Jun 3, 2020

Connecting through shared experiences

The beginning of 1st Term saw a new group of girls. The Senior Mistresses of each partner school look forward to the programme starting each year, as they are seeing positive change in the girls that have been through it. In addition to the 2 schools from last year, this year we added another school bringing us to 2 schools in the Mufakose area and 1 school in Mbvuku area. We recuited 10 girls from each school who fitted our vulnerable criteria.  We have Local Community Mentors who have finished their one year training with us running sessions closely monitored by our Operations Manager and new Community Mentors being trained for the duration of this year. 

To start the year our Mentors and Trainee Community Mentors undergo extensive training and safeguarding sessions. Throughout the term the mentors also received various training sessions on the topics covered to help them effectively facilitate the sessions. We were thrilled to take our Chairman from our UK Board on his recent visit, to the programme in Mbvuku and he enjoyed having a peek into how it all runs.

Unfortunately all three programmes were cut short due the COVID-19 Lockdown and schools have been closed since March.  We have taken this time to review our material and prepare for the possible opening of schools under strict COVID-19 guidelines and have bought the necessary PPE for the sessions to commence as soon as schools open. However, we remain in touch with the mentors and it has been encouraging to hear how they have kept a positive attitude in this lockdown, despite the difficult circumstances. Some have taken to gardening, while others are making masks, others learning a new language but above all it has been a time to connect with family.

We also asked Mercy who has been working closely with the mentors to share her experience of the Girl Mentorship Programme which I believe sums up what the project is about. Here is what she had to say - 

I came into the Girl mentorship programme as an excited mentor who was expecting to see a group of timid, vulnerable young girls. I was not sure in this case what vulnerable would look like or sound like, perhaps I was even a tiny bit apprehensive but I was sure there would be spirit, I find there always is in young people.

On my first day at a Girl mentorship session in 2019, I felt like I had joined a group of old friends who had no problems adding a new face to their circle. This particular group of girls had been meeting for a while and they all seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. There had been the exchange of library books and one of the mentors had read out a short story about an inspiring woman, I think it was Marie Curie that day. It was all pretty relaxed, I was enjoying the atmosphere. The girls were having a ‘free session’ meaning that it was not a front led session, they could chat about anything and the mentors would only step in here and there. The first discussion that day had turned to physical punishment as a way of disciplining naughty children. Over snacks and with squares of crocheting in their hands, the girls spoke about their experiences in this area. They were crocheting like pros, it was hard to believe it was a recently learnt skill. Some spoke of their experiences so lightly, I could feel both pity and anger rise in me but I followed the lead of the regular mentors who at nearly twenty years my juniors were already teaching me something about listening and doing it well. I quietly sat with many questions forming in my head. I was bubbling to know whether the girls thought it was right to administer physical punishment, whether this is a method they would use if/when they had children.

Clothing became the follow on topic. How should girls dress especially when going to church? There was a general sense that there is a relationship between verbal and sexual abuse and the way a girl dressed. But does that make it okay? I was dying to ask.

As I walked away on that first day, I had a cocktail of emotions going through me. My heart was both broken and full. I had had the chance to throw my questions into the conversation but I had not been prepared for some of the answers. The girls had passion, they had spirit, they had some kind of fearlessness that shone through some of their walls, some kind of vulnerability yes, but a kind that could be worked with. They were clearly at a stage where they could all stand up for something. So what was lacking? Education. Someone to impart the knowledge that surrounds these topics and others so the girls’ discussions and their way of living can be less about accepting all things as they are and more about opening their minds to how things should be . And the work that the Girl Child does goes a long way towards this. That is what comforted me and filled my heart with hope as I made my journey home that day. Such heartbreaking views and a poor outlook on life are the very reason why Girl child does the work it does. I wondered how many girls in Zimbabwe on that particular afternoon had felt safe enough to discuss their issues without the fear of being judged or punished. How many girls had been given a voice, a chance to ask for help even if they did not realise this is what they were doing? I was glad this group was giving them that at the very least.

