Villagers in Gariya, Tsholotsho North, have organised themselves to build a primary school for their children who are walking between eight and 10 km in an elephant-infested area in order to access the nearest primary school, CITE has established.
Matabeleland North, just like Matabeleland South has a serious shortage of schools, forcing children in rural areas to walk long distances in order to get to the nearest schools.
The prevailing situation has also been blamed for poor results recorded in the region.
Driven by the need to see their children easily access education, Gariya villagers with the help from community members based in South Africa put together some money to begin the building of a primary school in the area.
CITE caught up with the chairperson of the project, Danisa Moyo, who explained how it all started.
He said upon realising that a school had been pegged in the areas 20 years back, they looked for the plan and found it and sent it to Tsholotsho centre for approval.
“They (education authorities) said that one (plan) was very old and needed fine-tuning,” said Moyo.
“We then began putting together funds until the place was finally pegged. We also moulded bricks; we did blocks”.
He, however, said the people who pegged the school said blocks were no longer recommended for classroom blocks and advised them to use them for teachers’ cottages.
“We are busy with the cottage as we speak right now,” explained Moyo.
“We need help for sure. Anything can make a difference.”
He said they would want the school completed and opened anytime soon all things being equal, adding they were appealing for assistance from well-wishers.
“Once we finish building the cottage, we can then make a request that the cottage be used as a preschool,” said Moyo.
“We started this project two years ago. The majority of the people involved are in South Africa. We agreed that those who are at home would volunteer their labour. Those who are in South are expected to buy the building material, food for builders and other things.
The nearest school currently attended by pupils from Gariya, Moyo said, is Butabubili Primary, which is about eight to 10 km away.
“We are now trying to build Gariya Primary School,” said Moyo.
“The South African-based members of the community, upon visiting also assist with collection of water and river sand and some things needed using our trailers. We are trying our best.”
He added: “The lockdown has cost us because we are now almost on a stand still. We had builders from the SDA church assisting us as well here and there.”
Moyo added that those wishing to assist them can WhatsApp or call him using his South African mobile number: +27 835186619.