A personal note about Pakati…why we need more Friends of Pakati, and how to help

Since last September when I revisited Pakati after a long absence, the school has never been far from my thoughts. It is beacuse of the visit that I began this blog & website.

With some of Pakati staff in 2018

From the beginning it has been about helping Pakati schools, their students, staff and the local community, to try to improve the educational opportunities at Pakati, all with local support and approval. I am in regular contact with current staff, and a number of former students, including some dating back to before my time teaching at Pakati. I have had a tremendous amount of support from all of them.

This blog has, I hope, opened many eyes to the reality of life in rural Zimbabwe, as Pakati is simply one area like many others there. Life can be difficult, but the community I got to know are dedicated, hard-working subsistence farmers, but very warm and welcoming, also quick to laugh.

Pakati has changed since I first went there in 1989 – there are new buildings, electricity, more teachers houses, new school signboards, fencing, a car park even! However….

Photo by Mrs Pindura, Deputy Head & Teacher of English

….some things have hardly changed at all. Class sizes have not really changed, nor has the lack of text books – the school has just had some help from UNICEF who donated text books for 3 subjects for the four year groups, Form 1 to Form 4 – but also lack of desks, practical subject equipment, sports kits, football boots…it is heartbreaking to me to read the story yesterday about the girls football team who played barefoot..

Pakati Girls football team 2019

What is NOT lacking is the enthusiasm of the students, their success under very difficult conditions, the hard work & dedication of the staff at the school in spite of the problems they face on a daily basis.

Therefore, I am expanding my request for help from the IT equipment I originally wanted to raise funds for – I now am asking for donations, in either cash or kind – towards providing help with sports kits, boots, desks, even uniforms for those students from the very poorest families – you can read stories here on the blog by former students like Bothwell Riside, Lorraine Mapuranga, Locardia Mandishayika and others. You can read some of my own memories, also staff profiles and stories, such as from Mrs Pindura, Deputy Head of Pakati Secondary school. Scroll down & take the time to find out more and see photos from around the schools and community around Pakati.

Please spread this story as far as you can, asking for any help you or your contacts could give, either in monetary terms via http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati or in kind, letting me know by email friendsofpakati@gmail.com or contacting me through http://facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati or http://twitter.com/friendsofpakati

Author:

My name is Chris Walker, and between January 1989 and September 1991 I worked, through VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), at Pakati Secondary School in Murehwa South district in Zimbabwe. I was a Maths teacher for 2 years, the Acting Head for the last 8 months there. I have also taught in Botswana & the UK, had 4 years working for VSO, and spent the last 13 years as a Civil Servant in Bradford. I married a Zimbabwean woman & we have 2 sons.

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