We are pleased to provide the supporters of Camfed with updates from our Mothers Support Groups in Zimbabwe working to keep their communities’ children in school. These MSGs are groups are made up of local mothers and grandmothers, most of whom have never been to school themselves, who have come together to organize support for children who have lost one or both parents and children from the neediest families in their communities.
Consider the Pepukai Mother Support Group, in the Chiredzi District of Zimbabwe. Most of the two dozen mothers and grandmothers in this group never attended school themselves, but they are committed to ensuring that children in their community, especially the girls, do. The mothers use profits from baking bread, weaving mats, raising goats and chicks, and growing vegetables – to pay for school fees, uniforms, food and school supplies to send 11 children, including 7 teenage girls, to school.
The Pepukai group is one of more than 2,500 parent support groups that have been brought together and seeded by Camfed with small sums of usually around $100, as well as extensive training and encouragement. With a keen desire to connect and learn from each other, they organize their own exchange meetings across districts, often traveling hundreds of miles to spread the word and help one another organize efforts in their communities. In 2011, more than 48,000 children received educational support through local philanthropic initiatives like this. Some communities have even been inspired to create Father Support Groups, a chance for the men of the community to join the mothers in supporting education in such efforts as building girls’ hostels.
“People in rural communities have a lot of potential,” says Cama member Fiona Mavhinga, “But poverty is standing in their way.” Mothers Support Groups have fostered this potential in so many areas affected by severe economic decline in Zimbabwe, and restored confidence in education as a path out of poverty. This vital support provided by Mother Support Groups is relieving the pressure on poor families, helping improve children’s attendance and retention in school. The groups also speak out in support of children, talking to other parents about the importance of their child going to school, and the disadvantages of early marriage and against child abuse.
The momentum of Mothers Support Groups has continued to grow, empowering women, men and even children in their communities to coordinate their efforts to keep all children safe and educated. With sincere gratitude for the support we have received from our Global Giving community, we have reached our fundraising goal and will be closing this project. Thank you!