Graduation 2016 - yes we are a little crazy!
2016 ended with a very busy few months. During the 3rd term of the year the students all write their final examinations and the term can feel quite pressured and stressful for them but we were so proud of how they all managed their time and found ways to aleviate stress.
The Resource Centre continues to be a huge place of refuge and an incredible working enviroment. We are seeing even past Makomborero students spending time at the Resource Centre, making use of the facilities and resources available to them. This warms our hearts as this is how we always envisioned the house to be used. We have also grown a huge vegetable garden which provides most of our vegetable needs and as this new year progresses we hope to see this expand and see the students get involved in the growing of the house veggies. The swimming pool that came with the house seemed like such an unneccesary luxury but during the very hot months at the end of the year it was such a great source of fun and relaxation for the students. With only a handful of them knowing how to swim it was wonderful to see them teaching each other how to swim and for many of them this was the highlight of their stressful exam period. The property has really helped us to feel more of a family and the students are learning the deep need for relaxation and time for head space - this is a luxury for them as they live such different lives with their families. Lives focused on survival and often very cramped and over crowded.
The schools that our students attend all had their annual Prize Givings and it is always very special to witness our students hard work being recognised. Special mention goes to Belinda who was made a Prefect at Gateway this year. This is such an incredible accomplishment for our students - who often find their first year so overwhelming with the cultural adjustments they have to make. She is a brave, courageous and passionate leader and we are so proud of her.
We ended our year with a very moving Graduation for our outgoing Makomborero students. Saying good bye is always hard and this year group were true brothers and sisters, who were such a joy to have around. What a wonderful celebration of all they have accomplished in two years and we now look forward with expectation for the future that lies before them. We also ended the year with a fun Christmas party with all staff and students. There are videos that cover both these events which are beautiful to watch - see links below.
Our recruitment process started at the beginning of December and like every year it is incredibly challenging and sad but also fills us with such pride for the remarkable families who do everything in their power to educate their children, even when they live in abject poverty. We heard such inspiring stories that filled your heart with huge respect but also reduced us to tears often. After testing, interviews, subject workshops and home visits we made our final very difficult decision and it was a joy and honour to welcome 8 new students into the house over January. You can meet them on our website. It is wonderful to see the whole Makomborero family come together during this time - present and past students helping throughout the testing process.
Two more scholarships that came through during December - Takudzwa received a full scholarship to study Engineering at Lafayette College in USA and we are so proud of him. He has found a family in Makomborero and we are so glad he is part of us and we know he will fly. HUGE congratulations to Roy Mugobi, one of our external students, for being accepted into Harvard on a full scholarship. We are thrilled. Thank you to USAP (Education Matters) for helping him along the way this last year, to obtaining this scholarship! Roy you have lots to be proud of - you had many challenges to over come on your educational journey and you should be proud of the journey you have made so far! The future is bright for all our families and we watch with great expectation as their lives unfold after Makomborero! We sew seeds and then watch them grow over the years!
We are in the process of finalising our new external students for this year - not an easy process when we met such inspiring, intellegent, passionate students during our recruiting process.
Our University Students completed their 1st Semester at the end of the year and start their 2nd Semester this year. They are all flourishing and we find it a privilege to watch them mature, grow up and become passionate yound adults in the fields they are studying. This for us is one of the greatest joys. To begin to see our students reach their potential. We have our first Graduates this year from Makomborero and there is much to celebrate. We also have enjoyed visits from many students from outside the country on full scholarships. We love having them in our lives for a few days while they reconnect with their families.
We continue to have people visiting from outside the country and local Zimbabweans imputting into our students lives with evening seminars and sessions that bring a breadth to what we do and we so appreciate this! We see the value of broadening our students views!
The new year always brings exciting new things and we are thrilled that our students are being taught Marimbas this year and they are enjoying the joy of learning a local Zimbabwean instrument. One of the students texted me after the first lesson and said he could not believe how privileged he is. Thank you Tawanda for volunteering your time for this.
We also kick off our life skills sessions with enthusiasm and I love these sessions with the students, time to get to know them, see them stretch mentally, see them grow, see light bulb moments - it is a huge honour. We are still trying to finalise our English lessons this year and how they will work.
The Resource Centre has needed a little bit of maintenance done the last few months, using the money we raised through Global Giving for this. We have seen 4 solar water heaters fitted, converted the outside kitchen into a boys shower block, new mattresses, blankets and pillows and many other little things around the property that have made it much more tailor made for us.
September to January are big expense months for us. A break down of these expenses can be found attached to this report.
Ryan (leaver 2012) visiting graduates in May
Testing Process 2016
Home visits 2016 - humbling and inspiring families
One on one interviews
Homes in the High Densities (townships)
A few new students buying their school uniforms