2019 saw me set up friendsofpakati.com and the important links http://Facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati http://Twitter.com/friendsofpakati firstname.lastname@example.org http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati to promote, publicise and raise funds for this project, and allowing interested parties to contact us.
Contributors have included the Heads of both Pakati schools, several of their staff members, current and former students of both schools – some of whom learned there during my time at Pakati, local community members, local politicians and organisations, people who have supported the project either by their actions or donations, friends old and new, and family of mine.
The original aim was to raise money to get IT equipment to Pakati, an aim at least partially realised thanks to a variety of individuals, and significant contributions from Stephenson Group, Scunthorpe United Football Club and Mortz Property Services, plus invaluable publicity from both BBC Radio Humberside and Scunthorpe Telegraph.
In recent posts friendsofpakati.com has stated this years priorities as getting internet to both schools, getting printers to both schools, security improvements, more computers. If possible, further help in the areas of textbooks, seating/desks and the classroom environment would be great if we can raise sufficient funds.
Fundraising is the key. What can be done? What events would be needed? What ideas can people come up with? Well….. I am in contact with a couple of friends who have suuggested some things…one from a fellow Scunthorpe United fan saying he would donate if we can get some fans to wear a shirt and tie to a selected away game – after seeing me in a tie in photos from Pakati in September at the event to celebrate the previous donation. I am looking at a suitable away game to choose then consult with supporters groups and individuals.
I am definitely open to more ideas about fundraising….please do use the contacts at the top of this post and let me know your suggestions. The football shirt sales are still ongoing I understand, some income due to come from my fellow Iron fan friend Simon. What else could we do?
This third piece about small scale development projects covers a number of items, and the kind of challenges which they face in order to succeed. Sources for the information are various, but include some regular contributors to the blog, and I am most grateful for their comments.
A community Hall was built, and seed bank for local farmers in the district, officially opened with support from MP Jonah Sewera and Councillor Israel Maliki.
Unfortunately, a localised weather event – storm like contitions with rain and high winds – caused havoc with the community hall and othe smaller family units nearby. The rooves were badly damaged and can be seen strewn across the area.
Mapanga School in Ward 14 Murewa District is undergoing a number of developments, including the building of a classroom block for EDC – Early Childhood Development learners.
Head of Mapanga Primary school Mrs Maenzanise, along with MP Sewera and Councilor Maliki, attending the ceremony for the electrification of the school earlier in 2019.
Children at Mapanga Primary school in one of the classrooms, likely to be turned into a computer lab, and below, on prizegiving day.
A local bread-making/bakery group has been set up in the district.
Some of their wares are shown here on sale near a local commercial centre.
Below, another local school is having new classrooms built, and roofing has been delivered, helped by local school children.
There are people in the area not far from Pakati who have plans to develop businesses, things such as chicken farming. People who have a lot of experience and contacts, and who could very easily set it up, on a small scale to begin with but would have both plans and ability to expand.
What is holding them back, as it is with many people who are planning investments large or small – including this project to a limited extent, is the Zimbabwean economy. It is currently struggling, affecting the lives of many across the country.
Below, a reminder of the Moringa planting at Mapanga Primary school mentioned in a previous blog.
Some of the next few blogs in the New Year will set the scene for the plans for this project, particularly for the fundraising towards our main priorites for the 2020 vision.
Many thanks to all who have been following this blog, and to those who have contributed this year either by deed or donation. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏Tatenda, we thank you👍🏽👍🏽
Seasons greetings to everyone who is a Friend of Pakati 🎄🎁🍾🎉
” I think at the moment internet connection is a noble idea, as time moves on if accessible more PCs are required.
I wish to see Pakati schools as the hub of IT studies in Murewa and/or the province as a whole.” Nickson Munemo Dzimauta
“….in response to your questions on what to be done next here is my view. 28 years ago I was a student at Pakati, if you remember my story I posted sometime in April, I stated that life for us as students was so difficult as we used to share 4 or 5 textbooks in the whole class. This was not good at all. And following up on your recent posts of 2019 I find out there’s still no change of availability of stationery at the school..if I may take it more practical, it means I suffered textbook scarcity, thus my child at Pakati also suffers the same and so does my grandchild…it’s high time things get to change.. thanks to the computer donation, I suggest and recommend that there must be a printer at the school so that more stationery can be availed. During tests students must have a feel of the real Zimsec exams where each individual has their own question papers. It’s high time we see changes coming up through the already donated computers and make use of them effectively and benefit all.” (Lorraine Mapuranga)
Adding the above comments to those in the previous post, it seems clear to me there are a number of issues which are uppermost in the minds of people concerned about Pakati schools. Reading all the comments, I have come to the conclusion that friendsofpakati needs to have a list of priorities. I doubt we can cover everything suggested, but below is what I feel the most important issues are:
Printer and paper.
Here are my thoughts on each item…
Internet: The first few computers delivered in September will come into their own once the internet is available. It offers students and teachers access to so much more information, advice, and educational material.
Printer and paper: With a lack of available text books, then once internet is set up then a printer for each school will be useful, so they can print out copies of relevant material, e.g. things like past exam papers.
