December. Children, parents and teachers are busy getting ready for the last lap of the education calendar for 2013.
However, there are orphans and other vulnerable children who are not even aware of the school calendar. Some have never been to school, and some have dropped out of school before they even completed the infant stage oftheir education. Such is the impact of economic hardships and HIV and AIDS. They have lost hope in this competitive era, where education can open opportunities for better lives and combat poverty.
At Chiedza, the third term for the 102 children who dropped out of school or never been to school has started with hope and renewed energy. Through the hardworking and passionate retired teachers from the surrounding community, Chiedza is operating an Out of School Programme at the Center, where the orphans and othervulnerable children are attending lessons. We put the children in 3 levels and their education is fast tracked in line with their ages and levels of understanding. We call it Accelerated Learning Programme. We utilize an educational curriculum for non-formal education. The children learn in groups under a big shade, there are no classrooms. But under that big shade, there is renewed hope!
We were also innovative enough to give the children at the community center a school identity. The caregivers sew uniforms using the Chiedza colors for the out of school children. This gives them confidence and a sense of identity. The community center here at Chiedza gives the children a safe and free environment where children learn without fear of being stigmatised due to their age and level of understanding. When they are ready and confidence is boosted, they join the masses in the formal schools.
We conduct assessments when children are in level 3 to check whether they are ready for reintegrationinto the formal schools. The aim is to ensure that the children are able to read, write and attain primary education. To date we have reintegrated 70 children in the main schools. We have restored lost hope for these children. More are still coming seeking places at the center for the accelerated learning, however resources are strained. We are the bridging gap between the lost hope in the community and the formal school. This model for us is unique, as there was no recognition of non-formal education for young children in Zimbabwe. It was meant for adults only. At Chiedza we realized that we cannot ignore the challenge of school drop outs, it is a reality for orphans and vulnerable children.
With the generous support from yourselves we continue to solder on despite the challenges of limited furniture, reading books, classrooms, teacher stipend, school fees for reintegration, school uniforms and teaching materials. It gives us strength to know that we are a center of restoring hope at Chiedza Child Care Center.
Here at Chiedza Child Care Centre we understand the need for children to engage in sporting activities and as such we have invested a lot of time and effort into our sporting development program at the centre. Our main objective with this program is one which is quite clear and simple: To provide an opportunity for children to participate and develop their sporting potentials by availing assistance to enable them to play and compete in national leagues. Our other aim through this program is to engage and promote dialogue among caregivers or guardians of these children in realising positive moral values that can be inculcated in the minds of the young children.
Most of the orphans due to multiple vulnerabilities are not able to excel in their formal education. Over the years we have learnt that some of them are talented in sports which they can derive their livelihoods from. Where they live, the social norms have disintegrated and the moral values the kids possess are disappointingly low. There is a lot of drugand substance abuse, prostitution and gambling. Children end up dropping out of school. Engaging and participating in sporting development activities helps the children to keep away from engaging in immoral and risk activities. Through this development program we also facilitate the early discovery of individual sporting talent. Orphan care is everyone’s responsibility; this program helps in facilitating dialogue among community members regarding orphan care in their neighbourhood. The program provides a platform for re-visiting of lost moral values within the communities as the guardians of children get to come and support during matches and in that we step in to educate the guardians. The sporting activities will act as a vehicle for communication and social mobilisation among community members.
At the Centre we have a narrow spectrum of the type of sports that are at offer to our children though we are looking on expanding on them. Currently at offer is netball, volleyball, girls and boys’ soccer, softball and basketball. Amongst all the sports mentioned, basketball is the only sport that has remained at a recreational level since it requiresspecialised courts which the Centre does have for it to be played well. We had planned to put up a multipurpose court but the budget we had for that project was way below the quotations which we received as it was all used up for grading and leveling of our soccer field which had gum trees which needed to be uprooted .The total for the quotations sourced was $25,000 to build a multipurpose court. We resorted to picking up stones and weedingso that a lawn could be planted in the soccer pitch but the main challenge which remains is for the other remaining disciplines which need a special court for the sports to be played well.
Our children have many accolades and awards to show in their various disciplines of sports that they participate in. Some highlights of the achievements of our children are shown in the pictures attached. The girls’ team has been playing in the top flight league- Zimbabwe Netball Association league- which is tree top standard and has become the whipping dogs of the league. Coaches from the top flight league who scout for talent in netball have also promised to keep an eye on our children’s performance. They are actually being prepared for competition of their evel and will always have the attacking spirit in a competition and there is the element of learning the interpretation of rules and regulations. Children of their age will not stand a chance at all and this tactic is for every discipline. When training them, they train with the older teams to master rules of the games. The current lot is between the ages of 13-16 years. This is the winning team for 2 years in a row.
