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My Passion For Education in Zimbabwe – One Child and One School At A Time

Having grown up in a country that had the highest literacy rate in Africa, Education tends to be paramount in one’s life and surroundings. Every parent’s dream was to ensure their children received education of some sort. In the 1980’s Zimbabwe was reported to have an adult literacy rate of approximately 90%  which was still the highest in Africa. However, Zimbabwe has since been hit by political and economic crisis that has led to a total collapse of the education system. Poor salaries for teachers and other civil servants have caused them to leave, leading to a brain drain in the country. Rural districts have been most adversely affected. The development of the mind is fundamental to the development of humanity. An improvement in education brings hope for the future. In 2010 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimated that 83.6% of Zimbabweans aged 15 and older were literate. I believe that number continues to decline. Now there are many other African countries that have a higher literacy rate than Zimbabwe: Equatorial Guinea (94.2%), South Africa (93%), Seychelles (91.8%), Gabon (89%), Mauritius (88.8%), Swaziland (87.8%), Burundi (86.9%), Botswana (85.1%) and Cape Verde (84.9%), to name a few.

The former Minister of Education Sports and Culture, Senator David Coltart told a European Union delegation touring the Matabeleland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matabeleland) region in 2012 that imbalances between Mashonaland and Matabeleland region started during the Gukurahundi genocide (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gukurahundi) that claimed more than 20,000 lives in Matabeleland and Midlands region.  He said grants to build schools then were only allocated to the Mashonaland region.

He also added that Zimbabwe required billions of dollars in order to solve historical imbalances that exist under the education sector between Matabeleland and Mashonaland regions. He disclosed that most of the students in Matabeleland region walk more than 18.6 miles to school on a daily basis. In addition there were few ‘A’ level (High) Schools that offer mathematics and science subjects hence it was not worthy for the government to set up science and technology universities in the region. More information of Senator Coltart’s statement can be found in the following link: http://www.davidcoltart.com/2012/01/matabelelands-education-disparities-due-to-gukurahundi-coltart/

Matabeleland is the region where I was born. Reading this article literally broke my heart. I had been so disconnected to the issues in Zimbabwe, and this was the beginning of my journey. I later on learnt that not only have the people of this region been deprived of educational opportunities, they have been deprived of business and job opportunities, and region was deprived of economic development unlike other parts of the country. The region has been subjected to drought conditions as well, that have left the region barren from many fronts. The more I thought of children growing in this region without educational opportunities, or those that did but did not have parents that could afford to put them through school, the more I found myself wanting to do something about it, no matter how small.

In order to answer this call, we have since started a scholarship fund to sponsor students at University. Many of these students have excellent grades, but do not have anyone to sponsor them through university. I have partnered with some of my Alumni to help renovate our High School that has lacked funding for more than 30 years to the extent that dormitories and classrooms were in appalling conditions. We also helped provide an electronic library to a couple of schools to help alleviate the shortage of textbooks. Lastly, I have been working with another High School with the objective of assisting with lab equipment for their Science labs.

My passion and desire is to help every school, every child. However I now realize that if I just help one child and one school at a time, I may just eventually help every child and every school with God’s help.

My passion and desire is to help every school, every child. However I now realize that if I just help one child and one school at a time, I may just eventually help every child and every school with God’s help.

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About Thoko Mkwanazi

Following God's purpose for my life. I want to make a difference in my generation by injecting something positive and being a light in a dark place

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