Security: Both schools will need additional, improved security for the rooms in which the computers will be used. Better burglar bars on the windows and additional door security is needed.
More computers: In order to offer formal IT lessons, each school needs at least 10 computers. Currently they both have 5, so extra ones are needed. This will raise another question though – electricity supply. At present the supply is irregular, and both rely on solar power during the day.
Text books: It is sad to see that even now 30 years on from my time as a teacher at Pakati Secondary school, there are too few text books for the number of students.
Desks/seating: As with books, not enough desks and/or seats for the students. On top of that, there is now a requirement for seats with back support for the students.
I would like to add something else into the mix too….the overall classroom environment inside could use a spruce up, as could the admin block at the Secondary. Ceilings, a lick of paint, doors and windows? The schools budgets are stretched, so I appreciate that would not be their highest priorities.
So…..having laid out the priorities, in order, the next question is about raising funds. What can I do this coming year? suggestions please…ideas for events welcome, large or small. Usual contacts please – on facebook, twitter, comments on here and/or email. See our contacts page for full details.
I am posing some questions for you all, as friends of Pakati, to try and answer. I want to hear your views. In an earlier blog post I did start to ask about what happens next year, and there are some comments already which I will add to this article for you to consider before adding your own.
The two Pakati schools, like many others in rural areas of Zimbabwe, face a number of problems. Sadly I am limited to what help I can give, and I am only really able to help Pakati due to my strong personal links and affiliation to its surrounding community. The first comment I shall quote comes from Mr Mugove Chifaka the Head of Pakati Secondary school, and gives an idea of the sort of challenges which lie ahead:
“Good afternoon Chris. Regarding the issues you have raised, we surely need more PCs but we need to install stronger security burglar bars to the staff room for the safety of the computers already in our possession. We included the expected security expenditure in our 2020 budget propopals which was agreed upon by parents in a General meeting held on 3 December. We submitted the application for approval to the ministry on Friday 6 December. We surely need internet access.
The other things we need are tables and chairs for the students. The ministry now wants sitting places with back rests for Students and we need such furniture for 300 students.
We also wish to improve our grounds by better landscaping, which in turn calls for better fencing. This is a few of the things in our plan if finances allow, but as you are aware, our economy is not stable at all but we just plan.”
Here are other comments, with the senders’ name attached:
“Good question you raised in the blog.
I think it is best to add more computers at first then install internet when there is an increased number of computers so that it is easier for most of the pupils to gain access.” (Vatonatsa Foundation)
“….though i respect your suggestions I would like to view it from a different angle, Text books have become a scarce resource and unaffordable at the moment. So with the few computers we have its better we connect to internet first, and source a printer so that we can print our own books from the internet. At that recent school meeting I was told by the Head that at present each class have just 5 text books being shared by the teachers and an average of 55 if not 60 pupils, a very sad senario indeed.” (Councillor Israel Maliki)
“…. My opinion is that if both can not be managed, preference should be connecting to the internet, more computers can be added with time while the present ones are being fully utilised” (Talent Mutyavaviri. teacher at Pakati Secondary school)
So, my questions are about listing priorities really, and about how to fundraise for whatever those priorities are. How do you see the priorities? Should friends of Pakati expand to cover more of Mr Chifaka’s concerns? Or should we limit it to just IT equipment? How should I/we fundraise? Big events like the sponsored walk this year, or a series of smaller ones? A mixture? What type of activities? Whatever suggestions you have please send them via Facebok, twitter, Whats app, email or comment on here. I will post your ideas and suggestions on here, consult with contacts, then post the outcomes in a follow-up post. Thank you all.
This is the last part of my review of the year! Meet some of the friends of Pakati I met this year, and a friend of Pakati who worked there just after I did. I had intended to discuss what happens with this project for next year – some questions, comments and a request for ideas and feedback – but that is now going to be a separate, individual article.
I will start with my hosts in Zimbabwe during late September/early October this year…they were both amazing and generous hosts, whose welcome was better than I could have received by any 5* hotel.
Next, I feel I should try and cover those I met who I knew from my time at Pakati between 1989 and 1991….very moving for me, particularly the first person shown here. Thomas was the person who took me around the area in his van occasionally, and became a close friend. I celebrated at least one birthday with him and his friends and family.
Next, here are some of the people I met during my visit to Zimbabwe this year
Some other friends of Pakati from earlier in the year
Here we meet the elusive Debbie Chadbon, another former teacher at Pakati. She has proven difficult to track down, but persistence paid off. She got in contact just a few weeks ago, and has sent some photos snd stories, the outline of which appeared on a recent blog post.
This brings an end to the review of 2019 for Friends of Pakati. A momentous year, with so nany amazing memories for me. I am genuinely touched by the response of people both in Zimbabwe and in the UK to this project, as well as those across the world who have kept in touch and encouraged/supported all we have done. I can tell you, Pakati people are delighted with progress so far…..my next post will look more closely at what Friends of Pakati might do next year, as we look to you, the real friends of Pakati, for ideas, thoughts, suggestions on fundraising as well as what help is needed, and where the priorites lie.