Back in full swing this week!

Pakati Primary students back in class

Pakati Ptimary school: Teachers are all doing well, geared up and ready to go. They are always preaching the gospel of the pandemic. As for the parents a few are not taking the coronavirus guidelines seriously, but at school we have put in place adequate measures to ensure that everyone who enters the school premises is masked up and sanitized.

Form 4 learners at Pakati Secondary school, now are joined by all other age groups

Pakati Secondary school: Our students are back in school now, with all relevant protocols put in place to ensure the safety of staff and students during this Covid 19 situation. We will update on the situation very soon, with pictures and information as soon as we can. We are hampered by the lack of electrical power as reported recently here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/03/22/urgent-help-needed-power-supply-problems/

Mapangs Primary students return to learning

Mapanga Primary school: (Early March) Wearing of face masks, tempreture checks and washing of hands in all public areas remains mandatory. Unfortunately we won’t have electricity as our transformer was hit by lightning on the 6 th of January 2021. They don’t have our 33 kv in stock. We hope they will replace it as time progresses.

(Most recently) Learners ate now coming to school, but we have no electricity. We are waiting for a replacement, and it will take time

Chanetsa Secondary school sees its learners are back & ready for lessons once more


Chanetsa Secondary school: We started preparation to for opening schools by putting all the measures in place which we can to protect our learners and teachers from covid19. We also mprovise what ever we can. We have staff development meetings so that all teachers are well equiped with the covid information .This will allow us to protect the learners and ourselves from covid19 infection as a team. We are ready!


Friends of Pakati: We will continue to cover the return of students to Pakati and other schools in the Ward, and hope to hear of the return of the popular sports programmes soon.

Urgent help needed – power supply problems

I just had a message from Mr Chifaka, Head of Pakati Secondary school, that they have no electricity there rught now. There are two main reasons for this:

Firstly, the power supply from ZESA (Zimbabwe Electrucity Supply Authority) has been affected by the pole supporting the cabling being damaged. The pole is just near the home of Mr Chifaka at the school. They are waiting for ZESA to come and repair it.

Secondly, the solar panels the school has have stopped working, as the battery/batteries being used to store electricity are too old, and no longer work. See an earluer post about the solar supply here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2019/10/13/power-to-pakati/

We cannot do anything about the ZESA supply, as they will reconnect as soon as they can. The one thing we CAN do is to help the school replace the battery/batteries for the solar power supply. I am waiting for a quote on how much that would cost.

Without any power, the school is hampered in so many ways, including its administration, and communucation with the outside world. Also. The chances of any IT lessons using the few computers we provided in 2019 are therefore zero.

I am also aware of eletricity problems at Mapanga Prinary, a school in the same Ward 14, as reported briefly here https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/03/17/back-to-school-exam-classes-return/ I am told their transformer was struck by lightening on 6th January, and they are waiting for a replacement. They do not have Solar Power installed.

If we can get some donations which exceed the cost of the battery power for Pakati’s solar power, then we can look at assisting Mapanga too.

Back to school! – Exam classes return

Grade 7 students at Pakati Primary school being welcomed back in a covid-safe way

Great news for students at the five schools in Ward 14 of Murewa District – Pakati Primary and Secondary, Chanetsa Primary and Secondary, plus Mapanga Primary schools – all five have reported that their exam class students have returned. Numbers are down, but it is expected more will attend once the schools fully re-open next week on 22nd March.

Below we bring the latest news from the schools, and recent photos where they have been provided. Thanks to all those who sent in photos and information.

Pakati Primary school – Grade 7 girls in class. Social distance has been maintained and they are all masked up

Pakati Primary school reports their Grade 7 students are now back in school, and Head Teacher Mr Mahachi is actively encouraging them to be covid-safe at all times.

Local community support is always welcome, and Pakati Primary is fortunate in that respect.

Mr Chihumbiri a local parent helping in cleaning the school, also masked up

Pakati Secondary school reports that three quarters of their Form 4 Learners have returned this week, certainly expecting more to come next week. I am awaiting further information ftom them.

Mapanga Primary school is having some problems with electricity supply right now, but Head Teacher Mrs Maenzanise reports 39 learners have been attending since Monday.

Grade 7 students at Mapanga Primary school

Chanetsa Secondary school Head Teacher Mr Mawedze reports that 12 of their 26 Form 4 students have returned so far, but expects more will come next week. They are a satelite of Pakati Secondary school, with 142 students in total. They have one completed classroom block, and one unfinished block. They have a store room which is being used for keeping important school equipment – see photos below.

