It’s hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of 2022. It has been refreshing to gather together again with relaxed COVID protocols. Since the last update, the children have been busy with our arts, academic, and technology programs and they have just begun the third school term. Below are some recent photos and updates.
We recently strengthened our agriculture program to optimize sustainability. In August, we installed a new drip irrigation system, which is fed by our solar-powered boreholes (wells).
The system has already improved our agricultural output and we anticipate that our gardens will provide all of the vegetables we need in the near term. In addition, a forthcoming facility expansion will allow for chicken coops, which will provide daily eggs for our children.
Our partnership with Uncommon Coding remains fruitful and all age groups are now receiving computer coding instruction. The older students in Uncommon’s coding bootcamp (including two Zara Alumni) are currently completing internships with local companies. Click here to read an update from Uncommon about the internships.
Once the internships are complete, the bootcamp graduates will begin looking for entry-level employment in the tech field. Most Zimbabweans (over 80%) work in the informal sector [source], which means income is variable and there is no employment protection or job stability. This leaves workers especially vulnerable to food insecurity during economic downturns (like during the pandemic, for example). For these reasons, the value of formal employment and a reliable paycheck cannot be overstated. We are excited about the career opportunities that our partnership with Uncommon Coding presents to our young people.
Academics and Tutoring
Our tutoring program has continued to help our children regain skills lost during the pandemic. We offered formal tutoring in core subjects every day during the August school break.Children were broken into groups by grade and received instruction from Zara staff as well as teachers hired from the local community (one teacher is a Zara alum who recently graduated with her degree in education).
Instructors made sure to keep lessons fun and engaging by tying in games and friendly quiz competitions. After tutoring each day, the children enjoyed regular programming, including music, art, recreation, computer coding, and well-balanced, home-cooked meals.
All children and alumni received 100% school fees payment for the third school term. Students in exam years had their exam fees covered in full. We are hopeful that our enhanced academic and tutoring program will help our young people as they take their year-end exams.
On behalf of the entire Zara’s Center community, thank you again for your generosity.
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