Training at King George VI School for the disabled
Dear Lead Us Today supporter,
In the last two months since the beginning of our 2013/4 programs cycle and financial year, Lead Us Today has been off to a really great start, all thanks to your generous and significant support. I’d like to share with you some of the highlights from the last two months, which set a promising precedent for the rest of the year:
- Our first big undertaking as we started the year was celebrating the great successes of the 2012/3 programs cycle through a student project expo, which was attended by eighty of the students in our program. During the expo, our students reflected on their experience of the program and shared the process of designing and implementing their community development projects. The impressive projects, which they presented on, include:
- A catering business in Mpopoma High School with an enrollment of 2,000 students. Lead Us Today students recruited unemployed youth and arranged for them to receive catering lessons from professional caterers. Thereafter, our students helped the unemployed youth to open a canteen in the school that provides hot, nutritious meals to student and staff for only $1 – a much healthier alternative to the junk food students usually bought.
- A community recycling project in the Nkulumane area, in which Lead Us Today students partnered with a recycling company in Zimbabwe, the National Waste Collectors (NWC). NWC regularly collects recyclable waste that students gather from schools in their area.
- A business that makes and sells educational blocks that develop children’s analytical skills. The students make the educational blocks from scrap wood, which they cut into different shapes and sizes, and paint with different colors. The students sell these blocks to underresourced Early Childhood Development Centers around Bulawayo at very affordable prices.
- In August, we recruited a deeply committed and diverse team of nineteen facilitators who went through a rigorous two-week training program. The team of facilitators includes a jazz artist, young businesspeople, recent high school graduates, college students and professionals. We are excited to see how this diversity enriches our students’ learning. During the training, the facilitators learnt extensively about leadership, social innovation, teamwork, monitoring and evaluation and how to communicate their ideas for social change through pitches and comprehensive project proposals. I invite you to meet our facilitators whose profiles are on our website:
- For the first time since our founding in May 2010, we are expanding! This year, we have increased the number of schools we are partnering with from eight to twenty. We are very confident making this leap especially because we have spent the last three years developing and refining our model. Our expansion has made it possible to reach groups of students who have great need for our programs. For the first time, we are working in rural schools where young people face challenges that greatly diminish their opportunities for leading innovative and entrepreneurial lives. Also, we are working in one of Zimbabwe’s very few schools for the disabled, King George VI Memorial School. Indeed, through working more with underserved young people, we are increasing our impact and transforming many more lives in unprecedented ways. Through this expansion, we are working with close to 1,000 students in twenty schools across three out of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces.
- At the beginning of the school term in September, our facilitators began training our students in the schools where we operate. Over the next year, facilitators will meet with students every week for up to two hours and share our curriculum and their experiences, using the workbooks we have developed as a guide to students’ learning.
Please take time to look through pictures of our facilitators, students and staff which demonstrate their passion for our work.
In the coming year, we are excited to share with you how your support is making an impact in our students’ lives.
We are still campaigning to raise $25,000 to fully fund our key programs for the year 2013/4. We have raised over half of that and we need to raise an additional $12,000. Your contributions are key, every dollar counts and we invite you to donate what you can here: http://goto.gg/12608.
As always, thank you for your continued, significant support. It is changing so many lives in Zimbabwe.
With deep gratitude,
Founder and CEO
Lead Us Today students at 2012/3 project expo
Lead Us Today 2013/4 facilitators
Lead Us Today 2013/4 facilitators in training
Lead Us Today 2013/4 student workbooks
Mzingwane Lead Us Today students in training
Sizane LUT students with educational blocks
Dalumuzi with LUT-trained Mpopoma canteen owners