Since that day, I have had the privilege of attending all three of our Girl Child locations. As the months go by, spending time with the girls is like watching a flower blossom. I now understand that the educating process does not happen overnight. I understand more about how much trust, vulnerability, patience and believing in each other goes into the work Girl Child does. I am pleased at how topics are addressed head on, how it makes the girls brave to own who they are with a hope for tomorrow. My hope and prayer is that this work is understood, valued and supported. Our donors have been incredible and year in year out we continue to need their support. At present, we have the joy of changing the lives of 30 girls a year, our dream is to increase this.

homemade masks
homemade masks
Crotcheting session
Crotcheting session
Mercy and Phoebe at the sessions
Mercy and Phoebe at the sessions
Joan at Mabvuku High
Joan at Mabvuku High

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May 7, 2020

Hope Amidst the Global Pandemic

An Update from Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's shutdown has been extended for a further two weeks, with the lifting of a few restrictions.  Our internal students are all in the very fortunate position to be able to continue with their studies online.  Sadly our external students do not know when schools will open and when they might be able to start studying again, as well as our University Students. We continue to stay in touch with all our students and support them and their families as best we can at this time. Meanwhile it has been heart warming to receive some good news. Congratulations to Ntombizodwa on winning the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study for her PhD at the Cambridge University in England. Her research will explore immune processes and their functions.

 

Covid-19

All of our programmes have been put on hold due to Covid-19. With Covid-19 in the background the whole of this year and seeing the devastating impact of the virus on many parts of the world we knew that it was inevitable that it would end up here at some stage. All schools were closed. We were able to send our students home with emergency food packs to hopefully help their families during the 21 day lock down we are now in and with literature on how to keep safe. Obviously due to lack of testing and funding it is very hard to tell the devastating effects of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe but we do know it is here and that we were grossly unprepared for it as a nation. We hope that this shut down will mitigate the spread but the next few months will tell.

As an office staff we have been able to work remotely. It has been a wonderful opportunity to update systems and look at how we run programmes, where we can improve and change etc. So the lock down has its advantages! It is unclear as to when we will be able to start running our programmes but we stay in constant contact with our students, supporting them and our families during this difficult time. For many of our families vending vegetables is their main source of income and this has obviously been affected by the lockdown.

We are very grateful to Mr Brands who we purchased food packs from and delivered to 44 of our Makomborero families with instant porridge, mahewu, chimodo bread mix, soya chunks, salt and 10kg mealie meal! What an incredible package of food!  Our students were sending in messages saying how wonderful the chimodo bread was in particular! Thank you to our individual donors who make this possible. We have had some sad messages of some of our families running out of food in their areas - so this arrived just in time! These parcels have been delivered to our internal and external families.  We will look to distribute one more food pack during lockdown.  Our university students have also had financial assistance for obtaining food during this period. Many of our families are not employed and their income was from selling vegetables on the side of the road, this is prohibited at the moment.

 

General Update

We celebrated 9 students coming into the boarding house this term. 5 girls and 4 boys – the first year the girls have out numbered the boys!! St Georges are now taking girls into Sixth Form and we are so grateful that they have agreed to take 4 students this year – 2 boys and 2 girls. Our partnership with Hellenic, Gateway and St Georges is crucial to the success of our internal scholarship programme. We would not be able to run this programme without them! Thank you! The adjustment to a very different culture is incredibly hard for our new students and there are often tears, cultural misunderstandings, etc and we are so proud of our students for pushing through these tough early weeks! They bravely step into sports and clubs they have never been exposed to before, mixing with super wealthy students who often take their education for granted and we see them slowly find their place at these school. With lots of encouragement from our Upper Sixth students, teachers and our staff. Welcome to the family Marshal, Trust, Tanatswa, Donell, Dadiso, Priscilla, Nicole, Ropa and Melanie.

