What’s new….?

Well after a well earned break from blogging, including a holiday, Friends of Pakati Author Chris Walker has returned to posting about Pakati!


I have been in touch with Mr Mugove Chifaka (Headmaster of Pakati Secondary school) recently. He has sent me some pictures & information about a very positive development at the school.

In recent weeks there has been work going on inside & outside one of the classrooms….

…but what is it all for? Why the changes?

From Mr Chifaka: “ICT room, fitted with new doors, standard shelves and tables, ceiling, screen doors and burglar bars. It is already connected to solar power. lt has capacity of 24 computers.”

There is also a new transformer at the school…

…but Mr Chifaka tells me the solar batteries need replacing, and don’t hold much power on cloudy days. This reduces the ability to power the computers they have as the new room is solar powered.

It is wonderful to see the developments, with the new paving, new room & new furniture, shelves, doors & burglar bars in place, much to the delight of the students.

All we need to do now is get these computers out there so we can see more of Pakati students learning digital skills!

Our past fundraising efforts

Hi everyone! As promised in the previous blog https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/08/07/what-has-friends-of-pakati-done-since-it-started/ we are looking back on our fundraising efforts since January 2019.

Pakati Secondary school students at an assembly in 2018

So let us start wuth the very first major fundraising event – the Walk – which took place in April 2019.

Along with my son Daniel, we walked over 2 and a half days, from Bradford City Football Club to Scunthorpe United Football Club (around 60 miles/85 km) prior to a match between them on the Saturday.

The last leg was from Thorne to Scunthorpe, & we were joined by my work Colleague Karen from Bradford, & fellow Iron fan Brian from Scunthorpe.

We were welcomed at the club before the game, & were given a number of donations, and promised by the club to match our total at the end of August – which came to a total of over £1300.

The football shirts given were a bonus which raised more over time, and brought Iron fan Simon Faulkner on board with his knowledge of the market & expertise at selling. Here are some of the shirts we sold:

All of this helped us pay for the donated items of IT equipment & sports tops to get from Bradford to Pakati in September of 2019. Question then was what to do in 2020?

Well as Covid 19 took over the world, contact with other people became very limited. In my job as a Civil Servant I was designated as a Key Worker, so continued to go to work along with a handful of colleagues. I started walking to work & back, as part of my challenge to lose weight – which became my fundraiser for 2020.

I went from 117kg to under 100kg over a period of 8 months. From the funds raised Friends of Pakati were able to join up with out partner organisation, VaTonatsa Foundation, and provide support for exam-class students in all 5 schools in the same Ward with Pakati.

2021 was largely lost, but for the development of our merchandise range, all of which can be found here: https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/

There has been a steady stream of buyers, & still attracting new ones regularly, adding much-needed funds to the pot.

Last year, 2022, as we began to emerge from the pandemic, an idea first suggested in 2020, came to life at last…Get Tied Up For Pakati’…where football supporters agreed to wear a tie at a match between Bradford City & Scunthorpe United…

Aonther £1000+ was raised, and helped us send even more IT & Sports equipmemt to schools in the Pakati atea in September of 2022. This was further boosted by an evening event in Scunthorpe, mentioned in detail at the end of this blogpost: https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/07/10/friends-of-pakati-change-of-focusplus-latest-news/

So now in 2023, we are once again looking for funds, as we want to send more items to Pakati schools next year, and get other help to them too. What we need now is….ideas please! What can we do to try & raise money for next year? Please send us ideas by any method, @friendsofpakati is the way to find us on twitter (X), Facebook & Instagram, message us on this website, or email us at friendsofpakati@gmail.com

Thank you👍

What has Friends of Pakati done since it started?

Greetings everyone! I thought this would be a good time to look back at our main acheivements since Friends of Pakati began officially on 16th January 2019. So here goes….

Pakati Secondary school in 1991

As you may already know, that date – 16/01/2019 – waa significant to me personally, I chose it to start Friends of Pakati to coincide exactly with the 30th anniversay of the day I first set foot in a classroom at Pakati Secondary school.

One of the many things I did at the time of setting up, was to organise some publicity. This I was able to do because of connections I made through the football club I support, Scunthorpe United. These included the BBC Radio Humberside Sport team, who interviewed me that day, and the local newspaper, the Scunthorpe Telegraph who published an article the week after.

