Christmas 2020 at Makomborero
We have come to the end of our 10th year of Makomborero Zimbabwe and what a year it has been! Our Internal students were able to return to their schools in September, which saw the end of online learning for them. This was a wonderful opportunity to return to some kind of normal education – amidst strict protocols. They only had a few weeks in the classroom before their AS and A level examinations started. It was a long, nearly two months of exams but we are confident that our students have done well, despite the interruptions to their education.
Our external students' experience could not, unfortunately, be more different. They were able to return to school in November but sadly due to the ongoing pay dispute between teachers and the government, our external students might have been physically in the classroom but sadly no teaching took place. It is a tragic situation we find ourselves in. Even though there was no online provision and very little classroom time for our external students at their respective government schools, their final A level examinations went ahead during the month of December. We are very proud of our students and how they have pursued their education, self-learning for the duration of this year.
Even with Covid-19 restrictions, many of our Internal students were able to enjoy a little bit of sport and co-curricular programmes. We also saw 2 of the schools have their Annual Prize Givings with only pupils attending and we were thrilled that many of our students received prizes for their academic achievements throughout the year. This was only possible due to the incredible online learning that the schools provided throughout the closure of the schools. We are grateful to all the teachers and staff who adapted to this way of learning and provided an excellent learning environment. Thank you!
Shingirai, Simon and Ngonidzashe - Academic full colours.
Winnie - Academic full colours, U6 Biology prize, U6 Maths prize
Yeukai - U6 Maths Cup, Subject prize U6 Chemistry, U6 merit award
Tanatswa – L6 merit award, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths cup
Melanie – L6 merit Award
Bradley - Academic full colours, Further Maths subject prize, Pure Maths subject prize, Resolve and determination trophy, Best Import Award
Milton - Academic full colours, Subject prize U6 Comp Science
Shalom - Full academic colours, Team awards for first aid
Our Lower Sixth Internal students were still able to participate in their various leadership camps – even if they looked different to what they normally look like. These are always wonderful times of building relationships.
Our graduation this year was an incredible celebration of our graduating 2020 class – both external and internal students! What a beautiful day celebrating achievements and personal growth. At times during the afternoon there was not a dry eye in the room! We love this opportunity to celebrate our students. We also ended the term with our Christmas party – where finally external and internal students were brought together again! What joy and laughter we had together!!
Our UZ students have also not been spared the stress of Covid-19 and having to learn remotely. Many of them returned to lectures during this 3rd Term and we had a handful graduate, as well as a few start their University careers. The fees have gone up significantly and we are incredibly grateful to Sandvik for their continued support towards Makomborero Zimbabwe. We have been proud to see how these students have continued to bravely embrace their education amidst economic hardships and Covid. A shout-out to our graduates – a medical doctor, a mathematician, 2 engineers and an accountant.
Recruiting for 2021
Our recruiting for 2021 is underway – it will be our 11th year and we are incredibly humbled that we get to do this again and again! We continue to refine our testing process – though this year we have had to scale it down a little due to Covid. Our main focus still remains that of impacting lives for one day, even if it is their only day with Makomborero. This is our biggest goal, while also adequately assessing their academic prowess. We sow seeds of hope during this process and see lights come on in eyes, even if only 25 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 weeks! A beautiful culture of serving has developed among our students over these testing days and it fills our hearts. I wish you could have been a fly on the wall to observe them during round 1! Nothing is beneath all of us – we are a team! Sanitising desks and singing and dancing in the process, cleaning toilets willingly, setting up a rota for all the jobs that needed to be done. Thank you guys!
Our additional programmes
The Ndeipi entrepreneurial training programme is a great partnership with One Hope Initiatives who run the course. Our sessions were crammed together at the end of the year due to Covid but the impact was still wonderful. Sessions covered things like 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 Girl Mentorship Programme last year at two schools and increased to three schools this year. We had a phenomenal start to the year but sadly due to Covid had to shut all the programmes down. This programme is having a deep impact on girls’ lives and Mercy, our Girl Mentorship programme co-ordinator put it so beautifully this year…. “As the months go by, spending time with the girls is like watching flowers blossom. I now understand that the educating process does not happen overnight & witness how much trust, vulnerability, patience & believing in each other, goes into the work the Girl Mentorship Programme does.” We can’t wait to get back into the schools next year under strict Covid protocols, adding a 4th school! We have an inspiring team of mentors!
Our Mobile Lab also only ran for the first term – again it is a privilege to see students access Science equipment in a working lab and have them experience a different way of learning – always with the aim of sowing seeds of hope in each of their hearts. Thank you to our great team of teachers!!!! We will be operating in the new year under strict Covid protocol and will only have 5 students attend a session at a time.
Our University Scholars
We bade farewell to a few international scholarship students again this year and they bravely left or embarked on their first semester in Zimbabwe online! Hasn’t education changed? I can’t help but think this might actually work in our favour and we see online facilities become available to Zimbabweans at cheaper, more affordable prices! We had students leave for Rochester University, Agnes Scott in the United States, University of Edinburgh and University of Cambridge – both in the United Kingdom, International University in Morocco, Jacobs in Germany, and the Botswana International University. We also welcomed 5 new students to local universities taking our total of local University students to 24. We are incredibly proud of all our students and their accomplishments. This year has seen many students take a gap year and we have enjoyed seeing them embrace this time even amidst the uncertainty and complications of Covid. We are thrilled to be offering two gap year posts with Makomborero next year.
Makomborero in the UK
Our team in the UK has continued to work hard on behalf of Makomborero, despite all the Covid restrictions. Unfortunately many of this year's planned events were cancelled or severly curtailed but we are really pleased that our Annual Supporters' Evening was able to take place, despite having to be held online via Zoom. The silver lining was that we were able to open the event up to supporters all over the world and it was great to be able to participate live from Harare. A Youtube video of this event can be found in the links below.
Reflecting on the last year
I know many of our students feel robbed, particularly our Upper Sixth year. This was meant to be the year where they were comfortable and confident in their schools, able to embrace all that these schools offer. I know as a team we feel robbed of many of the activities and mentorship that normally happens in the year with all our A-level students and University students. We have spent much more money on mobile data as we endeavoured to give our students access to internet and online learning facilities. I can’t wait to have all the University Students at our house for an evening. However, the adversity has given us an opportunity to refine systems across the Makomborero organisation.
We were donated a wonderful property on Kerry Road, Harare which we have earmarked for a University residence. We have won a Beit Trust Grant to renovate the house and work is under way. We are excited at what this holds for us. Our main office will also move to this property – the office team have worked in a very cramped environment at our house and this will make for a much better working environment!
Despite the hardships of this year, it has been a good year to look back on and we look to 2021 with hope that Makomborero will continue to change lives, no matter the circumstances or obstacles we face. Thank you to everyone who continues to stand with us and change students’ lives forever. We are grateful and privileged to partner with you.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!