 

Results

We are thrilled to release our results for 2019!  As always we are so proud of our students – we never say we take the cleverest students, but we take students are academically sound and who will give of their best – often seeing incredible value added.Our A-level results for our internal students writing Cambridge examinations was as follows 5A*, 12A, 3B and 1C.  Many of these results were just 1% or 2% below a higher grade!  Well done guys – you have done us proud.Our AS-level results for our internal students writing Cambridge examinations was as follows 25A, 6B, and 2C.  We are thrilled with these results and are so proud of these students and the adjustment they have made in just one year!  N.B.  there are no A* at AS-level.Our A-level results for our external students writing Zimsec examinations was as follows 18A, 8B and 3C.  You should all be so proud of yourselves as you study in schools that have struggled to function well due to the harsh economic climate. Thank you to all the teachers and schools for the incredible time investment into each one of our students!  We could not do this without you.

 

We continue to run a comprehensive life skills programme at the boarding house during the week and a few Sunday sessions a term. These sessions really help us build deeper relationships with our students and help lay a foundation for their future lives. The Albertyn family have monthly dinners at the house as a family and these evenings have turned into wonderful craft evenings where our students have been learning knotting and friendship bracelet making. This is something new to all of them and was such an incredible donation from a supporter overseas!

 

Our 14 External students have all started their sixth form studies at their high density schools and have all settled well. Welcome to the family Hendis, Tadiwanashe, Tapiwa, Spaasta, Tinotenda, Christopher, Claudette, Gerald, Lissa, Basil, Tadiwanashe, Moses, Prestige and Rejoice.We took extra external students this year. This was because we were faced with the reality of how desperate the economic situation our country is in during our testing process in December. We could see that hundreds of students were not going to go onto Sixth Form, due to finances and we wanted to play a slightly bigger role in enabling a few more to be able to go. They have all slotted into Makomborero life well and we have so enjoyed our Sunday afternoon life skills sessions with them this term. What an honour to be able to stand in the gap so to speak. With the help of local sponsors we were able to give each of our new students (internal and external) a back pack, stationary and a few other bits to help them start school.

 

Girl Mentorship Programme 

All our programmes for the year were launched with lots of training and mentorship of our leaders before hand. Thank you to our team who gave so tirelessly of themselves to get everything running so well. We launched 3 girl mentorship programmes in 3 schools – 30 Form 2 girls in total attending mentorship meetings every Saturday. What an incredible programme this is. The mentors are phenomenal as they give so tirelessly to these young ladies and we quite literally see these girls transform before our eyes! What a journey this year will be!

 

Mobile Science Lab

Our Mobile Science Lab launched again with 1 session being run every Saturday and a wonderful group of Form 3 students doing various Biology and Physics practicals – we can’t wait to welcome the next lot of students in Term 2. This is such an incredible time for these students to receive hands on experience in their subjects and also for them to be immersed in a positive, life giving learning environment. Thank you to our wonderful team of teachers for making this lab run so well!

 

NDEIPI? Training

Ndeipi programme was also launched again for this year – with 18 participants to attend a 6 session, spread throughout the year, entrepreneurial training programme in small businesses. This programme gives such hope to many of our families who are unemployed and it is a joy to see them learn and their lives change through this.

 

UK Chairman Visit

We had the privilege of having our UK Chairman come out for a week. He immersed himself fully in the life of Makomborero and we were able to share all our programmes with him. He even got to have dinner at a students house. He cheered us on, was a great sounding board and friend and we are incredibly grateful to him for coming out!

 

Congratulations

Congratulations to Ntombizodwa on winning the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study for her PhD at the Cambridge University in England. Her research will explore immune processes and their functions.