To ensure holistic development and instilling a sense of community service, the children are engaged in community service. During community work, they did very well as they had mastered the basics in the planting of a tree, weeding mulching and making a basin, pressing using feet to avoid moisture being lost and are very good at it.
Soccer field development
This has been one of our greatest feat in terms of our sports development program, as already been inferred in previous text- the upgrading of our soccer pitch. As you can see from the difference in the two pictures much was done for the pitch to get to its current status. Goal posts were also installed in the field and nets to completely furnish the field- though nets are only used when we have soccer matches lined up. Despite the kids starting of playing bare-footed, we have managed to get them soccer boots which has boosted the morale of the children through the Australian Sport Outreach Program which also helped with the funds used to buy nets, uniforms and thegoal posts previously mentioned.
As can be seen, the Sport Development Program has enjoyed some good years and has touched the lives of the children in so many ways. We wish to thank our sponsors for all they have contributed to keeping our programalive. We know that our kids still have much more to add to the sporting arena in Zimbabwe and we hope to be in a position to help them in achieving their dreams.
Chiedza Child Care Centre’s 25 students from urban areas of Mbare, Ardbennie, and Sunningdale received instruction throughout the 10 weeks covered in this report. The class met twice a week for 3, 5 hours after school on Fridays and Saturday mornings. The following topics were covered during this quarter:
Creative writing, Participation in Debate Competition, Field Trip to the National Art Gallery, Commemoration of World AIDS day-Churchill Boys High and 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
The student visited the National Art Gallery, in Harare. This was the first time for all 17 students who came on this field trip. The students were privileged to have a guided tour of the Art Gallery. They were particularly impressed with the exhibition on the city’s water sources and another on the progression of an artist’s life from a young woman to a mother. Another exhibition that stimulated much thought and discussion was an exhibition titled “Objects of Mediation”. This was an exhibition that showcased various drums, xylophones, instruments that were used in Southern and Western Africa to worship ancestors. The guide at that gallery asked the students to draw a comparison with religious places of worship now like churches and how they too use musical instruments. Many of the students come from a Christian background and it was enlightening for them to see the similarities in different belief systems/ faiths. We also discussed how the US is made up of many different religions and the importance of different religions.
16 Days Activism against Gender Based Violence
To mark this day, the class discussed what Gender Based Violence is and watched a 30 minute local film titled “Pfuma” which brought to light other issues such as HIV/ AIDS, early marriage for the girl child and the importance of education for the girl child. At the end of the film students listed various examples of Gender Based Violence that occurred in the film and how they can stand up against them in their own lives. Students were also taught on where to go if GBV does occur and how to counsel their friends if they go through a similar case.
Naison Jakana a Access student participated and won an interschool’s debate competition. The title of his speech was “Life is what you make it” Naison excels in this English class and he is a great role model to the rest of the class. He chooses to assist his colleagues with class assignments and often encourages them to read books from our library. We are very proud of his achievement!
Our Drama group had a chance to participate in the Drama Festival competitions held on the 30th of November at Churchill Boys High School.15 children accompanied by two staff members and one mentor, were present at the event. There were many events done including poetry, choir and drama .Many schools were participating though some of the school failed to attend. The event was sponsored by the Let Them Trust. The World Aids Day Drama Festival competition was mainly for the awareness of the rapid spread of the pandemic disease HIV and Aids. The theme of the event was ‘Let Them’, which called for the free participation of the children in this present world.
We had good time! Different schools performed well and this made the competitions more tough and challenging. Our Drama group was the first to be on the stage and the guys did well .The time our Drama group entered the stage the atmosphere in the hall changed as they entered in style. Even the spectators and judges confirmed this. We saw confidence in our children and this led them to be awarded with more marks. They only performed for less than 20 minutes and the judges were left with no option but gave what we deserved. The play was short and precise. The performance left the people craving for more; a clear indication that they really enjoyed the play .The play was full of exhibits and its content fell in line with theme of the event. The attire the children had dressed also contributed to the success of our group .This was the uniqueness of our Drama group over other drama groups. Churchill Drama group was our fear and they performed very well but did not manage to be judged the winners. More to that, some schools participate but their plays were not that good. Also Genius Mhlanga and Naison Jakana presented their poems and it was great. After all the schools participated the judges announced the winners and every participator got a certificate as a way motivating them. We were very excited to be nominated winners and all our children were very impressed about what they did.
