Schools limited return; fundraising hit again by Covid19

Friends of Pakati wholly agree with VaTonatsa Foundation’s message on social media below – and hope that all staff and students take care and stay safe in all schools.

After some months, schools across Zimbabwe have re-opened on Monday, 28th September, to a limited extent. They are open for Grade 7 (Primary), Form 4 (Secondary, O level) and Form 6 (6th form, A level) classes only for now. This below is from the Zimbabwean Government:

Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting@InfoMinZW#PostCabinetBriefing Schools reopening : ~Phase 1 will open on September 28 (Grade 7, Forms 4 & 6) ~Phase 2 will open on 26 October 2020 (Grade 6, Form 3 and 5) ~Phase 3 will open on 9 November 2020 (rest of the learners which covers ECD A and B, Grade 1,2,3,4,5, Form 1 and 2)

On the same day this was tweeted, and added to a whats app group I am a member of, there were also exchanges about getting schools disinfected. This appears to have been carried out in the Ward 14, Murewa (see pics below from Pakati Secondary and Chanetsa Primary) schools:


Mr Chifaka of Pakati Secondary school sent me this picture below, with the following comment – ‘Educating form 4 learners on covid 19 and standard operating procedures on Opening day.’

Below is the guidance for standard operating procedures & protocols for Primary and Secondary schools

Below are some pictures from Pakati Secondary school, showing the implementation of the protocols – all information provided by the Headmaster, Mr Chifaka:

Pakati Secondary School clerk Mr Nehanda, preparing administration requisitions for reopening of school.
Mr Katonha and Mr Mapwere restructuring Form 4 learners’ time table.
This two sitter desk (often used by 4 students) which takes too much space, and does not enable social distancing, so it is no longer suitable in the new normal.

Above, Form 4 learners sitting in their class room, social distancing being ensured. However, we need additional 210 individual sitting places to accommodate all our learners when school fully reopens. This is the greatest challenge caused by the required social distancing. The old desks are no longer recommended. Schools are now also urged to acquire sitting places with back rests for learners.

Fundraising update

Debbie Chadbon’s desire to help Friends if Pakati with fundraising have been hit for the second time by Covid 19. Earlier this year, the Bristol 10km run was cancelled at the height of the pandemic in the UK, forcing Debbie to look at different ways to support us. As she is still planning to do the run in 2021 all is not lost, but more recently she had smaller plans to help – see

Debbie was planning to have a stall selling some of her home grown produce from her allotment.

However, I received the following message from her a couple of days ago…. “Hi Chris. Unfortunately the sale trail has been cancelled due to COVID 😥.”

Sadly it was not unexpected, as there has been an increase in cases again here in the UK recently, leading to many restrictions being re-imposed on people. Ah well, back to the drawing board….

Once again we are looking for ideas to help raise more funds, – much needed as you can see from the pictures and comments above – so please do let us know what you think we could do. Usual contacts:

To donate:

Back to the new situation at school…

Finally, it was time for students to go home…

Dismissal time. Form 4 learners at assembly point standing behind markings for the purpose of social distancing.

I asked Mr Chifaka… “ did it all go from your perspective? How do the teachers feel about it all? Any interesting comments from students?”

“The learners are not used to the new conditions yet, but they are trying to cope. The same applies to teachers and myself!”


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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