Since the last update, Zara’s Center has continued to serve children with life-saving services and 2022 has brought a return to some normalcy after nearly two years of COVID-related upheaval. Below are some recent updates and photos.
Tutoring Program Expansion
We are proud that 100% of our children are in school in a country where 47% of youth are not in school as of 2021 [UNICEF]. Additionally, our students consistently outperform their peers on pre-secondary school exams at a rate of nearly 2:1. Despite these impressive outcomes, our kids have struggled during COVID-19 along with students throughout the country and around the world. The school system is in disarray, plagued by unpredictable schedules, a lack of teachers, and insufficient resources.
In order to help our students succeed, Zara’s Center has introduced a formal tutoring program in core school subjects. The program was tested in April during the school break and was very successful. During the school break, staff also organized quiz tournaments in each subject and grade. The children enjoyed the friendly competition and received prizes for great scores and participation.
Our staff is currently undertaking an internal review of attendance rates, school schedules, and tutoring needs to ensure every child is able to receive (at least) weekly tutoring.
The Center continues to pay 100% of school fees for children and exam fee costs for our young adults and alumni. Public school is not free in Zimbabwe, so school fees are a significant financial burden for many low income families.
The Center also supports college-going alumni with tution payment, transportation costs, and other needs.
While the Board works on plans for our facility expansion, our agriculture program on the new land has become very successful. Our crops are thriving and we are proud that we already grow enough produce for meals at the Center. Depending on the season, we have grown tomatoes, peppers, chamoulia, spinach, beetroot, peas, corn, carrots, and more. We hope to expand our operation in the future to provide for the children's families on a regular basis.
We are incredibly grateful to Zara's Connection Club, a student-run group based at a high school in NYC. Since November 2020, ZCC has gathered donations of items valued at over $4,400 for our kids (items such as hygiene products, books, school supplies, and shoes). The most recent shipment arrived in mid-June and staff has begun distributing the items to the children.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. We are endlessly grateful for the support of our donors who allow us to serve vulnerable children.
On behalf of the entire Zara community, thank you again for your generosity.
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