A chance to look back on things…..plus maybe a surprise to come

Having been back home for nearly 2 weeks now, I thought it would be useful to look back at what has been achieved, what more there is to do, and where http://friendsofpakati.com can go from here.

The visit to Pakati went incredibly well, beyond my wildest dreams. From the moment I arrived and started to unpack the donated goods, the welcome I received just blew me away. The computers & sports equipment were very well recieved at both Pakati schools. The official handover of the donations was a wonderful occasion, enjoyed by all present. The installation of the computers at both schools was an exciting time, not least for the students who were invited to trial lessons.

What I feel we achieved is not as much as I had originally planned, but the fundraising has been the main limiting factor. It started out as a plan to use one of the charity organisations who get used IT equipment from businesses and individuals, clean them up, instal software and then offer them to be shipped to schools in Africa. The costs of sending a large number (50+) proved too much. However, the offer of a donation from the Stephenson Group from Leeds, came about through a radio interview I did.

This lead me to look at other donations, but mostly of money. The more I raised, the more I could look for additional equipment, through local second hand computer/phone shops close to home. I picked up an extra PC, 2 laptops, 5 monitors, cables, muliti-plug sockets. Then, the largest individual cost, the transport of the goods from my home to Pakati.

The next thing we would like to get organised is internet access to the schools, via satellite due to the schools’ location. Following on, as I understand it, there are more computers to be donated. They will also need more monitors, cables etc., and of course transportation.

Where do we go from here? Well the fundraising needs to get moving again, so any ideas or suggestions about what we can do would be welcome. friendsofpakati@gmail.com or http://facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati or http://twitter.com/friendsofpakati to let us know your thoughts. It is possible we can collaborate with other organisations such as Vatonatsa Foundation, or look to discussions with others about how best to continue.

Finally, a possible surprise – I am waiting to hear from someone else who has fond memories of Pakati…hopefully they will be willing/able to provide some extra ideas, maybe practical help for the blog. More next time!

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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