The radio interview brought good news the very next day! Driving home from work, Stuart Pine, an IT Manager at the Stephenson Group at the time, was listening. He emailed me the next day to see if I was interested in a few computers his employers were replacing. Not surprisingly, I said Yes Please!

I was able to collect them from the Stephenson Group offices in Leeds & got help to check them out, plus update them with free software to use, before I was able to plan how to get them to Pakati…

With help from a number of small donations, then after a fundraising campaign lead to a matching donation from Scunthotpe United FC (more on fundraising in the next blog), meant we were able to organise what we had – 8 PCs & 2 laptops, plus a number of football tops – into a delivery to Harare, capital of Zimbabwe. This is where just a few days later, I arrived for a visit to take them to the schools.

Coedma Freight International packaging up our goods in August, 2019

Delivering the goods to the school was a real pleasure, and their arrival lead to a great celebration within the community. It was a wonderful experience for me, getting the chance to meet many people who had been in touch with me since Friends of Pakati started, many of them had connections to the school including former students. The very first IT lessons took place while I was there too.

Meeting new friends…
During the first IT lesson
The goods being opened on arrival

We planned more things for 2020, then Covid hit. As students were not going to school for some time, Friends of Pakati teamed up with VaTonatsa Foundation, one of our key allies in Zimbabwe, and produced/funded jointly some revision booklets for 5 schools in Ward 14 of Murewa District where Pakati is located. They were the 2 Pakati schools, 2 Chanetsa schools, and Mapanga Primary.

Vari Mayez of VaTonatss Foundation arrives to distribute the booklets

It wasn’t unti 2022 that we began to reslise that another visit to Pakati was finally possible, so we set up some events to raise funds once more, and were donated a number of brand new Chromebooks, and more sports tops & t-sbirts from Scunthorpe United. So we manged once more to pack them & send them to Harare via Coedma Frieight International once more.

As in 2019, I collected the goods from Harare & went to deliver what we had to all 5 schools in the Ward – 2 at Pakati, 2 at Chanetsa, and Mapanga Primary school. Another memorable time, with amazing receptions at all 5 schools

Lastly, we have been tryong to help both Pakati schools with solar power repairs. We managed to provide funds to get repairs done at the Secondary school, but so far do not have enough to help the Primary with theirs.

13th September 2022 – Solar power is restored to Pakati Secondary by an engineer…
…allowing Head teacher Mr Chifaka to resume IT lessons after a long break

So that is what Friends of Pakati have done up to now…and we have more things to do yet! We want to get solar power restored at Pakati Primary, and transport the next round of computers we have in storage out to the schools. We need to raise more funds once again, and that is the focus of our next blog – what we have done to raise funds in the past, & what we might do in the future.

Thanks to Scunthorpe United once again

Hi everyone!

In 2022, one of the things we were able to send to Pakati along with the computers were gifts from my hometown football club, Scunthorpe United.

Along with other sports tops & t-shirts, the gifts were warmly welcomed by the two Pakati schools….

…and today Pakati Secondary school girls were playing football on the school playing fields

Back in 2019 I am sure yoi will remember other football shirts being given to the Primary school, and were much apprecisted too…

…and the under 20 boys team beat their counterparts from Chanetsa 2-0 at Pakati tecently in their SUFC tops.

Pakati in claret & blue, Chanetsa in yellow

So once more we thank Scunthorpe United FC for their ongoing support on behalf of Pakati schools!

Something from nothing…

Greetings all! Welcome to this blog, the first in the lead up to the Zimbabwean elections next month – see why here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/07/12/announcement-by-friends-of-pakati/

School signboard, 2018

It gives me the opportunity to revisit things we – Friends of Pakati – have done in our first 4 years, & tell or retell some stories about Pakati and its community.

Two Heads of Pakati Secondary school, past & present, first meeting in 2018

Let me first let you into a little secret…I have never considered myself to be a creative person, yet over this last 4+ years I have managed to keep this blog going, even through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Visiting Pakati in 2018

Often I have no idea what I will write about, but then I might receive a message from someone which gives me an idea; other times it might be a picture – such as the one at the top of the school signboard – that will inspire me to create something from nothing, e.g. https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/05/18/not-just-a-school-signboard/

Meeting some of the staff at Pakati Secondary school in 2018

This post is dedicated to my first return to Pakati, using pictures I took there in 2018. The visit is what inspired me to start Friends of Pakati, thanks in no small part to Head Mr Chifaka (pictured above with the Author). His response to my question about what developments he would most like to see at Pakati was one word – Computers! This blog/website, social media presence & fundraising has all flowed from that single word.

