Dear friends of Zimkids,
Great news! We finally got official notification from the Bulawayo City Council that we have been granted 2.5 acres with the option of further acreage as we need it. The Council of Elders is gearing up to clear the fields for sports areas, our market garden and chicken runs and eventual activities center. We are all very excited as this is the beginning foray on the road to self-sufficiency in food.
As you may know we cannot afford to pay school fees for the all the children, but we're able to provide some fees and are doing so by paying for those children who are in the top 10 of their classes. We've long had 12 children who excelled, but this term, another six who rose to the challenge.
We also pay for the high school graduation exams. Unfortunately, because of the collapse of the educational system that had left children with five years of strikes and school closings, only one of the ten who decided to give the exams a try last year passed. But that one, Janice Mabudah, is doing wonderfully at Sezani High School, where we are paying for her A level studies, a college prep course. She was recently chosen as one of two students from that school who will fly to London to compete in a British version of a College Bowl. We are so proud of her accomplishments. Another seven of the older children are about to sit this year's exams, and we're hoping that several of them will be inspired by Janice.
Many thanks to the Town School for Boys in San Francisco. They have donated 7 used loaded pc laptops and I'm taking them back with me, along with laptops from Julia Tazzia, Dennis Metnick, Justin Gillis and Gerald Murphy for an additional four laptops. We are starting a computer training program for our Elders that will later be extended to the rest of the children. So we are looking for any educational DVD’s/CD’s that can be used on pc’s with Windows XP. As we build this part of our program we plan in coming years to operate an internet café serving the neighborhood staffed by the Elders for income generation.
On a sad note, Thoko Tshuma, the mother of Zimkids Sithabisiwe. Ngqabutho and Mbuso Ngwenya, died in September. She was 46 years old. She married her second husband Innocent (father to our Zimkids) at the age of 30. He died in 2003 at the age of 41 of an HIV related illness. Stihabisiwe who is 17 and one of our most active members of our Council of Elders will now become head of household and care for her brothers with our assistance.
That's all the news for now. Mostly, I want to say that we're thriving and growing thanks to all our donors whose kindness, support and generosity have made this all possible.