Chanetsa Primary school has welcomed Grade 7 learners back into class. I am awaiting further reporrs from them.

We hope to give further updates and photos from all five schools after they fully re-open next week.

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To help these students, schools and communities, please donate what you can – time, effort, goods or money – contact us friendsofpakati@gmail.com or give via http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati – you could also buy merchandise – see https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/ for full details

Thank you.

Article – Can schools like Pakati in Zimbabwe benefit as UK schools return?

UK: As of Monday 8th March, schools across the United Kingdom have been returning to classroom learning. Some schools however are having a staged/staggered return, largely to accommodate the high level of Covid testing being introduced. Also, exam classes are being prioritised in this phased return, with many students still learning from home at least some of the time. Masks are to be worn, and social distancing to remain in force, particularly in areas where many are likely to be together, such as corridors.

Zimbabwe: As of Monday 15th March, all exam classes are returning to schools across the country. All remaining classes are to return a week later, on the 22nd March. I have not learned (yet) of any testing regimes being in place, although much preparation is being done to minimise the risk of transmission, similar to the previous return in October 2020. Emphasis was on handwashing, mask wearing and keeping distanced in the classrooms as much as possible.

UK: During the pandemic, amidst all the lockdowns, easing of restrictions and subsequent re-impositions, perhaps the area where most debate has arisen is in education. Issues have arisen about home schooling, parents becoming teachers, schools and their students needing to adapt to online lessons, the divide between the have’s and have-nots. There are in the UK many areas which are considered to be deprived poor, disadvantaged, and here many students have limited internet access and/or limited IT equiment. Trying to help those from falling further behind their better-off contemporaries has been important. With government support, a scheme to get improved internet access and also laptops to those who most need them has proved quite successful. Often done on a local level, a combination of Local Authorities, schools, charitable organisations and sometimes larger local employers, have managed to get equipment to those students. Usually it was done via the schools themselves, which made sense as they had knowledge of which students were most in need.

Zimbabwe: The pandemic has hit Zimbabwe hard, just like every other country in the world. Strains on the Health sector, the formal economy, and in partucular, the informal sector. Education has been badly affected too, with schools needing to adapt to Covid safety rules before allowing only limited numbers back in during October 2020. There is an additional dimension to the have’s/have nots divide in education here though – the rurul-urban split. Many of the rural areas struggle to have internet access as it is expensive to set up & maintain for these communities, as well as limited electricity often. Already behind because of the relatively poor facilities many in rural schools (like those at Pakati), students and their communuties are falling even further behind their urban/have’s contemporaries. We here at Friends of Pakati have been active with a partner organisation – VaTonatsa Foundation – to provide some revision booklets for exam classes. That has its limitations, though it was very welcome to staff & students at the 5 schools we helped (see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/07/11/joint-venture-back-story-and-responses/ for more information)

UK & Zimbabwe: My question is this: what can people/organisations in the UK do to help those in even more need, such as places like Pakati in Zimbabwe? Can UK schools themselves help at all? Well, once those laptops which were only loaned out are returned, can some be given to organisations like http://www.friendsofpakati.com ? Are there any which were not distributed – if so, can they be offered as well? Are there any of those who donated laptops still in a position to give some more away? Are there any individuals willing to give away laptops they no longer need/use? If so, please get in touch with us!

friendsofpakati@gmail.com

http://Twitter.com/friendsofpakati

http://Facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati

Pakati schools returning -update

Pakati schools are situated in the rural areas some 60-odd miles outside of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. They serve a hard-working community of subsistence farmers.

As schools across Zimbabwe re-open on 15th March for exam year classes, and a week later for all others, it is clear that both Pakati schools are in desparate need of help. That can be in many different ways – see further down for what you can do to help.

While that is also true of very many other similar schools in Zimbabwe, our focus here is on the schools the Author has a close personal connection to. We will further try to assist 3 neighbouring schools if funds permit.

The students themselves are keen to do well for themselves, their families and their comminity. Their parents sacrifice a great deal to send their children to school, and deserve to have as good a level of education as any in Zimbabwe – or anywhere in the world for that matter.

Having taught there myself over 30 years ago, while I appreciate the developments I saw in 2018, I would love to see so much more. I am immensely proud to have been Acting Head for two terms at Pakati Secindary school in 1991. Now I am raising funds to help acheive more developments, particularly in the provision of IT & internet facilities at both Pakati schools.

Here at Friends of Pakati we are looking for any help we can get, be it donations of money http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati donations of IT and/or school equipment, or of expertise in publicity & social media.

We also have items for sale – see https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/ for full details.

