By Collins Mutsvairo - ASAP Zimbabwe Education Project Manager
Takudzwa Zholinda was born 13 years ago in Mapara Village, 38 km North of Mutare in Mutasa District of Zimbabwe. Her dream to become a teacher was shuttered when she dropped out of school for three years from 2006 to 2008. She had lost both parents due to the AIDS pandemic. She was however given a new lease of life when her widowed aunt took her and her 9 year old brother on board. Takudzwa and her aunt joined ASAP’s Village Savings and Lending micro-finance project in 2009 and are now able to meet some of their basic needs through ASAP's economic strengthening activities. Takudzwa who is now in grade three at Mapara primary school bemoans lack of school fees uniforms and stationary. The proceeds realized from the Kufusa Mari micro-finance project are still not able to meet all her needs. Takudzwa helps her aunt to run a small nutrition garden when she is not at school. She likes sadza and chicken. Now back in school, she is gaining confidence every day.
Agnes, aged 10 was born in Buhera District in Zimbabwe. She and her 15 year old brother moved to Manhanga village in Mutasa district after they lost both parents due to the HIV AIDS pandemic. Agnes and her brother had every reason to thank their elderly maternal grandparents who accommodated them after the death of their parents. After finding it difficult to meet the children s financial needs the grandmother joined the Kufusa Mari Micro finance Village Savings and Lending club in the area. She got a loan from the club which she used to start a vending project. When the micro-finance program was introduced in the area, she encouraged Agnes and her brother to join as well. Agnes is now able to contribute a little towards her school fees at Vumbunu primary school through the profits she realizes from the sales of sweets and snacks. She is currently in grade 4. The little girl helps her grandmother to fetch firewood when she is not at school. Agnes’s dream is to become a pilot when she completes her schooling.
Blessing aged 17 was born in Mt Jenya, 30 km North of Mutare in Zimbabwe. Ever since the age of three, Blessing never enjoyed the parental care and support most children enjoy. Her parents separated when she was still very young. Her mother moved to Mozambique whilst her father left for an unknown destination. Blessing’s uncle took over the responsibility of providing care and support to her and her 14 year old sister. To date, the girl has not been able to locate her parents. Blessing and her sister have been in and out of school because her uncle is overwhelmed by the burden of looking after his own five children. When ASAP introduce the OSA project in the area, Blessing was amongst the first to join. Blessing and her uncle are running a small aluminum pottery project to make ends meet. The girl is in form three and would like to become a nurse after she has completed her schooling. She plays a leadership role in ASAP's Kufusa Mari micro-finance project, as the cluster facilitator for her area. Blessing is also an advocate for children s rights.
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