There was no need for the car park (pictured in 2018) when I first worked at Pakati in 1989

In the next few weeks I will revisit out key fundraising efforts, our visits to Pakati in 2019 & 2022, stories I have told before, & meet some of our key stakeholders. Until then, here is a reminder of our important links:

For Twitter, Facebook & Instagram, use @friendsofpakati then for youtube: https://m.youtube.com/results?sp=mAEA&search_query=friends+of+pakati

For fundraising use http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati or http://paypal.me/friendsofpakati

To email us, use friendsofpakati@gmail.com

Announcement by Friends of Pakati

Greetings everyone!

Pakati Secondary school, 1990

Friends of Pakati has decided that, following discussions with key stakeholders in Zimbabwe, to pause posting new material. This is because of th upcoming elections in Zimbabwe, due on 23rd August 2023.

We are a non-political organisation, which allows us to work in the area of Ward 14, Murewa District, as long as we follow local protocols.

Once the election is over, we can return to reporting on the two Pakati schools as we seek to continue to support them & their students as we have since 2019.

In the meantime, we will report things which are more UK based news, such as local fundraising, interviews with key supporters, as well as covering things we have done or published previously. We will of course maintain our social media presence too.

News from Pakati Secondary School!

Hi everyone – I have been in touch with staff at Pakati Secondary School this week, and have some interesting news…please read on!

Administration Block

The school Administration Block has the staff room & offices for Heads of Department and Senior Staff.

First IT equipment being installed in 2019

However, when in 2019 Friends of Pakati succrssfully delivred the first few computers we had been donated, part of the staffroom eventually became home to them.

Pakati Secondary school students learning how to use computers

Since 2020, with ongoing problems around the Corona virus pandemic and erratic electricity supplies, the school could only provide a few IT lessons for the students.

Computer equipment we hope to send to Pakati schools

Now, as Friends of Pakati hope to send more IT to both Pakati schools, having helped the Secondary restore their solar power supply, they are upgrading the staffroom to be an IT suite. Work is now ongoing inside & out.

Work begins on the revamoed IT suite at Pakati Secondary school

It would be wonderful if we at Friends of Pakati can send more IT equipment to both of the Pakati schools for them to be used by more students, and have formal IT lessons – as required by the Curriculum, and for the benefit of the community at large.

More students learning IT at Pakati

Can you help us? Do you know someone who is willing to donate to support our efforts? If so, please point them towards our fundraising http://www.gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati and/or http://www.paypal.me/friendsofpakati

Thank you! Watch out for more news in the near future…

6 Month Review for 2023…

Greetings everyone! Welcome to the Friends of Pakati review of the first half of 2023…our 5th year of existence & still going strong👍

We start, though, with a sad tale, particularly for me (the Author) personally….

In late December 2022 my father passed away aged 92, and we had a funeral for him in early January this year. I paid a personal tribute to him here on the blog https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/01/15/looking-back-a-very-personal-story/

I also talked about him & my Mum with our podcast host, Bradley Mell. Have a listen here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/01/15/friends-of-pakati-podcast-episode-14/

We have looked at local Primary schools in the Ward 14 area of Murewa District, as there has been several good news stories recently. There have been new staff toilets, Wifi installations, and a new borehole/water tank. Here are the links to find out more: https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/02/19/latest-news-from-friends-of-pakati-3/https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/06/18/pakati-primary-latest-developments/

Pakati Primary get wifi!

We have also reported on two of our representatives, Debbie Chadbon & Lorraine Mapuranga, as they met for the first time in 30 years, along with the Author. This waa possible due to former Pakati Secondary student Lorraine’s arrival into the UK. Links to these stories are here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/02/05/from-pakati-to-south-east-england/  & https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/04/08/3-friends-of-pakati-re-united/

Chris Walker, Lorraine Mapuranga & Debbie Chadbon.

