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Poor community builds own school in Matabeleland North





IN one of the little known villages of Inzula, approximately 200 miles north of Zimbabwe's second largest city Bulawayo, pupils take lessons under trees, sometimes enduring harsh weather conditions such as rains and the chilly weather.

This has prompted daring villagers of Matabeleland North's Nkayi district to take matters into their hands, amid poverty, to construct their first community secondary school, decades after the country gained its independence from White rule.  


Pupils assist in the construction of their school

In 2014, Inzula villagers decided they would bring education closer to their children by building their own school.

Other secondary schools were far away - with the furthest being approximately 30 miles away from the village centre.

This scenario forced some children to abandon school after completing their Grade seven while some who would have proceeded to Form one dropped mid way as a result of the long distance which they could not endure.

Judea Dube, one of the key members of Jabulisa School Project said he was passionate about the initiative because he had also suffered the plight of walking miles to the nearest secondary school, some years back.  

"I also used to travel more than 20 miles to the nearest secondary school because our village only had a primary school then," Dube recalled.

"Some of us were very lucky because we managed to stay with relatives closer to the secondary school but many others dropped out of school."

Dube said while it was widely believed that Matabeleland pupils disliked school, shortage or absence of schools was one of the many often unsaid reasons why children from marginalised communities abandoned school.  

The objective of the project, Dube said, was "to bring education closer to children" so that they get quality education which they would use to advance themselves and their underdeveloped communities in future.


Pupils also assist in the construction during their spare time

"Most of our children still believe that they can only shape their future by going to South Africa but we are saying even if they decide to go there they must first acquire proper educational qualifications.

"So by constructing a secondary school closer to them, we want to address barriers such as distance which make them lose interest in schooling," he said.

Instead of waiting for government to build a school for them, the dedicated group of locals with the assistance of their community members in the diaspora have already begun constructing classroom blocks on a piece of land provided by the local authority.

Ward 6 Councillor, Malawi Phiri, whose jurisdiction the area falls, said while voluntary work did not always attract much interest from villagers, the school construction project was one initiative surfaced with both sweat and tears of joy.

"I am glad because community members are very much forthcoming in this project," Phiri said.

"They volunteer their time, labour and resources to ensure that the school is complete and this has been the major strength of this project."

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Since you are here, we have a small favour to ask from you. We are collecting cash donations to sponsor Jabulisa School Project. Well wishers in the diaspora can use GoFundme (Click Here) to donate cash while those in Zimbabwe can also use GoFundme (Click Here) or Ecocash  [Number: 0777354628. Name: Joburg Dube]. Note: Donations are received directly by coordinators of the project not this publication.
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According to Phiri who is also the lead constructor of the classrooms, each family has donated a bag of cement and some bricks for the construction.

He said they were, however, preoccupied with mobilising resources from well-wishers to ensure that at least two classrooms are roofed before the rain season.

Wenceslous Mathonsi, the head of the new school said he was optimistic that by end of this year two classroom blocks would be complete and ready  for use by pupils in 2018.

"I trust that by December this year at least two classroom blocks would be roofed," Mathonsi said.

"At the moment we use a classrom at the nearest primary school but the truth of the matter is that our pupils take most lessons under trees, a difficult situation especially when it's raining."

Mathonsi who was appointed the head of the nascent school last year said they had been able to purchase a few school textbooks and relevant stationary through a government grant.

"There is a lot to do but our vision is to transform this project into a full fledged learning institution within the next five years. We thus call upon well wishers to make contributions in cash or kind so that we are able to complete the school."

The school - Jabulisa Secondary - currently has an enrollment of about 200 pupils from form one to four. In 2016 the school managed to obtain a 13 percent Ordinary Level pass rate, following its first exams since the school project begun.

Although it is endowed with natural resources such as timber and methane gas, Matabeleland North is regarded as one of the most poorest provinces in Zimbabwe characterised by fewer and poorly equipped schools.

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Since you are here, we have a small favour to ask from you. We are collecting cash donations to sponsor Jabulisa School Project. Well wishers in the diaspora can use GoFundme (Click Here) to donate cash while those in Zimbabwe can also use GoFundme (Click Here) or Ecocash  [Number: 0777354628. Name: Joburg Dube]. Note: Donations are received directly by coordinators of the project not this publication.
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Poor community builds own school in Matabeleland North
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