Please get in touch! friendsofpakati@gmail.com http://twitter.com/friendsofpakati or http://facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati

Pakati, Chanetsa & Mapanga schools to re-open!

A deserted Pakati Secondary school in March 2020

News announced yesterday confirmed that schools across Zimbabwe are to re-open very soon. Reports coming through say that the following dates apply:

Monday 15/03/2021 – all exam classes to return – Grade 7 (Primary) and Form 4 (Secondary), plus Form 6 (A level)

Monday 22/03/2021 – all other classes to return

A strangely quiet Mapanga Primary school in April 2020

Below are some comments from contacts, some of the Heads of the 5 schools in Ward 14.

Mr Mahachi (Pakati Primary) – “We are not yet ready, but hope we will be ready by the date. We expect deliveries of some few PPEs from our district offices before opening, and the exam class teachers will be starting on the 10th to help with preparation work.”

Hoping to see scenes of students returning, like these from Pakati Primary in October 2020

Mrs Maenzanise (Mapanga Primary) – “Here we are really good. We are running around to put everything in order for schools are opening 15 March.”

Mapanga Primary student arrives & sanitizes in readiness for class in October 2020

Mr Mawedze (Chanetsa Secondary) – “We are starting to enrol Form 1 learners today, To start preparation to for opening schools, we will put all the measures which we can to protect our learners and teachers from covid19. We will improvise whatever we can. We are doing staff development meetings so that all teachers are well equiped with the covid information .This will allow us to protect the learners and ourselves from covid19 infection as a team.”

Chanetsa Secondary school during lockdown, June 2020

Below are some more pics from the re-opening in October 2020, from both Pakati schools & Mapanga Primary – we hope to see similar pictures very soon:

Other restrictions are also being eased as Zimbabwe starts to re-open its economy. Below are the changes which are to be introduced according to reports (unconfirmed at this stage):

1. Wearing of face masks, tempreture checks and washing of hands in all public areas remains mandatory
2. Curfew adjusted 10pm to 05:30 am
3. Supermarkets open up to 7pm
4. Industry to open with strict adherence to WHO standards and national guidelines..
5. Letters no longer required for movement
6. SMEs , food markets and informal markets can reopen on condition of strictly adhering to WHO standards
7. Intercity travel, can now resume, but operators must ensure disinfection, wearing of masks, sanitisation

I also received this update from a source on 25th Feb on the Covid situation in Zimbabwe:

“Vaccination has begun to front line workers with just over 4000 vaccinated. Yersterday there were 50 new cases and 4 deaths. Cumulatively we have around 35 000 cases around 2000 active cases, around 1400 deaths and around 32 000 recoveries.”

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If you or anyone you know would like to help us to support the schools, please see our fundraising & merchandise pages:

https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/01/24/pcs-to-pakati/ and https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/

Update on fundraising!

Even during these difficult times, it is heartwarming to find there are still people generous enough to donate funds to Friends of Pakati. These have been in two main ways: donations, and sales of merchandise. Can you or anyone you know do the same? Here is where to donate:

http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati or http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati

During February, we have raised a total of £273, made up of £33 in sales of merchandise and £240 in donations. What this means is that, as of 28th February 2021, this year we have raised a total of £498. If you see our map below, the chart shows how much progress we have made towards our target of £5340. What it also shows is that we have passed our first two milestones of London and Paris on our way from Bradford to Pakati.

Bradford to London———————172———-Total——–172——–22/01/2021

London to Paris————————-214———-Total——–386——–26/02/2021

Total so far: 498 – meaning we are 112 miles out from Paris, 317 from our next target, Cannes

Paris to Cannes—————————-429————————–815

Cannes (France) to Cagliari———-318————————-1133

Cagliari (Sardinia) to Tunis———-371————————-1505

Tunis (Tunisia) to Tripoli————-228————————-1732

Tripoli (Lybia) to Sabha—————411————————-2143

Sabha (Lybia) to Abeche————–902————————-3045

Abeche (Chad) to Yalinga————-532————————-3577

Yalinga (CAR) to Kisangani———-435————————-4012

Kisangani (DRC) to Lubumbashi–796————————-4808

Lubumbashi (DRC) to Ndola———120————————4928

Ndola (Zambia) to Harare————367————————5295

Harare (Zimbabwe) to Pakati———45————————5340

Pakati

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See our up to date financial situation here on our page https://friendsofpakati.com/income-expnditure-monthly-information/

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Merhandise – latest happy customers!

