Generous words from Vatonatsa Foundation, a local non-profit organisation…

From Vatonatsa Foundation:

Owing to the philanthropic work we do to promote empowerment of children in rural areas, particularly Murewa Ward 14, I got an invite to follow a blog titled “friendsofpakati “ by Alderman Israel Maliki, Councillor of the Ward.

Holly, Bothwell, Councillor Maliki, the Author, and Vari

I am an avid reader so I did not hesitate to click on the link shared, and that as my first time learning about Chris Walker and the initiative he started in order to pull together donations to bring to Pakati Schools in Murewa.

In order for my side of the story to make sense let me introduce myself and what I do, so that the followers of the blog can understand how Chris’ visit to Pakati Schools in September through to October 2019 had such a positive impact on me, my organization, friends and community.

My name is Varaidzo. I am an Accountant by profession but due to a calling that resonates so well in my heart, which is to empower children in underprivileged circumstances, I am the Development and Founding Director of VaTonatsa Foundation – a non profit making organization in Zimbabwe.

Our organization is still in its infancy stage and currently we pay fees for children from impoverished backgrounds, asupporting them with school supplies which we can just summarize as financial support. We believe that it’s not enough to give someone fish everyday but it’s more important to teach them how to catch fish, so we do Development programs in the community in order to help the children earn a living. For example we just started a Moringa Farming project at Mapanga Primary School in Murewa Ward 14. We offer psycho-social support, and community development is one of our key focus areas.

Alderman Maliki invited me to follow the blog where I soon learnt of Chris’ upcoming visit to Murewa, so I confirmed that I would gladly attend the presentation ceremony on Friday 27 September because I believe that anyone who is generous enough to bring development, in this case ICT development, deserves support and acknowledgment.

I got in touch with my neighbor and close friend Holly to invite her on the trip to Pakati Schools and she gladly agreed. Holly is also a philanthropist at heart, she sometimes volunteers on projects that we do at VaTonatsa Foundation, but she is also in the process of registering her own charity initiative, whose aim is to empower girls and women in rural Africa. We also got in touch with Dr Bothwell Riside the Chairman of Pakati Old Students Association, who also happened to be Chris’ host and right hand man on the trip, in order to see what we could also bring to make the reception ceremony fun.

We arrived at Pakati Schools at Midday and met Chris for the first time in person. We also met members of staff such as Mr Chifaka the current Headmaster of Pakati Secindary School. We had the privilege to meet several other delegates such as Member of Parliament Honorable Sewera, Councillors from the District and the Chief Executive Officer of Murewa Rural District Council, who had come to witness and share in their excitement to receive the gifts that Chris brought, namely 8 desktop computers, two laptops and sports kits.

The vibe at the Schools was exciting because in Africa when we celebrate a good thing, we do so in full style. Students also presented poetry and speech in appreciation of what Chris had done for the schools. It was exciting to hear about the fundraising initiatives that he did such as a sponsored walk he went on with his son. I felt grateful to learn that he also got the main donations of computers from the supportes of this project.

We shared a heartwarming meal prepared by the staff and parents at Pakati school. In Shona culture they say “Ukama igasva unozadziswa nekumwa” which translated to English means “All meaningful relationships should be celebrated with a hearty meal to make them long lasting and fruitful “.

Holly in deep discussion with the Author during the meal at Pakati

We made an instant connection with Chris because he is such an easy-going and humble person, so after the Murewa visit it was my pleasure to host him and Bothwell at my home in Harare for breakfast, together with my friend Holly who is also my neighbor. We managed to reflect on Chris‘ visit and in the process discussed possibilities of partnering in future on other Developmental issues for the benefit of Pakati Schools and Murewa community as a whole. We look forward to working with Chris on areas that we discussed and more.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who helped to make Chris’ vision for Pakati community come to life, especially the project backers and everyone who paid something into the gofundme account. I believe that all these people are not only friends of Chris but they are True “friendsofpakati” and it is my prayer that together we will develop the community in order to create a bright future for the children . To Chris I say thank you so much. Keep the vision alive, I absolutely love your work. They say there is so much joy in giving and I believe you have joy from all that you are doing.

Vatonatsa Foundation at work at Mapanga Primary school, Muerwa


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 have been a Civil Servant in Bradford since 2005.

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