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Tsholotsho community build own Zibalongwe Secondary School

by Staf reporter
12 Nov 2018 at 16:25hrs | Views
Tsholotsho rural district residents at large face serious life challenges which include poverty, crime, unemployment, and a huge number of teenagers who drop out of school from as early as Grade 5. This can no longer be tolerated in our modern society. Zibalongwe Primary School was established in 1933 in Tsholotsho under The Salvation Army Church Missions. This primary school is one of the oldest schools in the area although it remained without any further development when the other schools established later were upgraded, and now have secondary schools. Zibalongwe Primary School is approximately 32KMs from Tsholotsho Growth point towards the west about 16KM before Sikente.

Over the years, students have been walking and cycling to the nearest secondary schools and this arrangement greatly disadvantaged students who failed to perform better at school because of long distances to the learning centres. Teenagers, especially the girl child have been abused along the way and teenage pregnancies seem to be still increasing at an alarming rate despite efforts undertaken to address this. School drop-outs especially on the boy's side have also been on the increase. Crime levels involving the youth have been on the rise, violence and substance (including drug) abuse is negatively affecting the stability and growth of the society. A report on Tsholotsho south Constituency done by The Parliament of Zimbabwe in 2011 concur with this finding that in the district, fewer boys enrol at secondary schools as compared to girls. One of the major causes of this bad trend is the distance travelled by students to Nemane SDA Mission Schools approximately 11KM and Sikente Secondary (+13KM).

Through this project proposal, it is vital for the ZSP Association to highlight to all stakeholders involved in community development to note that the number of orphans in the district has ever been on the increasing. Most of the affected children find it difficult to go to school as they could be staying with their grandparents who are no longer economically active to fully support their needs. Due to the HIV and AIDS scourge, most children are orphaned. This automatically translates Zibalongwe area to a special area of focus where education has to be offered at the least cost possible to ensure that these vulnerable students get the best in education.

Parents from the local community, most of them resident in South Africa; having considered that education is key for the success of the area have over the years been so keen to ensure that their children learn and don't rush to South Africa before fully studying but this has been a great challenge. Having tried out many options, the community through the Zibalongwe Secondary Project (ZSP) Association has decided to spearhead the establishment of Zibalongwe Secondary School in the year 2017. The government through its various departments has been engaged formally and the Zibalongwe Secondary School opened its doors to students with effect from 10 January 2017, this is almost 100 years after the establishment of Zibalongwe Primary School.


Realising the need for sustainable life transforming development in our local rural area; the community decided to launch Zibalongwe Secondary Project (ZSP) as a community driven initiative to spearhead development of the secondary school at Zibalongwe. ZSP is a community- based association that was established in September 2015 in South Africa, JHB by a group of Zimbabwean citizens from Tsholotsho Rural District with a vision of promoting education in rural Tsholotsho specifically at Zibalongwe Area. The Association has approximately 160 members in South Africa, the bulk of them come from Zibalongwe in Tsholotsho District. Most of these are engaged in menial jobs down South Africa but do not want their children and next generations to be like them and believe education is the key to the success of the community. Funding and donations towards ZSP so far are collected from member's subscriptions of R50 per month towards the Zibalongwe Secondary School establishment. There are two Committees, one in South Africa and the local one in Zimbabwe (currently the Secondary School SDC). The South African wing mobilises funds from members whereas the Zimbabwean wing (mainly comprised of the parents and elderly) provide general labour vital for the construction of the new school. (For more information on the ZSP structures, see Annex A to this project proposal.)


Through the involvement and mobilisation of the community at large, the ZSP Community Association has the following objectives to the Zibalongwe Rural Community in Tsholotsho District, Zimbabwe;

1. To spearhead, promote and facilitate the construction of a new community driven secondary school at Zibalongwe area under the guidance of the Tsholotsho Rural District Council, the responsible authority and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education among other authorities.

2. To reduce the abuse of teenagers especially the girl child due to exposure as a result of long distances to the nearest secondary schools along the way to and from the distant schools at the same time promoting the empowerment of the society through educating the girl child. "Globally, girls are especially disadvantaged--right now, 130 million girls are not in school worldwide, and millions more face barriers to staying in school. Yet we know that when girls are educated, their families are healthier, they have fewer children, they get married later, and they have more opportunities to generate income." (USAID 2016).

3. To eradicate poverty by advocating for education in the rural community through a practical approach that involves all community members. Our belief is that education is a key tool that will enhance sustainable community development leading to the transformation of livelihoods in Zibalongwe community and beyond.


