Friends of Pakati – 6 month review

Greetings to our friends, followers, admirers, supporters, sponsors and donors of all kinds. As we are almost at the end of June 2020, I think it is a good time to review our activities and plans, especially as, like so many others across the world, they have had to change somewhat.

Firstly though, one thing that has not changed, is the vision set out at the beginning of 2020 – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020-vision-friends-of-pakati-the-project-continues/ which develops further from our original purpose seen here – https://friendsofpakati.com/2019/01/04/my-project-for-2019/ to get some IT equipment out to both Pakati schools – successsfully carried out in September 2019. Below are some of the highlights of each month this year so far.

January.

Our first post of 2020 – https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/01/05/new-year-old-memories-plus-similar-problems/ highlighted some of the problems being faced by Pakati schools that have changed little in 30 years.

One of the things I started doing in an attempt to raise much-needed funds for Friends of Pakati is to lose weight. I did get some donations, but I have promises of more, including one of ยฃ50 when I pass 2 stones lost, and one of ยฃ1 for every 1lb when the measuring ends, both by work colleagues. Originally it was to be June 1st, but will continue until October 1st now. Started off at 113.4kg/17st 9lbs….made it down so far to 100.5kg/15st 11.5lbs in 22 weeks.

February

Early in February I had confirmation from the Stephenson Group from Leeds, who donated IT equipment last year, have more to donate for this year! Read about it here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/02/15/great-news-for-pakati-schools/

Sports – athletics in particular during this time of the year – are very important to Pakati. Last year’s donation of football shirts from Scunthorpe United for Primary students provided the setting for our most-viewed post so far – 886 views https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/02/17/pakati-primary-new-sports-tops-on-show-as-they-prepare-for-the-zonal-sports-competition/

We also covered items such as Trachoma prevention, AGM at Pakati Secondary, former Pakati teacher Debbie Chadbon preparing to fundraise for us in a 10km run, and Zonal sports for the Secondary. Little did we know what was to come…

March

We began March with more news on fundraising activities, sports news including some success for Pakati Secondary school – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/06/fantastic-news-pakati-student-wins-at-provincial-athletics-competition/ – the Primary school AGM, and a trip round the Pakati area https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/09/around-the-pakati-area/ .

We also introduced new people with Pakati connections… https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/07/saturday-star-mrs-maenzanise-former-teacher-at-pakati-primary-school/ and https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/14/mrs-agatha-joramu-fombo-former-pakati-student-now-a-pastor-in-mutare-zimbabwe/

Then Corona Virus/Covid 19 struck globally. Come mid-March we were already changing plans – https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/18/covid-19-updates/ and seeeing UK and Zimbabwe lockdowns.

Then we also saw the impact of the lockdowns on both Pakati schools and Mapanga Primary https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/28/life-in-the-area-still-goes-on-at-a-slower-pace/

April

As the lockdowns continue, Friends of Pakati still finds plenty to report on… including this post: https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/04/08/friends-of-pakati-lockdown-doesnt-stop-life-going-on/

We helped celebrate Easter under lockdown https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/04/12/%e2%9b%aaeaster-sunday-special%e2%9b%aa/ and met some new people through their profiles, especially Pauline Machengo – more on her later – and Vari Mayez, founder of VaTonatsa Foundation, which also appears further along this post. Pauline’s story was in 3 parts, including this first one during her time at Pakati Primary https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/04/18/saturday-star-profile-of-former-pakati-student-pauline-machengo-part-1/ and Vari’s profile can be seen here https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/04/25/saturday-star-vari-mayez-a-friend-of-pakati-under-lockdown-in-harare/ and learned of student life under lockdown courtesy of Mitchelle Karasa https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/04/29/locked-down-in-harare-suburbs-student-mitchell-karasa/

We relived the sponsored walk from a year ago to raise funds, and had a few lockdown laughs..