Hopefully we will have more satisfied customers in the near future👍

News, Good News & News of Things to Come…

Video

I have begun discussions with a friend of mine who is a freelance journalist, plus editor and content provider for video. We discussed issues around a strategy, content, shorter & longer pieces, a mixture of things really. What we will need will be things like footage from the schools (as long as relevant permissions are granted) and/or around the area, introductions to key people, explain about the project, various different topics, maybe a collage or two. Mostly it will require content which will encourage people to support us through donations, sale of merchandise, and participation in our ongoing challlenge for 2021.

http://Facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati

http://Twitter.com/friendsofpakati

New for us will be a greater online presence, maybe places like Instagram, YouTube and perhaps Google Ads. I am looking for help & guidance to market Friends of Pakati across these and our existing social media pages, on both Twitter and Facebook (see above). If you or someone you know has expertise in social media marketing please get in touch.

Donation

I am hearing from someone who wishes to remain anonymous about a new donation – possibly around £200.00 – coming to us very soon, perhaps as early as tomorrow, which is fantastic news for Friends of Pakati! The individual concerned has specifically asked that I tell absolutely no-one, nor can I publish their name, age or background in any way, nor my connection to them. So, I hereby make the commitment to the donor to respect their wishes.

Should you, dear reader, or anyone you know, also be kind enough to donate to us, please use either of the following:

http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati or

http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati

Challenge for 2021

See below our main fundraising challenge for this year:

Merchandise

If you want to buy some of our merchandise instead, please see:

https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/

Or contact us via email: friendsofpakati@gmail.com

Things to come here on Friends of Pakati

● Updates from both Pakati schools and others in Ward 14

● Covid news in Zimbabwe & Ward 14 depending on available information

● New material to come from former Pakati student and recent contributor, Portia Nemaruru

● More about Friends of Pakati’s new improved online/social media presence to boost its reach & expand its content as mentioned at the top of this page

● Latest news on our progress in fundraising at https://friendsofpakati.com/pcs-to-pakati-check-our-progress/

One year ago…

…Friends of Pakati published a post which went on to be our most popular by some way. With a current total of 889 views, the next best is 485 – which was a follow up post about the making of the original post!

Below I have recreated that post, and added in the ‘story behind it’ one. I remember the feeling of optimism at the time…we were looking forward to another season of sporting success at both Pakati schools, and planning fundraising events to help us get more IT and possibly other equipment out to the schools that September. Corona virus was only just starting to emerge as a global threat….enjoy the post, as we look forward to the world slowly emerging from its slumbers, and our efforts to improve things at Pakati schools get back on track!

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Pakati Primary – new sports tops on show as they prepare for the Zonal sports competition

Thanks to Mr Chorichi, Teacher and Sports Director at Pakati Primary school, for the pictures and information below.

Pakati Primary school football team, with trainer Mr Gonye, seen in their new Scunthorpe United tops – Up the Iron!

In the last two weeks the Primary school have been training their young athletes for this years Zonal Athletics Competition, due on 28th February.

The trainers for the Athletics team are Mr Mupayikwa, Mr Chakanyuka, Mrs Kupara and Ms Chigumadzi (seen above)

Discus throwers above are Percy Mahachi and Moreblessinh Masiya

As with the Secondary competitions, the Zonal athletics for Primary schools will be held at St Pauls sports grounds in Musami.

Soccer captain Panashe Chinyama with the ball
Blessed Kandikita is the High Jump entry for Pakati Primary

Melgyne Chiroodza will once more represent the school at the Zonal competitions, this time at long jump

Pakati Primary school athletes resplendent in their Scunthorpe United shirts

Amazing…..the story behind our most popular post so far

Wow! The recent post https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/02/17/pakati-primary-new-sports-tops-on-show-as-they-prepare-for-the-zonal-sports-competition/ about sports at the Primary school really took off after a few shares…this blog gets an average of around 25 views per day. The day I posted this it exploded to 603!…. next two days were 151 and 174. The best post recently has had 45 views. This one is now at 860…

I know that fans and staff of Scunthorpe United have shared it, and after speaking to several yesterday at the match, the picture above of the Pakati Primary students sports teams wearing the shirts donated by the club last year was VERY popular. Below is the story behind the picture….

Back in 2018 after I first revisited Pakati Secondary school for the first time in nearly 30 years, I set this blog (and social media presence – http://facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati and http://twitter.com/friendsofpakati ) up with the aim of getting some computers to them and the nearby Primary, all from discussions with the Head of the secondary, Mr Mugove Chifaka.

September 2018

I fundraised (see http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati for details) partly by walking from here..

…to here….