We also took this opportunity to market the name Chiedza Child Care Centre and many people were eager to hear more about the centre. Many people promised to visit the centre and to our surprise we were invited to attend the launch of Harare City Library by Swedish Embassy on Thursday the 6th of December as guests.
We continue to link the centre with various “elite” Schools who have access to resource that can benefit Chiedza children. During this period we had visitors from Heritage School and St. Johns College.
Chiedza children visited Lion & Cheetah Park game reserve
Sixty children (age between 8-12 years) visited the Lion and Cheetah Park and spent the day at the park. The children were almost feeling like staying at the park because 99 % of them had never been to Game Park before. They never saw some of the animals in reality but only in televisions and books. The trip went beyond the point of entertainment as it also, opened up the mind of the children. It was not surprising to hear some of them calling a buck, a goat. This exposure was of significance as the children came back knew some of the things they never came across. Interestingly, the children had some piece of papers and pens to jot down notes about what they saw and learnt an indication of maturity in our children. We also learnt that exposure is much better than reading books though it creates a foundation.
After the tour we left the park and led our way to have lunch with the children. The whole day was awesome as the children enjoyed the food at maximum. After lunch at the chicken Inn the children played the “Ajig jah” for free. After all the funnies Edith Douglas gave a vote of thanks to the sponsors and they were surprised by the way she presented her speech.
Chiedza children excelled in the Junior Chamber International sponsored public speaking competitions
We are holders of the JCI flag in debate and public speaking. Chiedza children had a great experience when they participated in the JCI debate and public speaking competitions held at Prince Edward High School. We were four institutions together with Dzikwa Trust, Blossom and Bindura. Rachel Mhlanga competed in the juniors group and Genius took on the seniors and three other guys were for the debate. In public speaking participants were given a notion to work on which reads; ‘A world fit for children, eradicating extreme poverty’, which was a prepared speech. Our children endow with more content on the topic than any other competitors. The children clutched the chance to expose their talents in front of many people. More to that, they learnt to scrap against the stage fright and self-confidence seems to be part of their nature. They stand their ground full of poise and came out as champions at the end of the event. Rachel Mhlanga representing the juniors came as second in public speaking and Genius Mhlanga representing seniors came as the first in public speaking. Also the other three guys who were working as a team in debate came first and the day proved to be made for Chiedza children. Every contestant from Chiedza walked out with something in his or her hand. This demands more exertion to train our children so as to equip them with leadership qualities. Also this event gave our children the chance to shine in front of respected people like the JCI Senator of East Africa.
Chiedza children visited Mukuvisi Woodlands
The trip was for the English class group as part of their education. Before we took on our tour in the reserve we had a 30 minutes lecture with the guys who were responsible for that. The children benefited a lot from this lecture as it touched much on the ecosystem. Our children were very participative in this lecture. Those who are taking on geography took advantage of the trip as the lecture opened up their mind on natural resources conservation.
Chiedza English Access group visited National Art Gallery
The children enjoyed a lot, above and beyond entertainment the trip was of importance as it opened up the children about the history of the country. In the gallery, children saw many of the tools and artifacts which were used long ago. The children were more excited because they came to know how the people were living past back. We had good time and the children learned a lot from the Art Gallery. The social life and economic life of the people of the past was that amazing as the children commented. The trip was an evidence of what the children learn in history as a subject at school, so many of children were helped. More to that, the trip proved to be of significance as most of the children did not even know some of the tools which were used in the past.
We had Dylan Ranch, a volunteer from the USA spending 3 weeks training our children in basic carpentry skills. A total of twenty desks were produced. These desks will be used by the out of school children at the centre.
Our netball team has again qualified to represent the region at national competitions that are going to be held at United College of Education in Bulawayo on the 6th-9th December 2012. We know them well, they have lifted the Chiedza name at national competitions twice, and they are going to do it three times in a row. These competitions have instilled so much confidence among the girls. Chiedza netball team is heading to Bulawayo (the second largest city in Zimbabwe) to defend their national title championship. The girls have so much confidence and it is our hope that their self esteem will make them retain the trophy. They have gained so much experience and resilience in these competitions.
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