Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe

by Makomborero
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Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Change Student Lives through Education in Zimbabwe
Makomborero external students
Makomborero external students

GlobalGiving Report – Term 1 April 2022

A good start to the new year!

2022 begins with a few welcomes!

We are so pleased to be able to start 2022 with you and to give you an update of the first term. We can’t believe we are in April already! This year we have welcomed 27 new students to the Makomborero family - 10 Lower Sixth Internals and 17 Lower Sixth Externals (pictured). They have had a wonderful term of preparing for their A Levels, getting to know each other and attending Group Therapy sessions. 

We have also welcomed our second intake of Gap Year students, Nicolle and Tanatswa. We are proud of them making the transition from being A’Level students to live-in Gap Year students. They have done an amazing job of assisting with the running of the boarding house as well as taking on tasks at the office. We want to take this opportunity to thank the kind donor who donated funds to build and kit out the Gap Year accommodation, now fondly known as ‘The Green House’ (pictured). It’s a lovely and much needed addition to the boarding house.

Another warm welcome goes to our new House Mother, Mrs Tambowoneyi. She has had a wonderful start with the students and we are enjoying having her as part of the team!

 

A Level students

Our Upper Sixth Internal students started off with attending online lessons from mid-January. Face to face lessons started at the beginning of February for both Upper and Lower Sixth internal students. We are so proud of the Lower Sixes making the transition from their former schools to their current schools. Many of them have joined clubs and taken up sport keeping staff on their toes with school runs but definitely making us proud!  Our Upper Sixth external students also started attending face to face lessons later than usual, unfortunately without any online lessons prior to that. Our Lower Sixth external students have not attended lessons at all as O’Level results have just been released (mid-April) which is much later than the norm due to exams being written into January 2022. Lower Sixth external students are beginning to look for places to study their A’Level with the hope of starting lessons during the second term. Throughout the first term, the Makomborero team has been in contact with the Lower Sixth external students to encourage and equip them to make the best school choices.

 

We have been privileged to be able to offer Group Therapy sessions to all our Upper and Lower Sixth students as part of their Life Skills Sessions. External students travelled in on selected Saturdays and these sessions provided a great platform for them to get to know each other. We took the opportunity to use these Saturdays to give out helpful information on how to apply to universities and to give guidance on choosing schools for A’Levels. Mr and Mrs Albertyn gave out tablets and tips on how to maximise the use of these to the new Lower Sixth external students. Lots of fun was had throughout and the Easter Egg Hunt was a hit!

 

Internal students had their Group Therapy sessions during the week. Their Easter Egg Hunt was on the last Sunday of the term and the Albertyns had fun leading this together with the Gappies. We are so pleased to have been able to offer Group Therapy sessions to our students. It has changed their lives forever and helped them to make sense of some of their difficult pasts and backgrounds. We are very grateful to a kind donor who ensured we did not have to pay full price for the sessions otherwise we just would not have been able to afford them!

 

All Lower Sixth students had eye tests as part of their medical checks. These were heavily discounted by Specsavers who have supported us greatly over the years. We cannot thank them enough as these tests are another area where we see the lives of our incoming students changed. Of the 27 students, 8 needed glasses with one case being particularly bad.

 

Examination results

Under the most difficult circumstances, our students produced amazing results! We grinned, we jumped for joy, we did happy claps and we are still beaming with pride.

Our 10 A’Level Cambridge students had a collective of:                                                 26A*, 9A and 4B

Our 10 AS Level Cambridge students had a collective of:                                               35A, 5B and 2C

Our 13 A’Level ZIMSEC students had a collective of:                                                        25A, 10B, 5C, 3D and 2E

Our 27 Lower Sixth O’Level ZIMSEC results were as follows:                                                            186A, 83B and 12C

One Lower Sixth student wrote Cambridge O’Level and his results were 7A*, 2A and 1B

                   

Special mention goes to:

Internal student Tanatswa who was at Gateway High. He had 5A* at A’Level!

Internal Lower Sixth student Vitalis who was at Goromonzi High School. He had 16As at ZIMSEC O’Level

Internal Lower Sixth student Rufaro who was at St Faith’s High School. He had 18As at ZIMSEC O’Level

 

Well done to each and every one of you! We are very much aware that you have not had anywhere near a normal two years! We are in awe of your strength and ability to cope with the difficult situations thrown at you. You inspire us!