Then I got donated LOTS of shirts to sell…

4 among many donated shirts for sale which raised £100’s for us

…and then more still to take to the schools, not least by Scunthorpe United!

Not just one shirt either…

but 16 of these, and a few more of these too..

All of them were packed in with the donated computers from the Stephenson Group from Leeds…

….which arrived safely in Harare, Zimbabwe….

…shortly before I did in September 2019…

…before being taken to the schools to be unloaded…

….then unpacked, and formally handed over to the schools…

….then tried on by the students….

…then finally put to good use recently!

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At this point, we included a fundraising challenge for 2020 ‘Get TIED UP for Pakati’, to get fans of Scunthorpe United to wear ties to an away game & pay towards our funds accordingly. I will add in here this year’s challenge instead..

https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/01/24/pcs-to-pakati/

https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/

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A massive thanks to the Iron – including all who work for and support the club – from Friends of Pakati! THANK YOU

What is Friends of Pakati all about?

There will be some who have not seen our blog & website, so this is designed as both a reminder and an introduction to Friends of Pakati, its vision, its history, its key people, and what further support we need in 2021.

Vision

See our vision & how it has developed here https://friendsofpakati.com/2020-vision-friends-of-pakati-the-project-continues/

History

The Author – Chris Walker – was a teacher at Pakati Secondary school between 1989 and 1991, through the UK international development charity, VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas).

September 2018

I revisited Pakati in 2018, that is when I met the current Head, Mr Mugove Chifaka (see above photo). We discussed developments at the school, and when asked what development he would most like to see, he said ‘computers’. That single word – computers – is what really launched Friends of Pakati. The actual launch, after 3 months of preparation, was on 16th January, 2019. This coincided with the 30th anniversary of the day I first set foot in a classroom at Pakati as a newly qualified teacher in 1989.

This website was created, a social media presence added, email set up, and a fundraising page was developed. There was media interest from local press & local radio in my home town of Scunthorpe, and support from many who know me through the local football club, Scunthorpe United.

A sponsored walk from Bradford City (where I live) to Scunthorpe United (my home town) before a match between the two, raised a fair amount, and all we raised by August was doubled by the Chairman of SUFC, Pater Swann.

2019 saw us deliver donated IT & sports equipment to the Schools..

..and in spite of Covid19 delaying us, we continued to raise funds throughout 2020. See what we have raised since we began… https://friendsofpakati.com/fundraising/

Present

Our current activities include selling merchandise…

…see https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/ plus a fundraising challenge…. https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/01/24/pcs-to-pakati/

..see how we are doing.. https://friendsofpakati.com/pcs-to-pakati-check-our-progress/

Future

From the vision link seen above, and the ambitious fundraising challenge, it is clear we are aiming high this year, in spite of Covid 19 and its effects around the world. Donations and sales have still been coming in, and I am hearing of more to come from a variety of sources. Regular updates are added, including here: https://friendsofpakati.com/income-expnditure-monthly-information/

The current plan is still to go ahead and visit later this year to take more IT equipment and other items to benefit the two schools. Our vision inlcudes trying to get internet connection (probably via Satellite) to the schools and surrounding area. There is also the possibility of getting help to 3 other nearby schools if funds permit.

Any donations to either http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati or http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati

Contact us via our important links – https://friendsofpakati.com/important-links/

Around the website

There are a number of other fascinating pages here on the site, including school histories (https://friendsofpakati.com/pakati-secondary-school-2/ and https://friendsofpakati.com/pakati-primary-school/ ) and profiles/stories of people conneted to the two schools here: https://friendsofpakati.com/meet-pakati-people-profiles-and-success-stories/

People behind the scenes

As with many ventures, behind the scenes there are several key players supporting Friends of Pakati. Below are the ones most involved, the driving forces, including the Heads of the two Pakati schools, the local Councillor, two former students of the schools, another former teacher like the Author from the UK, and an important employee of the main donor organisation for IT equipment, https://www.stephensonpersonalcare.com

Mr Mugove Chifaka, Head of Pakati Secondary school
Mr Ambrose Mahachi, Head of Pakati Primary school
Alderman Israel Maliki, Councillor, Ward 14, Murewa District
Bothwell Riside, former student of both Pakati schools
Lorraine Mapuranga, former student at Pakati Secondary school
Debbie Chadbon, former teacher at Pakati Secondary school
Stuart Pine, IT Manager, Stephensin Group Ltd

There are of course too many others to mention who have helped & continue to help us, with their stories, their donstions in various forms, with their help to publicise us on social.media, the internet, radio & press, as well individual word of mouth. THANK YOU ALL👍