What has Friends of Pakati done since it started?

Greetings everyone! I thought this would be a good time to look back at our main acheivements since Friends of Pakati began officially on 16th January 2019. So here goes….

Pakati Secondary school in 1991

As you may already know, that date – 16/01/2019 – waa significant to me personally, I chose it to start Friends of Pakati to coincide exactly with the 30th anniversay of the day I first set foot in a classroom at Pakati Secondary school.

One of the many things I did at the time of setting up, was to organise some publicity. This I was able to do because of connections I made through the football club I support, Scunthorpe United. These included the BBC Radio Humberside Sport team, who interviewed me that day, and the local newspaper, the Scunthorpe Telegraph who published an article the week after.

The radio interview brought good news the very next day! Driving home from work, Stuart Pine, an IT Manager at the Stephenson Group at the time, was listening. He emailed me the next day to see if I was interested in a few computers his employers were replacing. Not surprisingly, I said Yes Please!

I was able to collect them from the Stephenson Group offices in Leeds & got help to check them out, plus update them with free software to use, before I was able to plan how to get them to Pakati…

With help from a number of small donations, then after a fundraising campaign lead to a matching donation from Scunthotpe United FC (more on fundraising in the next blog), meant we were able to organise what we had – 8 PCs & 2 laptops, plus a number of football tops – into a delivery to Harare, capital of Zimbabwe. This is where just a few days later, I arrived for a visit to take them to the schools.

Coedma Freight International packaging up our goods in August, 2019

Delivering the goods to the school was a real pleasure, and their arrival lead to a great celebration within the community. It was a wonderful experience for me, getting the chance to meet many people who had been in touch with me since Friends of Pakati started, many of them had connections to the school including former students. The very first IT lessons took place while I was there too.

Meeting new friends…
During the first IT lesson
The goods being opened on arrival

We planned more things for 2020, then Covid hit. As students were not going to school for some time, Friends of Pakati teamed up with VaTonatsa Foundation, one of our key allies in Zimbabwe, and produced/funded jointly some revision booklets for 5 schools in Ward 14 of Murewa District where Pakati is located. They were the 2 Pakati schools, 2 Chanetsa schools, and Mapanga Primary.

Vari Mayez of VaTonatss Foundation arrives to distribute the booklets

It wasn’t unti 2022 that we began to reslise that another visit to Pakati was finally possible, so we set up some events to raise funds once more, and were donated a number of brand new Chromebooks, and more sports tops & t-sbirts from Scunthorpe United. So we manged once more to pack them & send them to Harare via Coedma Frieight International once more.

As in 2019, I collected the goods from Harare & went to deliver what we had to all 5 schools in the Ward – 2 at Pakati, 2 at Chanetsa, and Mapanga Primary school. Another memorable time, with amazing receptions at all 5 schools

Lastly, we have been tryong to help both Pakati schools with solar power repairs. We managed to provide funds to get repairs done at the Secondary school, but so far do not have enough to help the Primary with theirs.

13th September 2022 – Solar power is restored to Pakati Secondary by an engineer…
…allowing Head teacher Mr Chifaka to resume IT lessons after a long break

So that is what Friends of Pakati have done up to now…and we have more things to do yet! We want to get solar power restored at Pakati Primary, and transport the next round of computers we have in storage out to the schools. We need to raise more funds once again, and that is the focus of our next blog – what we have done to raise funds in the past, & what we might do in the future.


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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