Zimbabwe’s summer is at its most lush, the rainy season has been good, and maize planted at the end of 2020 is growing well. Hopes for a bumper harvest are high throughout the country. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe has not escaped the second wave of the Corona pandemic, which has been hitting the country hard since Christmas and the beginning of the year. The figures as per 28.2. are: 36,089 cases and 1,463 deaths. The strict 30-day lockdown imposed by the government at the beginning of January was extended first until 15 February, and then until 1.3.2020. Only the most essential business and trips outside the home have been permitted. Shops are closing at 4.30 pm and a curfew is in force from 8 pm until 6 am. Schools are still closed, meaning sadly that term I/2021 will be very short.
Results of Primary School Grade 7 final exams 2020
At last the day came, and on Saturday 6 February, Grade 7 results were published. Nationwide the standard had dropped by around 10 percentage points, the pass rate for all subjects being 37.1% (2019: 46.9% and 2018: 52.1%). Dzikwa Trust’s pupils passed all subjects: Congratulations – Makorokoto!
The pupils were tested in five subjects. The highest possible mark (=unit) for a subject is 1 (excellent = 1, very good = 2, and so on). The best results therefore is 5 units. The top ten Dzikwa Trust pupils were: one girl and one boy, each with 5 units; three pupils with 6 units and five pupils with 7 units.
Many thanks to sponsors who have promised to support their children through the 4-year Junior Secondary stage up to O-levels. Results are available here.
The current education situation and Dzikwa Trust’s future moves
Due to the corona virus the school year hasn’t got off to a normal start. Senior and Junior Secondary pupils sitting for their final exams in 2020 (O-levels and A-levels) continued their exams in January-February 2021. We have been informed that O-levels exams are now being marked.
All other classes will have to wait till the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Last year Dzikwa Trust organised a lot of extra lessons at the Activity Centre, both in small groups face to face with teachers and in the IT lab using the Ruzivo e-learning platform. As of 8 February 2021, all pupils sitting for finals have been given extra lessons again at the Centre. Due to the numbers of small groups of socially distanced pupils, the facilities of the Activity Centre are at capacity.
Seppo has been busy on the technical side. For years he has dreamt of having a good projector in the Activity Centre. Now, with projector bought with grant through the Australian Embassy, his dream has come true. He had the projector fitted to the ceiling, and it is capable to project images onto a 2.16 x 3.82 m screen on the back wall. With social distancing in place, there will be room for 30 children in one session, but at normal times for as many as 200. The dining hall’s own network connection guarantees access to e-learning material. We have good loud-speakers, and the images will be clearly visible on the back wall. But, as the saying goes – ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ – so we’ll make sure that there are film shows on the agenda as well.
Activity Centre January-February 2021
The Dzikwa Trust kitchen provides lunch for the children everyday except Sunday. The children wait in line, all wearing masks and carrying their own bowls. Numbers appear to have increased again due to the lockdown and at the end of the first week in February the kitcen was preparing 700 take-away meals a day. More then 400 of the hungry children aren’t in our programme. We’re expecting extra support of around €2500 from the UK; so far we’ve only received €1000 from Finland. With salaries included, the monthly cost of the kitchen is €5000. Just to remind you, the food support bank ref. no is 1038.
Purchases of school supplies: The new school term has been keeping our procurement officer Priscilla busy. Dzikwa Trust has bought a large number of text books in all subjects for extra lessons as well as school uniforms and other normal school supplies. These will be distributed to the children once schools open their doors again. What are most in need are the tools for e-learning, that is, basic smartphones and laptops.
New recruits and children without sponsors: At the end of each year children finishing school leave the programme and we recruit eager new ones in need of support to take their place. Levita and Seppo have interviewed over 70 candidates in small groups, whittling the number down to 30, who have joined our programme. Last year we didn’t manage to find sponsors for all the children, which means that we currently have 54 children without sponsors: 39 in primary school and 15 in secondary school.
Now’s the time: you, too, can sponsor your very own child. You’ll be able to follow the child’s daily life at home and at school. Your action will have a direct impact on the direction that the child’s life will take. With your help, possibilities will become realities.
Annual sponsorship fees in 2021 as et by the Society’s AGM:
Primary school €420, Junior Secondary €540 and Senior Secondary €720.
You can always pay the fee in instalments that suit you best.
The dedicated fundraising €-account in Finland is: Zimbabwen Aids-orvot ry, Nordea Bank, FI76 1745 3000 0616 40,
and in UK our £-account: Zimbabwe Aids Orphans Society, NatWest, A/C no 87011212 and in IBAN GB77 NWBK 6004 0287 0112 12
Reforestation and food security project
The good rainfall has been most welcome for both tree planting, seedling production and horticulture. By the beginning of February, our Dzikwa Trust team had planted 8000 eucalyptus and 1000 other varieties, e.g. Acacia and Red Mahogany, thus meeting its annual targets. Two of the new greenhouses we opened last year have been closed for maintenance. All the old tomato, cucumber and pepper plants have been cleared out, and the growing medium has been renewed and fertilised. The team have now planted 800 tomato seedlings, and 100 red and 100 yellow peppers in one greenhouse.
Introducing Marikaisa and our upgraded membership register
In summer 2020 wetransferred our membership register to FloMembers, a web-based program run by the internet marketing service FloApps. At the same time Marikaisa Niskanen assumed responsibility for the register, accounting and as our treasurer.
The register holds the following information:
- members’ details: name, address and telephone number, place of residence, email address, membership transaction history
- sponsors’ details: name, email address, other billing address, sponsored child’s name and class, sponsorship transaction history
- other contacts: name and email address for newsletters
The register complies with the general data protection regulation (GDPR) of the EU.
Our aim is to ensure that the register is always up to date and that invoicing and payments are fully automated. The reduction in manual data entry will save on the Society’s administrative costs.