We’re starting a new project!
Posted in Updates
18 March 2023
I’m taking the chance of a quiet patch of Lent to catch up with you all before my own life gets busy again. I have some news for you, which I hope you will enjoy. We are about to start a new project for Tariro. It will be on a slightly different model from the usual ones, and will focus on a group rather than individual children. It will be in a small town outside Harare called Tsvingwe.
Tsvingwe is near St Augustine’s, Penhalonga and there is a strong Anglican presence round there. It is a former gold mining town and though the mine has ceased the hills surrounding Tsvingwe are being torn apart by illegal gold diggers. They are destroying the countryside, polluting the river and creating massive erosion. Worse than that is the damage they inflict on the young people. Boys are encouraged to give up education to make a quick buck alongside these adventurers. Girls are seduced in the old way. The local high school to which we have sent many of the Tariro youngsters is deeply concerned about this corruption of morals and the ruining of young lives. Last year 67 girls dropped out of the school through lack of fees, lack of motivation or pregnancy. The excellent headmaster, Mr Nyanete, wants to stop this and we want to help him. We already have three nice girls in the school. We have just secured a grant from the Anglican Number One Trust for Tariro to start a project for girls, especially, though probably boys as well.
The immediate aim of the project will be to bring the girls together at the school to help them into a new way of living. A local priest and his daughter will lead this project. They can give them teaching, counselling and support. Some of the support will be very practical: sanitary needs so they do not need to miss some days of school each month. It will be an agricultural project as the country always needs food, but it will focus on teaching them how to do this successfully to earn their own money when, as is likely, they find there are no jobs. Vegetables and chickens should have a good market among the illegal miners, as well as among the densely populated town. There is also a growing middle class, who would like fruit trees for their gardens and flowers inside their houses. One of the good changes in Zimbabwe is that many small-scale farmers are concentrating on producing a wide range of crops that will sell better and supply different needs. Tariro is doing this too in the Honde Valley where one hectare houses seventy five pigs in beautiful conditions, and grows cabbages, sugar beans, maize and bananas at different times of the year.
The priest who will oversee this project, Fr Abel Waziwei, is himself from a peasant farming background and is experienced in small-scale farming. We hope, within a few months that this project will be making enough profit to help pay school fees, buy the things that girls need to be happy and motivate the youngsters to stay on at school.
The project should start very soon. I shall be out there just after Easter and hope by then we have the final picture of what exactly they will be doing. I shall be leaving here with Tina Minett Stevens on Easter Tuesday. Tina has great experience teaching Maths and our first port of call, after Harare will be a monastery near Gweru. There we should find about sixteen Tariro young people. Most of them will be there to study maths with Tina and improve their English with me. A small, older group in Sixth Form and university will be there simply to enjoy talking together with us about their hopes and dreams. Zimbabwean youngsters do not know much about the world outside their own (Do English youngsters?) so we should have a lot of fun talking about it.
Have a good Lent and Easter and I will write again when I get back.
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