Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe

by Jonathan Plutzik and Lesley Goldwasser Family Foundation Inc.
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Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Learning Resources for 125 children in Zimbabwe
Kids show off their new solar lights & Xmas gifts
Kids show off their new solar lights & Xmas gifts

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce that the educational resources have arrived in perfect condition. The items were shipped via ocean freight in 55 gallon drums (you can see the blue drums in many of the photos). We are so grateful for your generous support and hope you enjoy the photos and updates below.

  • Our computer instructor has begun working with small groups of children to make sure everyone knows how to use the new chromebooks. Students will begin using the chromebooks for academic review in the coming weeks.
  • The solar lights were distributed to every child with their Christmas gifts and holiday groceries. We have already heard from a caregiver who expressed her gratitude for the new solar light. The family has no electricity at home, and she shared that the light allows the children to do their homework more easily and the family to enjoy quality time in the evenings after dark. 
  • Your generosity helped us purchase nearly 200 books that have been carefullyt curated to be culturally relevant and engaging for our readers. Our staff is eager to use the new library books to improve the kids' English reading skills. The books are currently being organized and catalogued.

Since this project has now been 100% funded (thank you!), it will no longer be eligible for donations. If you would like to continue supporting Zara’s Center, donations can be made to our new GlobalGiving project for general operating support.

I hope you enjoy the photos below. For a more detailed update, check out our 2020/2021 Annual Report and follow us on instagram.

Thank you again for your generosity and I hope you’ll consider supporting our kids in the future.

Sincerely, 

Jessica Briggs

US Program Director, Zara's Center

PG Family Foundation

Kids learning to use the new HP Chromebooks
Kids learning to use the new HP Chromebooks
Organizing the new library books
Organizing the new library books
Staff demonstrates how the solar lights operate
Staff demonstrates how the solar lights operate
Speeches at our year-end celebration
Speeches at our year-end celebration
Cheering for two alumni who are now college grads
Cheering for two alumni who are now college grads

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The computer coding hub at Zara's Center.
The computer coding hub at Zara's Center.

Dear Friends,

Zara’s Center has continued to provide crucial services to vulnerable children throughout 2021.

Your generosity helped us purchase over $12,000 worth of educational resources. The items (laptops, books, and solar lights) were shipped on August 25th via ocean freight. The items will arrive in just a few weeks (in early December) in time for the holiday season. While this shipping method takes time, we have found that it is the most secure and most cost-effective solution for shipping a large amount of goods. We will send photos and an update when the items arrive.

In the meantime, we wanted to share a general update about some exciting things happening at Zara.

New Coding Program Partnership

We are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with Uncommon Coding to provide coding instruction to our children. Uncommon conducts programs in solar-powered "innovation hubs", made out of recycled shipping containers. They have constructed a hub on our property and we are so pleased with the beautiful design (see photo below).

As of November 2021, five of our alumni (ages 19-24) are enrolled in Uncommon's coding bootcamp. The bootcamp is a 12-month program that covers UI/UX design, front end web development, digital marketing, leadership skills, and more. Graduates have gone on to study abroad, work for local tech companies, and build websites for clients all over the world.

In exchange for the bootcamp, our alumni will teach our younger kids to code. In this way, all of our children will have the opportunity to learn invaluable tech skills that will prepare them for the workforce in the 21st century. We are working to identify US and UK-based companies who are interested in hiring our coding graduates to work remotely.

2020/2021 Pandemic Services

Medical and Psycho-social Support

Zara’s staff conducted regular home visits for every child to ensure the children’s well-being. Home visits were especially important during COVID closures in order to maintain open communication with children and caregivers.

Zara provided annual medical exams for each child through a partnership with a local doctor. Caregivers accompany children to the exam and private medical information is never shared publicly. Data is only used for general assessment of program success and to highlight areas of concern

  • We are proud to report that 98.5% of our kids are at a healthy weight and that most medical issues are mild, in a country where only 4% of young children are receiving a minimum acceptable diet. [UNICEF]

Food Security

During COVID-19 closures, Zara provided monthly food for each child. We distributed 1,670 emergency food hampers between March 2020 and August 2021 to the children, families, and staff, containing a total of:

  • 34,516 lb Maize meal (15,653 kg)
  • 4,119 lb Sugar (1,868 kg)
  • 3,016 lb of rice (1,368 kg)
  • 1,849 lb Soy Protein (838 kg)
  • 1,804 lb Beans (818 kg)
  • 695 gal. Cooking oil (2,631 liters)

Zara's Center served over 25,000 home cooked meals to children during months when the Center was open for to-go or in-person meals.

Community Support

The Center Distributed up to 5,200 gallons of water daily to 500+ community members during water shutoffs. Access to city water was especially scarce during 2020, and many in the community relied on us for nearly all of their water needs during routine shortages.

Thank you again for your support for the children and families we serve. I’ll be in touch soon with another update.

If you’d like to further support Zara’s Center, please click here.

Best regards,

Jessica Briggs

US Program Director, Zara's Center

PG Family Foundation

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Zara staff regularly visits each child's home.
Zara staff regularly visits each child's home.
Monthly food distribution during COVID closure.
Monthly food distribution during COVID closure.
Zara's Center alums in the coding bootcamp.
Zara's Center alums in the coding bootcamp.
Caregivers in line for food hampers.
Caregivers in line for food hampers.
Community members in line for water from our well.
Community members in line for water from our well.

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Piano with Mr. Zhou (before current closure)
Piano with Mr. Zhou (before current closure)

Dear Friends,

We were so humbled by the outpouring of support for Zara’s Center. Through the generosity of our donors, we were able to purchase the following for the children we serve in Zimbabwe:

  • 50 HP Chromebooks for use at the Center
  • 193 Culturally relevant books (click for full list) for reading practice at the Center and to check out of the library
  • 125 Solar Lights for children to use at home for homework

The items will be sent on August 25th via ocean freight and will arrive in early December in time for the holiday season. While this shipping method takes a long time, we have found that it is the most secure and most cost-effective solution for shipping a large amount of goods. Below are some photos of the items you helped us purchase. We’ll be in touch in December with photos of the items when they arrive at Zara’s Center. 

Due to a rise in COVID cases in Zimbabwe, the Center has had to close again (effective June 30) for the safety of our community. Local schools have also closed again, increasing the necessity of academic support at the Center when we reopen. The good news is that nearly all of our staff have received their first vaccine dose on July 19th, so we are hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Before the most recent closure, we had resumed programs and staff had begun academic remediation with children. Each child also learned to sew their own face mask and received their annual medical checkup from a local doctor who performed the exams on site with caregivers present.

Once the academic resources arrive in December, we’ll be able to provide comprehensive academic supplementation to every child at the Center. Our hope is that we can mitigate the educational gaps caused by (nearly) two years of disrupted learning.

I have attached some recent photos of our programs below. If you’d like to further support Zara’s Center, please click here

Thank you again for your commitment to our work at Zara’s Center for AIDS Impacted Youth. 

I’ll be in touch soon with another update.

Best regards,

Jessica Briggs

US Program Director, Zara's Center

PG Family Foundation

Chromebooks ready for shipment!
Chromebooks ready for shipment!
Two of the book titles ordered for group reading
Two of the book titles ordered for group reading
Solar lights will help our kids study at home
Solar lights will help our kids study at home
Sewing masks w/ Ms. Ncube (before current closure)
Sewing masks w/ Ms. Ncube (before current closure)
Kids & caregivers waiting for medical checkups
Kids & caregivers waiting for medical checkups

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Project Leader:
Jessica Briggs
Hunt Valley, MD United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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