May

…then in May we asked for some donations, and talk of a forthcoming joint project with the afore-mentioned VaTonatsa Foundation, and we had the opening chapters of a much longer story from Pauline Machengo mentioned here https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/05/17/a-plea-for-help-in-these-unusual-times/

That post generated a follow-up in which the collaboration with VaTonatsa was explained https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/05/21/follow-up-to-the-plea-in-the-previous-post/ and confirmed in more detail in https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/05/28/friends-of-pakati-and-vatonatsa-foundation-working-together-to-help-students-in-3-rural-schools/

We also received donations from companies and individuals, including from Roj Rahman of Mortz Property Services, Magdalene Lafontant of Nakai Skincare and Cosmetics, along with former Teacher at Pakati Secondary, Debbie Chadbon.

June

This month has been characterised by two main themes – Pauline Machengo’s ongoing tale of her journey to and subsequent arrival in Cape Town, South Africa (most recent chapters seen here) https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/06/14/outside-zim-borders-chapters-6-and-7/ and the collaboration with VaTonatsa to provide support to exam year students at what has developed into 5 schools – Pakati Primary and Secondary, Mapanga Primary, and the recent addition of Chanetsa Primary and Secondary schools. https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/06/04/friends-of-pakati-and-vatonatsa-foundation-welcome-chanetsa-schools-on-board/

The material produced is in the form of a booklet for the students to use as additional learning and revision, across all subjects. The Primary booklets were completed https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/06/16/primary-booklets-are-ready/ and…. https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/06/21/delivery-of-the-primary-booklets/ have been distributed to the students at the 3 chosen Primary schools – Pakati, Chanetsa and Mapanga.

What do the schools think.about the booklets? Here is a comment from one of them: “

On behalf Mapanga Primary School Stakeholders, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your kind gesture towards our Grade 7 Learners. The study packs are an answered prayer to our learners who had no study material to see them through the Covid-19 lockdown. Friends of Pakati, VaTonatsa Foundation, Councillor Maliki and all other contributors, we really appreciate your time, financial resources and commitment to make sure the booklet is compiled and distributed to the beneficiaries. As Mapanga Primary we assure you that we shall play our part in making sure the booklets are effectively used and maintained.
Thank you.”

With the Primary school booklets out of the way, completion of the joint initiative will be soon, as the Secondary material is now being produced. What next for Friends of Pakati? There is now a move to put it on a more formal footing, as I search for potential trustees to set it up as a charitable trust. This is the first step towards gaining status as a registered charity in the future. Once the process is well under way here in the UK, we will look to have a similar arrangement in Zimbabwe.

Also, as reported in a previous blog, schools in Zimbabwe are set to re-open gradually in the coming weeks, so we hope to report in depth on that from both Pakati schools, including the preparations being made by the Heads and staff. Hoping to see the return of normal life at the schools, under safe circumstances for all concerned. Reports and pictures to illustrate the stories will no doubt come our way. We will have to wait and see what happens about sports this year, as the main focus will be on exam students to begin with.

Many thanks to those who actively support and contribute to this blog, in particular my thanks go to Mr Mugove Chifaka and Mr Ambrose Mahachi, Heads of the two Pakati schools, their staff/colleagues, Mr Bothwell Riside, Lorraine Mapuranga and family, Councillor Israel Maliki, Debbie Chadbon, all who have sent in their profiles and photos, Pauline Machengo for her stories, Vari Mayez and all concerned with VaTonatsa Foundation, plus Mrs Maenzanise, Mr Kadzimu and Mr Mawedze, Heads of the 3 other participating schools in the recent joint initiative. Also, a huge ‘Thank You’ to all who give in cash or in kind including those seen here https://friendsofpakati.com/2019/03/18/sponsors-supporters-of-friends-of-pakati/ or support with spreading the word of Friends of Pakati๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

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 14 years as a Civil Servant in Bradford. I married a Zimbabwean woman & we have 2 sons.

2 thoughts on “Friends of Pakati – 6 month review

  1. Well I’m very impressed with the review. Chris you’re really doing a great job.I wanna say thank you to those who contributed to see all of these things into fruition. I’m proud of myself also lol. Thumps up Chris

    Like

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