I really would like to talk about the state of things at Pakati schools, and broaden the help this website/blog can try to bring to both Primary and Secondary schools. Take a look at the photos in this post, and read the text please.
Pakati Primary and Secondary are typical of rural schools across Zimbabwe. Relatively large class sizes, lack of facilities, minimum state funding, a local community of subsistence farmers whose income are unstable and often badly affected by inconsistent weather patterns. Reliant on school fees for basic materials, these schools often struggle to provide necessary equipment such as books, desks or items needed for practical lessons. However, whatever limitations there are at Pakati and many similar schools, there are some very strong positives to mention.
Firstly, the dedication and hard work of the staff cannot be denied, even when delays in salaries being paid happen, or the economic hardships in Zimbabwe mean those salaries are relatively low. Many teachers grow crops to feed themselves.
Secondly, the students themselves are highly motivated to do well in their classes and exams. They are well aware that success here can help them escape a difficult life.
Thirdly, the attitude of the parents and local community towards education is also a very positive one. They are very supportive of the schools where they can, and welcome developments aimed at improving the level of education Pakati students are given.
These are schools which need some help….with things such as computers (which I am involved in providing,) but also with books. Equipment. Desks. Decoration. Maintenance. Sports equipment. Parents provide what they can but it is difficult sometimes. I see this now as a LONG TERM project to try and support these schools to provide a better standard of education. I know the students can get better results if they have a better educational environment, I have seen students coming out of Pakati with 5 GCSE/O Levels. What could they acheive with better equipment? Books? IT? Well maintained buildings? Proper equipment? Access to support and deve,opment for teachers? Let me tell you. As well as any student anywhere.
1. Sports – disappointment for Pakati Secondary school in the District football competitions. Two games played, against Kambarami and Chenhuta, were both 2-0 losses. These two teams actually made it to the tournament final. Full report and pictures still to follow soon.
2. Football shirts. I have been given a number of football shirts, and have just taken them to Simon, my friend who is a collecter and trader. He has already started on getting interest from people he knows, and informs me that a number of them could raise a decent amount, a couple in the range of £50-60 each. All funds raised will go to http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati
3. Signed picture of Scunthorpe United from several years ago, apparently is going to be auctioned in the near future to raise funds for http://friendsofpakati.com and I believe there may be other items available too.
Left to right: Stuart Pine, IT Manager at Stephenson Group; Chris Walker, founder of http://friendsofpakati.com ; Richard Musgrave Marketing Manager at Stephenson Group. Photo by Tom from Stephenson Group, taken at their premises in Horsforth near Leeds, West Yorkshire. Stuart can be seen holding one of the seven donated computers.
Football coach Mr Magabaza (seen below) has been discussing tactics and formations – I am told he is going for 4-4-2 – for the team in tomorrows District competitions, which are being held at Chemhondoro High Scool, a journey of around 25km.
Much more to follow at the weekend, including a full report and pictures from the tournament.
Back in January 2019, Stuart Pine (IT Manager, Stephenson Group) heard my interview on BBC Radio Humberside’s Sports Talk programme on his car radio, on his way home from work.
He got in contact with me by email, saying he thought the company could donate some computers to me for Pakati Schools, as they were in the process of upgrading their IT systems.
Today, Wednesday 10th July 2019, saw me visit the company and meet Stuart for the first time. I also met the company’s Marketing Manager, Richard Musgrave, and photographer Tom who took pictures for their forthcoming publicity.
Once I get the publicity material I will post another blog with full details.
The promise of some computers finally came to fruition today, and I have collected the 7 PCs , 3 monitors, 7 keyboards & box of cables, mice and a webcam. I now have them stored, and will be contacting someone about organising shipping to Zimbabwe in time for my forthcoming visit later this year.
As an extra bonus, Richard has donated several football shirts, which I am now told have a good market value – they are heading to Simon my friend the shirt collector and trader to raise more funds in the coming weeks for http://friendsofpakati.com Thank you Richard!
Many thanks on behalf of Pakati Schools to Stuart and Richard and to the Stephenson Group for the generous donation of IT equipment!!! I hope this might inspire others to follow suit…