Through this document, the ZSP Community Association and the locals at Zibalongwe rural area hereby are requesting assistance (financially, technically and anyhow) from your organisation in line with the details availed here in below. Your organisation can intervene and participate in this community project through any kind of assistance ranging from but not in any way limited to;

o construction of the learners' classrooms, staff cottages etc.

o procurement of school furniture and equipment,

o provision of school textbooks, stationery and any other educational requisites, o school fees and tuition aid,

o career guidance to our students, the community and;

o any technical expertise that will help the local community to establish a modern learning facility in a rural setup at Zibalongwe area in Tsholotsho district.


To kick-start this massive developmental project in 2017, Zibalongwe Primary School, allocated one classroom block for Zibalongwe Secondary School. The enrolment of the students has been done and over one hundred and forty students have already enrolled meaning that come 2020 we shall be releasing the first batch of O' Level candidates from this new school. The Ministry of Education has allocated five staff members (including the School Headmaster, Mr. Ndabezinhle Moyo) towards the new establishment. The teachers are currently staying at Zibalongwe Primary School premises. Learning has since started in this new school with Form 1s and Form 2s already registered.

The locals are currently busy with the foundation of the new classroom block which is at slab level. Much of the material has been sourced by the local community although the roof has not been procured. Student and teachers furniture is currently one of the major headaches that the local leadership is facing as some students are sitting on the floor. The situation is really not good on the ground on that aspect.


1. Finance and funding towards the construction of the new school facilities, the procurement of school textbooks, furniture and fittings so that the school becomes a modern learning centre capable of transforming the lives of rural students who are able to compete equally with students in urban setups.

2. The primitive negative attitude towards education that is on the ground in our society poses a threat that equally needs full commitment by all stakeholders advocating for sustainable community development. Education is not yet fully prioritised as key to sustainable development and this problem can be eradicated. Our motto as ZSP says "TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT" and ZSP believes that a proper full engagement of all stakeholders in development, both government, non-governmental and the private sector will produce results for our society.

3. There is no adequate furniture for both teachers and learners and the situation is really unbearable at the new school currently, urgent interventions on this issue are most welcome.

Apart from the school construction and equipment issues; other challenges include but are not limited to the following;

 Lack of funding towards education of the students (tuition fees, school uniforms and stationery particularly for the girl child. A survey conducted by ZSP community association during the period 12-19 January 2017 in conjunction with the Zibalongwe Primary School teachers targeting the students who excelled in their 2016 Grade Seven examinations revealed that most of these had serious challenges in proceeding to form one chief being finance and other family background related issues.

 The attitude of some members of the society especially the uneducated elderly towards school is inhibiting progress as these will prefer to keep their grand children at home instead of sending them to school citing fees challenges among other things. Some students are alleged to have deliberately refused to attend school from as early as Grade 5 with the grand-parents not doing much to send them back to school.

 The bulk of the potential students are mainly orphans; some stay with grandparents who are economically unproductive, others do not even know their fathers and some only taken care of by their single mothers; some of them widows. Most families are just defragmented and under a lot of stressing conditions making it difficult for many to attend school.

 Poverty levels due to lack of basic education and drought are high in the district and this has a negative effect to scholars. Most families rely much on relief aid rendered by NGOs mostly.


1. The ZSP Community Association in the year 2016 mobilised funds from the members of the community towards the purchase of 20 single desks and 20 standard chairs ahead of the commencement of classes in January 2017 at Zibalongwe Secondary School.

2. The community has started the construction of the first classroom block which is currently at window level (12 October 2018, see picture below), much of the material excluding the roof has been sourced and delivered on sight through local community efforts. Our major need and focus now is to raise R100 000.00 towards the roofing materials of this classroom.

3. The local community mobilised funds, purchased cement, provided labour and moulded over 30 000 bricks for the construction of the first classroom at Zibalongwe.

4. Labour for clearing the new secondary school site and perimeter boundary has been provided by the local community on a rotational basis from village to village.

5. In the year 2017, the ZSP community managed to raise over ZAR 68 000 from the monthly donations from its members and other community based fundraising efforts.

6. On a continuous basis, the ZSP Association continues to engage various stakeholders and the government in ensuring that there is progress on the ground regarding the new secondary school in the midst of all budgetary and finance challenges, inter-alios.

Source - Zibalongwe