 

Class of 2021

Our Class of 2021 has done a great job of keeping in touch and letting us know how they are doing. We have seen many of them find jobs as they wait for university offers which we look forward to celebrating soon.

 

University students in Zimbabwe

Our local university students started back earlier than usual to finish off exams that were pending from 2021 due to Covid-19. Exams were written over the months of January and February with the new semester starting in March. It gave most students little time to rest. We are proud of our students for embracing ths situation so well.

UZ fees have gone up three times over the months of March/April 2022 with most degree programmes now triple the price they were last semester. Most university students appreciate the stipends we give them as they would otherwise struggle to keep up with the cost of living and we in turn appreciate the donors who enable us to give out these stipends semester after semester.

We now have a total of thirteen students living at our University Residence, eight more students were welcomed to the house this year. They are a jolly bunch who can be heard singing and having lively debates. We have had some wonderful discussions where students have expressed how much they are enjoying staying in a clean, spacious and functional home! They are loving being able to pick from the variety of vegetables and fruit in the flourishing garden as well as playing games on the grounds and sitting in the gazebo. Our official opening is set for the month of April. We are eternally grateful to the donors of the house and to Beit Trust for providing this haven to our students and we look forward to celebrating together at the official opening.

 

University students outside of Zimbabwe

It’s always good to hear from our past Makomborero students and keep up with what they are doing in various parts of the world. Past students continue to mentor current students via the Alumni Mentorship Programme, another great way of keeping in touch and giving back.

 

Other projects

Our Girl Child Mentorship Programme began with a successful mentors’ breakfast where the focus was on inputting into the mentors and planning for the year ahead. Mentors were joined by Dr Bogezi from the Makomborero Zimbabwe  board of trustees as well as our COO, Co-founder and Girl Child Programme visionary Mrs Albertyn. Both spoke on the value of being a mentor and what an essential part of the Makomborero family mentors are. The sessions with the mentees began shortly after with two schools to start with and the third school joining us a couple of weeks later. We are grateful that despite all the pressures the schools face, the selection process went well and we met thirty new girls for the first time this last term. They were excited to become mentees and are looking forward to spending the year with us. We closed the term with our usual Girl Child lunch. It was full of food, conversation and some much appreciated art therapy!

 

The Mobile Science Lab also started well. We are still recruiting below full capacity as we continue to be mindful of Covid-19. Students enjoyed getting involved in both Physics and Biology practicals, most for the very first time.

 

Ndeipi! small business training was off to a great start! We had over twenty parents/guardians attend both meetings this term. We were pleased to be able to extend this training to Girl Child mentee parents/guardians for the first time with very pleasing results. The Ndeipi! participants learnt a lot in the first two sessions with some reporting they had started buying and selling after the first meeting and making small profits. We appreciate our continued partnership with One Hope Initiatives and we cannot wait to see and support the projects that will come from this year’s participants.

 

 

Thank you

Thank you Gateway, Hellenic and St Georges staff for partnering with us and for all the hard work you sow into our internal students! Thank you to our government school teachers. We appreciate all the hard work you put into educating our external students. Without all of you, our students would not be able to produce such amazing results and we would not be able to ‘release’ such well-rounded human beings into the world. Thank you to each and every one of our sponsors and donors. Monetary donations, funding of specific projects, donations of stationery, food and clothes - without all

Gappies accommodation AKA 'The Greenhouse'
Gappies accommodation AKA 'The Greenhouse'
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Christmas 2021 at Makomborero
Christmas 2021 at Makomborero

The end of 2021

2021 was another amazing year at Makomborero Zimbabwe! As we draw near to the end of the year, we feel the usual concoction of happiness, sadness (to say goodbye to our upper sixes), relief about the things that have gone well and the kind of gratitude we always find difficult to put in words. The end of the year is another reminder that we could never have done this without our donors, supporters and partner schools. We are truly humbled.

Covid-19 and its effects continued to be felt throughout the last part of the year. Our team is now accustomed to re-jigging things and taking small windows of opportunity as they present themselves. With Covid-19 easing up and the team ‘refusing’ to be stopped, we managed to do a lot more of the ‘normal’ Makomborero things at the end of this year than we did during the past two years.

