The Nhimbe for Progress Preschool has been in operation for 20 years! Wow…what an achievement! Febby Shava has been in charge this entire time and, like a good wine, is only getting better with time. I would think it would get harder as one ages (I’m recalling she is in her early-mid 50’s), but maybe one gets wiser also, learns how to delegate, and knows the ins-and-outs.
Febbie still walks 7 km to school to arrive before 8 a.m., and then back home again later in the day. She has accomplished a great deal in her 20 years and continues to hold the standards high for the early childhood development curriculum at our school, preparing these young ones for life and for the Zimbabwean educational system.
Another key person that has been there since the beginning in 2000 is our Inventory Control person, Efilda Katena. She is meticulous about keeping track of the property that belongs to Nhimbe, much of which belongs to the preschool. In the beginning we made mahewu for the children, which is a porridge-based drink that brews overnight. She would be there in the evening, and the morning to distribute flour for bread making, and then through the day to assure everything went well. She also attends MMC meetings and all functions related to the project. She is Cosmas’s elder sister, the oldest of the Magaya children, and takes her job very seriously. She survived Covid in 2020 and is looking really good in this picture, being somewhere in her 70’s.
Boys and girls learn and grow within the safe nurturing space of our Community Center grounds. The preschool buildings are several, providing meals, a library, and multiple classroom spaces, as well as a playground. This year there are around 75 students walking from the nearby villages, coming from far more than just the 6 central villages.
Our preschool is an enormous support to the entire area! Some refer to it as the heartbeat of Nhimbe for Progress, and definitely a model program for Zimbabwean preschools.
We actually do all of this on a shoestring budget. It’s the community heart involved that makes it so successful. If the economy in Zimbabwe were more stable, I would love to commit more resources, but typically it’s, “hold on to the tiger because that tail is always unpredictable”. Every time I think things are leveling out, another emergency arises out of the chaos. What makes for our stability is the earnestness of everyone involved…they live in the eye of the storm and my perception is that they handle the various crises far better than I.
Many thanks to you for your support of the preschool. Although costs have increased in Zimbabwe, just like everywhere in the world, morale is amazingly high. Preschool food, petrol prices to get supplies to the villages, and all associated expenses have continued to rise. It has been a challenge this year, and I know you also are facing the same phenomena.
We appreciate your ongoing commitments to assist us with reaching out and touching these children’s lives on the other side of the planet! They, their parents, and the entire community are so very grateful for our support as they continue to live through some of the most difficult times in Zimbabwean history.