Last time we updated you on Girl Child, we were just about to have our end of term lunch. What a day it was! We had a hundred percent attendance! Lunch was rice, chicken in sauce and coleslaw, a much loved meal combination in Zimbabwe. The girls enjoyed an art session, some teaching from our COO, Mrs Albertyn and we were very privileged to have been able to distribute sustainable sanitary wear to all the mentors and mentees. Each girl was given three re-usable sanitary pants and a menstrual cup. Menstruation is a bit of a taboo subject to a lot of people in Zimbabwe so we had some wonderful training for the mentees prior to giving them these items.
About our lunches, Mrs Albertyn had this to say: “The Girl Mentorship Lunches are an opportunity for all the groups of girls from different schools to come together and celebrate what they are learning. Time to mix with different girls, facing similar challenges on a similar journey. It is also a wonderful opportunity for the mentors to lead together and mix with each other.I love the teaching sessions that we dedicate to this time - it is always a broad topic that roughly touches on what they have been learning through the term but from a slightly different perspective. We also have time for them to be creative, share a beautiful meal together and have a skill taught. It is a coming together, a celebration of young ladies! It is an opportunity for us to continue to shout out their worth and say - this is all for you - you are highly valued!An area that always touches my heart is how the girls always want to take something from the meal home to share with their family - wanting their families to have a small taste of the wonderful time they have had together! As the year goes on the lunches become more relaxed and interactive! They are beautiful confirmations of what we are building in these girls, slowly each week. We get to see these flowers come slowly into bloom.”
Shortly after the day of the lunch, Zimbabwe went into a level of lockdown that once again restricted gatherings and unnecessary movement. Sadly, we have not had a physical meeting since then and online meetings with mentees are not possible as most mentees neither have smart phones nor the funds to access wifi. We did however manage to keep in touch with our mentors throughout this period. The longer serving mentors took turns to record audio sessions on different topics that would help the team when they were finally able to resume face to face meetings. It was a great way for the mentors to impart the knowledge they had gained over the years and to pass on some helpful nuggets. It was nice for the mentors who joined in the past year to get training from someone other than a staff member.
Those who have been following our reports will know that the last twelve to eighteen months have involved a lot of preparation for the few windows that we have been able to have face to face sessions. We are well stocked up with books, t-shirts for art sessions and craft work items. As such, we thought this time we would focus more on what our lovely mentors have been up to since our last meeting.
‘I haven’t done much because of the lockdown. I've been going to work for the most part.
I did a lot of reading novels in my spare time. I learnt how to plait my hair and other people's as well.
And I spent an awful lot of time at home! – Tadiwa
'I spent most of my time at work the whole of lock down and reading a lot of books online (sadly couldn't find hard copies). I left for school a week ago to Ghana.’ – Martha
'I've been helping with gardening at home. I have also been helping mom at the market and preparing for exams.’ - Judith
‘Since the last time, I have been tied up with work and prep for exams. It’s been a rough time for me. Hope to see everyone soon.’ – Aquiline
'I've been teaching extra lessons to A'level students mostly and a bit of reading online novels and also preparing for exams which I started writing yesterday’ – Perseverance
‘I have been at home studying and helping my brother in his studies as well.’ - Tina
‘Shamah and I have been busy getting prepared for exams and performing our daily duties as usual.’ – The twins, Shalom and Shamah
'I have been helping my cousin in her shop at Eastgate market mall . I have also been doing a little business selling braids .’ – Teclah
'I left for school in America towards end of August. I have been exploring the new place and various cultures as well as juggling classes.' - Shalom
What an amazing bunch our mentors are! They are always so excited about when we can meet again. They have been great at keeping in touch with each other despite not being able to meet. Some have managed to chat with their mentees, it has been lovely to receive the feedback.
I will leave you on this very happy note… We start face to face meetings in THREE DAYS!! We will soon be back to chats and crafts, snacks and laughs. We cannot wait to update you on how the year ends. Thank you for your much needed and continued support.