A-Level students

Thanks to our partner schools, our internal students continued to have face to face learning right up until exam time. The Upper Sixth internals completed their exams in November and stayed at the boarding house for various end of year celebrations such as end of year dances, the Christmas party and the annual camp. All internal students did a great job of keeping their spirits up and coming up with ways to keep themselves entertained such as movie nights, games nights etc. This year, internal students have had to spend a great amount of time at the boarding house to minimise the risk of Covid-19. Weekends at home proved too risky and where it was possible, parents and guardians visited. Lower Sixes managed to go on their leadership camps which they all enjoyed and learnt a lot from. It was worth all the Covid-19 protocols they had to adhere to upon their return. We are proud that despite the anomalies, there were some impressive academic achievements where many students received prizes! We celebrate all our students and were pleased to be able to do so in person at some of their prize giving ceremonies. We continue to be extremely grateful to the teachers who worked so hard with our students to make these achievements possible.

 Our external students have also had face to face lessons this term. We were able to have meaningful contact with them on a few occasions when they came to the boarding house for their life skills sessions and to have more study materials loaded onto their tablets. A lot of them felt they were still playing catch up but were relieved to be back to normal lessons. Their tablets which had pre-loaded studying materials proved to be an invaluable resource. Third term for our external students started later than usual as the country was emerging from Covid-19 restrictions. The knock-on effect is that the Christmas break is much shorter and they will be writing their A’Level exams into the new year, some starting back as early as the 3rd of January 2022. We continue to be amazed at the tenacity of our external students. Year after year they surprise us with how adaptable they can be and how fiercely they chase their right to education. External students, we are so proud of you!

 There were a few opportunities to jointly celebrate with both internal and external students, starting with our graduation ceremony. While it was very sad to say our goodbyes to the Upper Sixes, the occasion was beautiful. All our Upper Sixes had achieved so much under very difficult circumstances and there were some real precious moments when Mrs Albertyn and Mrs Chikowore reminded each individual of how far they had come and how amazing they are. Our Lower Sixth internal students helped out with pointing guests in the right direction, sanitising hands and giving out masks and they did an amazing job with serving the food.

The Christmas party followed soon after and once again all our students had a great time playing games and eating food lovingly prepared by staff.

To top it all off was a joint weekend camping experience with a focus on mental and emotional health. It allowed for deeper relationships amongst students and was a breath of fresh air after two years of not being able to host a joint camp.

 Our recruiting process for 2022 A’Level students has just ended, leaving Mark and Laura Albertyn with probably some of the hardest decisions they have to make each year. However, every single year great comfort can be taken in that the testing process is not just a selection exercise but a conscious effort to impact the life of each and every child that comes for testing, whether they receive a scholarship or not. The process gives students the opportunity to explore their artistic sides, to hear from others who had a difficult start to life and were able to make something of themselves, and to build relationships. The team speaks a language of hope and the past students who volunteer at the testing process not only speak hope but model it as they themselves would have gone through the testing process in recent years. We are so grateful for all who make this process a success and continue to marvel at the past students who give back by volunteering.

 Our UZ students attended face to face lectures until the tail end of the semester where they were learning online and going to university for exams only. They too have continued to overcome obstacles and deal with unpredictability in admirable ways as they chase their degrees. Travelling to and from university is not always easy for them and the fluctuating prices of public transport make it even harder. Due to Covid-19, the universities have had to reduce the amount of students they give residential places to and while this is understandable, it caused some panic amongst students at the start of the semester. Many had a difficult time finding places to stay that were close enough to the UZ and if they did find places, the rentals were extortionate. Many thanks to our donors, we have continued to give stipends to university students and were able to take in five students into our UZ house. This was our first ever intake into the newly renovated Beit Trust project, we will be increasing the intake annually until we are at a point where the house can fully support the maximum capacity of twenty students. On a fun note, Mrs A held a social with UZ students this term. It was a great afternoon of food and lives being spoken into. One of the students helped capture the memories with some top notch photography.

 Other projects

Ndeipi entrepreneurial training carried on this term without a hitch. We received a wonderful donation of baby clothes from the UK. Ndeipi participants were able to buy a batch for a dollar and re-sell individual items making huge profits. This term we were able to celebrate the success stories of this initiative and all that participants had learnt. Participants were given certificates at the annual graduation. Thank you One Hope Initiatives for continuing to partner with us in changing lives in this way.

