As the saying goes; when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.
By Wellington Zimbowa
Zimbabwe’s economy continues on a freefall amid acute poverty due to high unemployment. A dark cloud has engulfed the country, with children being the most affected.
A 2013 Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education annual statistical report noted that the pupils’ school drop out rate rose to 13 000, marking a 40% increase from the 2012 figures.
Failure to pay school fees, unplanned pregnancies and child marriages were underlined as chief causes, according to Education minister Lazarus Dokora.
It’s a dark situation, but not for the Cornway College students who have shown the light.
Grouping under the philanthropic and leadership grooming student-based interactive club, they assist needy students in the neighbouring farming community.
“Our mission is to assist those around us who are in need. We have an annual membership fee of $10 while we also fundraise through various activities,” said a student representative.
St Mannocks School recently benefitted from an assortment of resources that included 400 textbooks, chalk, writing exercise books, teacher reading material and art stationery, among others.
The satellite school is in Manyame constituency in Mashonaland West, and serves the local farming community.
Covering various farming communities such as Lumanda and Shamwari — whose fate was worsened by the drought — the school is overpopulated.
With only 49 teachers, St Mannocks Primary School has 1 580 students, with 200 of them orphans.
School head Isaac Mashiri, said poverty made levy payment difficult, affecting block extension projects at the school established in 1980, while reading books are scarce.
A Rotarian International affiliate, Interact Club, sourced 400 books from the University of Zimbabwe through the parent mother body.
“Everybody has the capacity to do something for the people. We are very grateful to Cornway College and we look forward to future leaders like these who care for the people,” said Rotary International representative Albert Nduna.
Club patron Eve Nhundu said the thrust was on serving the less-priviledged and community through exercises such as clean-up campaigns as well.
“We also adopted a primary pupil in 2012 that we paying fees for and is now at St Mannocks Secondary School,” she said.
“Our moral and resource support to the orphan inspired him to improve. He got eight units at Grade Seven and this year the Interact Club has also adopted another kid.”
Building a new block for the school is the next agenda, she added, while appealing to local companies to come on board.