I was particularly taken by the collection of photos Debbie has from het time in Zimbabwe, so much so there are a couple of blogs about them: https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/04/10/debbies-photos/ and https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/06/06/more-of-debbies-pakati-pictures/

One of the great things for me with Friends of Pakati since it started, has been reuiniting with so many people I knew between 1989 & 1991. Obviously the majority are former students, but also some former teachers – particularly former colleagues, not least Mr Takawira Siyawamwaya, seen below.

Mr Siyamawaya outside his home not far from his school.

Mr Siyawamwaya taught at Pakati Secondary school in 1990, and shared accommodation with me. We managed to record a podcast with him not long ago, & posted it here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/04/24/friends-of-pakati-podcast-episode-14-2/

There is always something people can do to support us in our Vision – https://friendsofpakati.com/2020-vision-friends-of-pakati-the-project-continues/ – in several different ways: on social media by sharing & liking our posts – use @friendsofpakati to find us on facebook, twitter & instagram – but also financially via http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati or http://paypal.me/friendsofpakati as we seek to send more IT, sports equipment, and other help to both Pakati schools.

Thank you, please keep following us & spreading the word!

Pakati Primary latest developments!

Written by Chris Walker:


With my thanks to the Head Teacher, Mr Mahachi, Friends of Pakati are delighted to bring the stories of recent developments at Pakati Primary school. We always want to tell of interesting news about the schools & community, as it is important to show that life in rural Zimbabwe is not static or one-dimensional. 

Today we bring together a number of elements, including more about the installation of WiFi at the school (see https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/05/21/ward-14-primaries-schools-making-progress/ ), the drilling of a new borehole with a water tank & solar powered pump, plus how these things were planned and agreed by the school and its community. 

WiFi being installed at Pakati Primary school recently.

As seen here https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/05/06/wifi-at-pakati-primary-man-at-ta-and-other-stories/ the WiFi was part of a local initiative to bring rural Primary schools into the digital age. The small number of PCs Friends of Pakati provided in 2019 will help, but getting more IT out to them & the Secondary school is our priority. 

Having a good supply of clean drinking water is also an essential requirement for the students at Pakati Primary; and the school has been proactive here too. See pictures below showing the drilling, the solar panel, and construction of the water tank.

The whole of the school community – staff, students and parents – have been involved in discussions about these developments, as well as on more regular school concerns like the Curriculum. Pictures below show some of those discussions going on.

Interesting times at Pakati Primary school!

More of Debbie’s Pakati Pictures

Written by Chris Walker:


Greetings to you from Friends of Pakati! We find ourselves in June already, with things going on in the background to help us raise more funds; which will of course enable us to support both Pakati schools where they need us to.

In the meantime, I found myself looking once more at the photos which Debbie Chadbon shared with me earlier this year. You can read about our meeting here https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/04/08/3-friends-of-pakati-re-united also you can see more of her pictures here https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/04/10/debbies-photos/

These are some of the students at Pakati Secondary school in 1992, as photographed by Debbie in class. It is their fellow students now at the school and its sister Primary school, who Friends of Pakati was set up to support, primarily to provide some basic IT equipment. Since then we have also provided sports gear, t-shirts and help to restore solar power. We hope to do much more in the future for the schools.

The pictures below show a number of things which bring back so many memories for me – the state of the school buildings, staff and students relaxing in and around school and the community, Debbie having visits from family & friends from the UK…

I had visits from friends, but most importantly for me, two visits from my parents. I was delighted they had come to see me, to see Zimbabwe, but essentially to see where I lived & worked at Pakati Secondary school. It helped greatly whenever we talked about it years later, they understood far more about my reasons for being there, and what the conditions were like. It became clear to me just what an impact it had on both of them. This was in 2019 when we uncovered my Mum’s written notes about it after she had passed, and again this year as we cleared my parents’ home following my Dad’s passing in late December 2022. We found so much more – photos, slides and memorabilia from their two trips. Both are remembered as Friends of Pakati here on the blog… find out about them here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2019/03/16/saturday-star-a-friend-of-pakati-and-of-zimbabwe/ plus 2 posts about my Dad https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/12/24/merry-christmas-and-other-issues/  and https://friendsofpakati.com/2023/01/15/looking-back-a-very-personal-story/

More to come from the blog soon…