 Girl Child Mentorship programme also ran smoothly this term with a nothing-less-than-awesome end of year lunch. We were sad to say goodbye to our girls but incredibly humbled to hear from them what they had learnt in this period and to be witness to their transformation. Our heart is still to add more schools to the programme even though we have not managed it this year. We are grateful for our mentors who week-in and week-out continued to give of their time to invest in these girls!

 The Mobile Science Lab did very well this term though numbers had to be kept to half the capacity as part of our Covid-19 protocols. We were so pleased to be able to welcome Nyasha, one of our past students to assist in the lab and teach Physics lessons. Together with our overseeing teacher Mr T and our Intern Milton, they made a powerful team and week in, week out the students came eager to learn. Well done and thank you team!

 Farewell to Mrs Banga

Staff had a lovely evening celebrating the first and only house mother that Makomborero Zimbabwe has ever known, Mrs Banga. She has retired and taken her final courtesy this year! Staff and students will miss her motherly nature and unmatched knack for keeping the house going as it should. Happy retirement Mrs Banga. We love you!

 Round up

This term has been a notably easier term after much illness and loss last term, we are so grateful! We have not been without our challenges, Covid-19 scares and seemingly impossible logistics but we have also had some lovely moments this term. From student proposals in the boarding house to having a past Girl Child student and a past Mobile Science student making it to our testing process. We have always been a team that celebrates the little things but more so this year.

 With all the highs and lows, Mark and Laura Albertyn have had to be more conscious than ever of staff and student mental and emotional health and this has unashamedly played a great part in how we did life this year. Group therapy sessions have been amazing for our students and a great way for them to end the year.

 This year we celebrated ten years of Makomborero being able to give hope through education and all the projects that were birthed out of that that are changing lives for the better. The online event was nothing short of heartwarming and a great reminder that none of this would happen without you our sponsors, donors, volunteers and encouragers. We thank you! We honour you! Term after term, year after year, we are humbled that you continue to choose to partner with us.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy 2022!!!

Camping fun!
Camping fun!
Lower 6 support at graduation
Lower 6 support at graduation

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Students enjoying life at the Resource Centre
Students enjoying life at the Resource Centre

Starting Term 2

The start of the term at Makomborero brings with it lots of excitement and this term was no different. When we started the term with our enthusiastic staff, volunteers and students, we had no idea that we were about to face one of our hardest terms yet. Covid-19 hit closer to home than ever before. With the support of our board members, we were continuously challenged to come up with effective ways of keeping students and staff safe. As expected, this involved making some tough decisions. Emotionally and mentally, this term has taken a lot out of students and staff. We felt very blessed to have been able to draw on each other through the term. Parents and guardians were gracious and supportive as we navigated new territory. We are truly grateful for this. Staff played a huge part in making sure the day to day runnings of Makomborero remained as they should. This was most appreciated especially taking into consideration that for one reason or another, we have not been able to run on a full complement of staff at any point this term.

 

Online learning continues

There was general disappointment around schools not being able to remain open at the beginning of June and much hope that online learning would not last the full term. Students physically attended school for only five weeks before they had to go back online. At the time of writing this report, schools are still closed and all learning continues to be carried out online. We continue to support our external students with wifi bundles to assist them with online learning where online learning is possible/available. We are so pleased to let you know that the Makomborero learning app was finally launched at the start of May 2021. It has proved to be a necessity and has been very well received by our external students. Under the supervision of Mr Albertyn, our Gap Year students Yeukai and Milton designed and developed the app which is loaded with resources including notes, worksheets and past exam papers. These materials would normally be difficult to find and would generally come at a cost that our external students would not be able to meet. The app works completely offline making it greatly accessible to our students. Each student was given a tablet with the app pre-loaded and a 128Gb memory card to add any other study materials of their choice. We are very grateful for the donation of the tablets and the long hours Yeukai and Milton put into the app. When the students gathered to collect their tablets, they were also given some donated clothes and food parcels.

Our partner schools Hellenic, St George's and Gateway have continued to provide our internal students with excellent online lessons. Our Lower Sixth students, initially daunted by online lessons are now quite used to learning in this way. Well done to them and to our Upper Sixth students for doing their mock exams from the boarding house. We are aware that this is completely different from the norm and takes some mental strength and integrity. We are proud of you!

