Download our PDF Newsletter: USACF Newsletter April 2013
On our latest trip to Zimbabwe:
On February 19, 2013 Andy Hughes and I flew to Zimbabwe. Andy went to paint Mbembeswana Primary, build 17 teacher wardrobes in Nkosikazi Primary and buy 400 baby chicks for the Siganda ORAP Center. I went to visit 14 of our sister rural schools. Both of us had an extraordinary time.
Of all my trips to Africa, this past trip was the most meaningful. In school after school, I was taken to see full functioning libraries. I was stunned by the pride headmasters took in these libraries. Headmasters talked about a new culture of reading. In Emhlangeni Primary the pass rate has risen from 15% to 80%; a remarkable achievement. Students read to us from books they had taken home. One boy read “Green Eggs and Ham”. Teachers held up science books and pointed to colored diagrams that aided them in their daily lessons. We were even treated to a reenactment of the story of King Midas by a group of six years olds. The renewed hope in these schools was palpable.
The whole USACF program has finally taken root and its branches are bearing first fruit. We were taken around Dulutsha Primary where every child had a chair to sit in. Before Andy arrived the ratio was 10 students for every chair. Classrooms were no longer barren. They were bright with posters, drawing and maps. Peeling blackboards were repainted and were filled with teacher’s notes. For the first time, individual classrooms had their own libraries. These schools will now be the model for others to follow. One teacher who was traveling with us said how much she learned by just being in one of these classrooms.
The excitement in these schools is not restricted to teachers and students. There is a new energy in the surrounding community. In a school in which we repaired school furniture and painted walls, parents raise funds to replace broken windows and doors. The more established libraries are charging small fees for the public to use the libraries. They use these funds to buy curtains and additional shelving.
There is a very long road yet to travel, but change is happening. We are on the right path.
11,000 Soccer Balls
USACF is in negotiations with One World Futbal. OWF has created indestructible soccer balls that they are providing for free to third world countries. USACF is expecting to receive two 40-foot containers from OWF in May for our Zimbabwe program. We would receive approximately 11,600 soccer balls. This means we could give 500 schools; 20 soccer balls each. Twenty soccer balls in a school would allow a school to set up a comprehensive soccer instructional program. Brazil and South Africa are already getting nervous about Zimbabwe’s future World Cup teams.
Scholarship Programs – A New Initiative:
The U.S. – Africa Children’s Fellowship is very proud of its successes in Zimbabwe. But as more and more successful students attempt to move up the educational ladder, an emerging problem needs to be dealt with. Many qualified students simply cannot continue their education because they lack the funds to do so. They need to pay school fees, buy school supplies and purchase uniforms to stay in school. There is just no money available to do this.
USACF is looking to tackle this problem aggressively. USACF hopes to establish a scholarship program for orphans and other vulnerable children in Zimbabwe who cannot afford the costs of a primary or secondary education. USACF’s goal is to begin to implement such a program during the fall of 2013. The scholarships will cover the costs of participating students’ tuitions, school supplies and uniforms. Under special circumstances, USACF could supplement the scholarship. At the present time (2013), the projected estimated cost for school attendance is $150 for primary school and for $250 for secondary school. USACF will set a goal of 50 scholarships during the first year of the program to be offered in 10 selected schools. The program will be expanded to additional schools and students as funds and oversight permit. The scholarship program will be administered by USACF staff in the United States and by ORAP staff in Zimbabwe. The program administrator in Zimbabwe will be selected by USACF and ORAP staff.
The expectation is that once a student receives a scholarship from USACF the scholarship will be renewable each year until the student graduates from secondary school. It is the hope of USACF that if a strong bond is established between the scholarship sponsor and the participating student, the student’s sponsor will continue sponsorship onto the university level.