" Immune responses are the core to any development of drug therapies, vaccines or healing of diseases." This couldn't have come any better time than now when the world is battling with the global pandemic like COVID-19. Ntombi hopes her research will one day work to the betterment of the healthcare standards of Zimbabwe. 
Well done Ntombi , we are so proud of you!
#Makomborero #ChangeMakers #TheFutureisFemale #changinglives#MakZimFamily #smallcharities #support

Mobile Science Lab
Mobile Science Lab
External students group
External students group
Girl Mentorship Programme
Girl Mentorship Programme
Gates Scholarship Foundation
Gates Scholarship Foundation
Milton home studying
Milton home studying
Coronavirus face masks
Coronavirus face masks

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Attachments:
Feb 25, 2020

The bus remains an enabling factor for Makomborero

We say happy 2020 this is our 1st report for the Bus project. I must say we have not made much progress in terms of fundraising and towards even a tenth of the required amount. The Nissan caravan will soon be back on the road after long service. We were in the process of trying to change any of the outdated parts and just so we can extend its life on the road. Mr. K,(as affectionately known to students)  our devoted driver is in the process of having it inspected for road and safety worthiness. An insurance assessor will also be able to evaluate it once again and we will update our insurance cover. The bus remains a much needed enabling factor of the work we do at Makomborero. School children go to school, have to attend extracurricular activities and at the end of the day be safe back at the Resource Center. We continue to have an erratic supply of fuel and it has not improved despite the government's assurance that money is being invested and fuel will be available. As reported in the media Zimbabwe like many African countries in the region is run by cartels and the divide between the rich and poor continues to be wider each day. Among the shortages, we now have to queue for mealie meal which is a staple and other commodities which only come in short supply such as bread and other imported food items. We have had 2 consecutive droughts and apart from the fuel being used in the vehicles we constantly need diesel to run a generator and pump borehole water for use for the 24 people residing at the Resource Center. Life has not been easy. It takes a lot of patience and a certain level of faith to go about each day. Hope is our only "fuel" and we continue to look forward to better days.

 

Here is a look at some of the updates of our activities generally. In case you missed the publishing of the Newsletter.

The results of our 2019 students are in (drum roll please...!), and our 2020 intake are settling in to life in the boarding house/at their new schools. As we reflect on our amazing students, we also look back at the acts of generosity which have made all of this possible.  Thanks to each and every one of you for your continued support and encouragement - it has made such a difference to the life of each and every student. 

2019 results

We are thrilled to release our results for 2019!  As always we are so proud of our students – we never say we take the cleverest students, but we take students who are academically sound and who will give of their best – often seeing incredible value-added.

 
Our A-level results for our internal students writing Cambridge examinations was as follows:

  • 5A*
  • 12A
  • 3B and
  • 1C. 

Many of these results were just 1% or 2% below a higher grade!  Well done guys – you have done us proud.

 
Our AS-level results for our internal students writing Cambridge examinations was as follows:

  • 25A
  • 6B and
  • 2C. 

We are thrilled with these results and are so proud of these students and the adjustment they have made in just one year!  (N.B. there are no A* at AS-level).

 
Our A-level results for our external students writing Zimsec examinations was as follows:

  • 18A
  • 8B and
  • 3C. 

You should all be so proud of yourselves as you study in schools that have struggled to function well due to the harsh economic climate.

 
Thank you to all the teachers and schools for the incredible time investment into each one of our students!  We could not do this without you.

 

Generosity

 Wee are continually amazed by the generosity of our supporters, both in the UK and in Zimbabwe - thank you! 


Your support ranges from all the donations which make it possible to run the Resource Centre (often at great sacrifice by individual sponsors and corporates in a challenging economic climate), to economic donations for our various campaigns. 

As we look back at the year, we sincerely thank all of our donors for the funds raised on GlobalGiving - we are now at an incredible $39,040.99! Thank you so much for your support so far, and we will continue to strive towards our initial target of $50,000 in 2020 - spread the word! Thanks too to GlobalGiving who enable small charities like Makomborero to have access to funding, which otherwise wouldn't be possible. 

We are so grateful to the Zimbabwe Corporate community and individuals (both in Zimbabwe and abroad) who play a big role in sustaining us as an organization, despite the general economic environment. We sincerely hope we continue in these partnerships as we build future leaders of Zimbabwe.

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