 

Examination Results

In our Term 1 newsletter we were not able to give you the Zimsec A-Level results as we normally would. We are pleased to let you know that despite the many difficult challenges that our external students faced, they did extremely well in their exams. In total, our students had 17As, 8Bs and 5Cs. We are very proud of them for these excellent results.

 

2020 Leavers

Our 2020 leavers did not get to experience the normal two years at Makomborero that other students would have. Activities such as the annual camp, community service and hiking in Domboshava, which are annual staples, all had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. A social had been planned for the 2020 leavers for the beginning of this year. We hoped it would be a time for them to have a reunion as well as say goodbye as they would all be going off to different universities.  Unfortunately this too had to be cancelled as the lockdown restrictions would not allow for gatherings. We are grateful for technology and social media which has availed platforms for the leavers to keep in touch with us and with each other. Here is a quick update of how our twenty 2020 Upper Sixth students are doing. 6 students were accepted at local universities. 9 students are taking a gap year, 4 students were accepted at USA universities and one student is waiting for a response from a local university. We are truly pleased to see them launch into ‘adult’ life and wish them well in their studies whether they are taking them on this year or next year.

 

University Life

Our local university students have also had a disrupted second semester. They had to have online lectures and many are finding this difficult to cope with. Some of the challenges include power cuts and internet provider network issues. Some exams had to be postponed and those who needed to carry out practical work did this under much pressure as they had limited time on campus due to the lockdown restrictions. On the bright side, some students are grateful they have longer to study for their exams. We have continued to support our university students with university fees, wifi bundles and stipends. This would not be possible without our sponsors and we are very grateful!

We are thankful for the opportunities we have to continue to keep in touch with our university students who are studying outside of Zimbabwe. It goes without saying that wherever our students are in the world, they are affected by Covid-19. It is particularly difficult for those who are not able to travel to see family because of the travel restrictions. Our students abroad often find themselves supporting family at home, we have observed that the need for such has been higher this year. The burden of not being able to meet family needs at home can have quite a negative impact and Makomborero has been involved in assisting such students and families where possible.

The Alumni programme which was started during the last year continues to play a great role in keeping past students in touch with each other and serving the A’Level students with the mentorship programme.

 

Other projects

We were able to hold a few Girl Child sessions from the beginning of April. Sessions had to stop in June as the lockdown restrictions did not allow for gatherings. We however managed to have the much loved Girl Child lunch on the last Saturday of May 2021. It was wonderful to see staff, mentors and mentees gather together. There were lots of laughs and a wonderful talk from Mrs Albertyn. Each mentor and mentee walked away with three sanitary pants and a menstrual cup as well as a food hamper. We know these goodies are life changing for the girls and we are extremely grateful to those who have made it possible. Our focus during the rest of the term has been making sure that all necessary craft and teaching materials are in place for whenever Girl Child sessions are able to resume.

Mobile Science Lab sessions took place from the last Saturday in March to the end of April. The students had a great time having fun practicals with ‘Mr T’. Our Science teachers and interns have taken advantage of the long break by doing inventories as well as cleaning apparatus. We are looking forward to a time when lessons can resume as we feel students benefit hugely from this project.

Ndeipi started off with some great sessions at the end of the first term. We have had some lovely donations of baby items which will be sold to Ndeipi participants at heavily discounted prices so they can sell them on for a profit. Participants have been keeping in touch with our administrator Mrs Chikowore via a Whatsapp group, they are all looking forward to seeing eachother in person again.

 

UZ Residence

Our UZ residence is still an ongoing project. We had hoped to have everything completed by the end of July. Unfortunately the progress has been slow as the building had to be used by A-Level students for six weeks during the months of June and July to help with social distancing and to fulfill Covid-19 requirements. Staff that were over-seeing the project have not always been available and contractors were often tied by the shorter working hours. Despite the delay, we feel we are getting back on track. We will not be able to take in students this year but there is hope that we will be able to do so in January 2022.

 

A final sign off

Term 2 2021 has been a challenging and humbling time at Makomborero Zimbabwe. Never have our family values been put to test as much as they have been in this term. At some point it felt as if students and staff continually dealt with sickness and loss. We are so grateful for the support that came from each other as well as parents/guardians and board members.  Mr and Mrs Albertyn were able to organise a therapy session for internal students and staff and this went a long way in helping to deal with the trauma that some had gone through.

