In remote areas of Matobo District, Forum for African Women Educators Zimbabwe (FAWEZI) under the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS) Re-Ignite, Innovate, Sustain and Empower (RISE) project, established the White City Community Learning Centre that has become a second home for children aged between 9 and 14.
Some learners have to walk close to 10km to access the center. It provides a safe and nurturing environment where children can learn and grow. Despite walking distances, the children’s dedication to education is unwavering,
“The Center is more like a home for these children.,” Educator, White City Centre, Matobo District
The Centre’s inclusive approach ensures that every child, regardless of their physical abilities or past experiences, has the opportunity to receive an education.
“Some of them walk for long distances. We have one student who is disabled and another who was injured in a scotch cart accident that never misses a class,” Educator White City Centre, Matobo District
One of the learners at the Center bemoans poverty as a key driver to where she is now but is glad of the intervention,
“I was supposed to be in form 1 but I am out of school. My challenges are books, fees, and food,” Learner, White City Centre, Matobo District
A Representative from the District Development Coordinator’s Office, Matobo also shared the same sentiments and thinks community-based income generation projects can be a solution
“There is a need to come up with income generation projects that help send children at the Center to formal schools,” District Development Coordinator Representative, Matobo, District
District Facilitator, ZHI, DREAMS Program, Matobo hopes for the continuation of the project and they are strengthening relationships with stakeholders,
“We are working hand in glove with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MOPSE) and the school in the area in making sure the learners are re-integrated into formal education,” District Facilitator, ZHI, DREAMS Program, Matobo
Acting District Schools Inspector, Matobo acknowledges that the community learning Centre is not only addressing the physical challenges faced by children in these districts but also decreasing the number of unintended pregnancies,
“We welcome the interventions by FAWEZI and ZHI. We were losing a lot of pupils in formal school especially after grade 7 going into form 1,” Acting DSI, Matobo District
The impact of these Centres goes beyond academic achievements. It is instilling a love for learning and fostering a sense of community among the children.
The Intervention is a beacon of hope for children who face numerous challenges in accessing education. It is breaking down barriers, providing support, and empowering children to reach their full potential.