It was not easy to keep things ‘normal’ at the boarding house. However, Life Skills sessions and newly introduced Book Study sessions continued in person when possible or via Zoom when this was not possible. Mr and Mrs Albertyn visited the boarding house and managed to spend some time with the students. The term has just ended with a fantastic week of activities put together and led by Yeukai and Milton. The internal students enjoyed painting, sport, walks and a braai.

A huge thank you to all our donors! We know we say this every term but we really could not have done this term without you. Your impact went far beyond what you could imagine. You helped to keep our students protected, fed, clothed, entertained and encouraged. We felt incredibly supported by all your donations, often humbled by your generosity which often seemed to come just when we needed it the most. We are privileged to have your support and look forward to the next part of the journey with you.

The Girls attending the GMP Lunch
The Girls attending the GMP Lunch
Fun in the grounds
Fun in the grounds
Our UZ accommodation
Our UZ accommodation

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The 2021 Makomborero Intake
The 2021 Makomborero Intake

Wow! Makomborero Zimbabwe has entered its second decade and we have extended a warm welcome to 27 new students (10 Lower Sixth internals, 16 Lower Sixth externals). For the first time ever, we were able to welcome into the Resource Centre one external student who was already in Upper Sixth (thanks to a very kind sponsor). We have taken on our highest number of students to date as we continue to bridge the gap in access to education for many, many students, even if in this small way.

We have also welcomed two 2020 gap year students, Milton and Yeukai, as our first ever Makomborero Zimbabwe interns. They are a natural addition to the staff compliment and we often wonder how we ever got by without them.

Our resource centre is now at full capacity and has a buzzing atmosphere that all students seem to enjoy. The year 2021 started under Covid-19 restrictions. There was much uncertainty surrounding how the school calendar would be structured and this was not the easiest start to the year for our students. It brought much worry and meant that some external students had no access to studying materials. Communication with our students proved key in those times, students were in much need of both encouragement and practical solutions and the Makomborero team did their best to meet both. Our external students began their lessons in March after the Covid19 restrictions had been relaxed. We are proud of how they are adapting to new protocols and juggled lesson times as Heads of schools and their staff make massive efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Makomborero continues to support external students with data bundles and food packs. We are acutely aware that families are still facing poverty worsened by the ongoing pandemic and we know the negative impact this has on both the mental health of students and inevitably their education. On the 20th of March, we were able to hold a workshop for both internal and external students. It was a full day of fitting in training that would have otherwise been spread out during the course of the term. As much as it was an educational experience, it was also an opportunity for students to relax, catch up, laugh and eat together.

External students were presented with backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles, toiletries, stationery, hand sanitiser, masks, solar lamps and food packs. We had a generous donation of clothes on this occasion and these were distributed to both internals and externals. We won a grant that enabled us to purchase sustainable sanitary wear for 80 girls. We were pleased to have been able to distribute some of these on that day.

Our team is working on launching an online learning platform for our external students. It’s an amazing project that will be of huge benefit to the students once it is completed. We are hoping the project will be completed by the end of April and each external student will be issued with a tablet. Private schools opened in January online. We are incredibly grateful for the excellent education provided by our partner schools. For most of our Lower Sixth internals, online lessons were a completely new and daunting experience. We are proud of them for making the transition from their schools and the face to face learning they were so used to.

Thank you to Makomborero staff who made sure that the six students who required glasses were able to get them and to Spec Savers who were able to test the students at discounted fees. Some students’ eye sight were so bad they had been having to hold books to their faces or sit at the very front of the class just to see. It was humbling to see their first reactions to the world in their new glasses.

We would also like to say a huge thank you to students at our partner schools for how welcoming they have been to our Makomborero students. One of our internal students, Melisah, said she felt that her classmates had been waiting eagerly to meet her! Thank you to kind donors all internal students were also presented with backpacks, hand sanitiser, masks, toiletries, lunch boxes and water bottles. Both internal and external students have beaten the odds this first term and all students have worked very hard. We are proud of all of them!

Examination Results

A huge congratulations to our 2020 leavers for the incredible A-Level results and to our current A-Level students for their equally amazing AS results. We are excited to announce that our 9 A-Level Cambridge students’ results were as follows: 26A*, 3A and 2B. Our 9 AS-Level Cambridge students’ results were as follows: 27A, 5B, 1C. I know we are beginning to sound like a broken record but, there are no A* at AS-Level. Well done everyone!!

We were thrilled that, compared to many parts of the world, our students were able to actually sit and write their examinations and be properly assessed. We would like to give heartfelt thanks to teachers and staff at our partner schools. Such incredible results are out of reach without their hard work. We value greatly their partnership with us and their dedication to our students and their education. The delay to the start of the first term has also meant delays in marking and releasing Zimsec results. It meant a longer than usual wait for our external student. We look forward to getting these results soon.

 University Life

Our local university students are waiting eagerly to begin lectures. There has been a more than 100% increase in fees for most programmes. We are extremely grateful to a local company that paid all our university fees as well as stipends for our 25 students. Lots of incredible graduations were celebrated during last year’s tough Covid times and we are so proud of our students. We are grateful to have been able to keep in touch with our university students who are outside of Zimbabwe. More than ever, they have needed the support system that is their family, friends and each other as most have not been able to travel at all in the last year. In the last few months, past Makomborero Zimbabwe students have strived to make better connections with an exciting Alumni programme and they are giving back to current Makomborero Zimbabwe students through a newly formed mentorship programme. It has been a joy to watch the creativity and hard work that past students are putting into these programmes.

 Other projects

The Mobile Science Lab has recently re-launched. As always, it is a great benefit to students from schools where equipment for practical science lessons is scarce. To satisfy all Covid-19 protocols, the number of students per session has been halved. As much as we would like to impact more students with the excellent practical lessons on offer at the Science Lab, we have accepted that for now, this is not a possibility and are grateful for the few that will get this amazing experience.

Plans are underway to begin the Ndeipi training sessions (our small business training). The attendees are often guardians/parents of students and this helps them to feel part of the Makomborero family too.

We were excited to begin Girl Mentorship sessions after a year of not being able to meet. Sessions started in April. Mentor training was done via audio clips. Our amazing mentors could not wait to get started and have done so with much enthusiasm. It’s shaping up to be a great year for Girl Mentorship programme. As we only had a few meetings with the 2020 mentees, we presented each of them with a food pack (beans, rice, soya chunks, porridge, pasta, sweets and biscuits) at the beginning of the year. They were pleasantly surprised and appreciated the goodies.

Our University of Zimbabwe residence in Harare is still an ongoing project but we have made some fantastic progress. Walls are painted, solar panels installed, beds and study tables made and the gazebo is up and ready. We are hoping to have the first residents in the house this August. Our staff have finally moved in to their new office! They are loving the space and putting their mark on the new space.

 A final sign off

Despite all that is going on or not going on, we have tried to keep things at Makomborero Zimbabwe as normal as possible. The Albertyns have continued to go to the boarding house to share meals and spend time with students. Life Skills sessions continue to be a much looked forward to part of the week by the internal students. We appreciate that we can use Life Skills to discuss topics that help us raise well-rounded young men and women. Some of our sessions have had to occur via Zoom and have been just as effective and a bit of a welcome change. Training of Girl child mentors and interns has happened successfully via audio recordings. As you can probably tell, this first term had the potential to be extremely hard but thanks to your ongoing support, we have managed to have lots of highs and we have continued to stand as a family and champion the education of young people despite all that is going on around us. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors. We are privileged to start our journey into this new decade with you!

The backpacks given out to all the scholars.
The backpacks given out to all the scholars.
Covid-19 quarantine  precautions for 2021 intake.
Covid-19 quarantine precautions for 2021 intake.
Relaunch of Mobile Science Lab sessions.
Relaunch of Mobile Science Lab sessions.
Some of the 2021 getting new glasses!
Some of the 2021 getting new glasses!

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Christmas 2020 at Makomborero
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!

Prizegiving Winners

St George’s

Shingirai, Simon and Ngonidzashe - Academic full colours.

Gateway

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

Hellenic

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!!!

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Organization Information

Makomborero

Location: Sidcup, Kent - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MakomboreroUK
Project Leader:
Rumbie Mzenda
Harare, Harare Zimbabwe
$131,565 raised of $150,000 goal
 
504 donations
$18,435 to go
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