A total 70 girls are attending Girl Guides Camp and learning important lesions on the growth of a girl. In one of our discussions with our Senior Nurse, the camp leaders and the older girls, we have realized that these particular girls were having challenges in dealing with their monthly cycle because of difficulty in accessing appropriate materials for sanitary needs. Some of the girls have gone to use unhealthy scraps of fabric which pose a great risk in developing infection, leading to disease and may also lead to the many forms of low self-esteem. The team in Zimbabwe says “We therefore plead for help for the girls for the provision of sanity wear. Thank you for the resolute support for the girl child.” It has been made clear that this is a priority and we are looking at solutions.
Our Boys Program Leader reports that “We now have 62 boys that participate in the Boy Scout Machapro program. Last school holiday they inaugurated the boys scout camp that saw boys coming together and learn life skills and wisdom from the elderly who graced the occasion. The interaction gave the platform for the boy child to air their concerns and many questions as they grow up. Wonderful contributions came from the elderly who gave words of advice on the many cultural dynamics and expectations for a boy in his path to become the man that he should be.”
Upper Grades - We now have a qualified Law practitioner and two female Bachelor of Arts graduates coming out of the village children who have gone through our sponsorship programs. We currently have two University graduates returning for further advanced level education.
Secondary Exam Fees - We also managed to pay examination fees for a total of 24 Form 4 students in both projects. In Zimbabwe the student’s family is required to pay a fee so they can take the exam required for graduation from grade 7 but most critically from Form 4 Secondary School.
Primary and Secondary - School begins in January and ends in December in Zimbabwe. This year we have sponsored close to 80 students within our Jangano project in Dewedzo, Rusape, and a total of near 390 Nhimbe for Progress kids in Mhondoro. We struggled to keep our older Jangano students enrolled as the school districts raised their fees to be outside of our budget – many had to leave our program.
Preschoolers - Additionally we had a total of 83 children enrolled in the Nhimbe Preschool, which includes 44 boys and 39 girls. The preschooler’s attendance has been very satisfactory overall and above the usual even though there was some cold winter weather in June through August.
Our Senior Nurse reports that, “The Donhodzo staff would like to give thanks for the continued provision of the most vital medicines that have made a huge impact and quality difference in the wellbeing of our community and beyond. Together with our health promotional approach, we are witnessing a major decline in health concerns within our communities. The importance of water, sanitation and hygiene is beginning to make a difference in the lives of many, as few are seeking major health services and primarily coming for first aid.
The main challenge has been bilharzias, which has affected a lot of school-going kids up to secondary level. The problem has been compounded by the fact that our Donhodzo center has been the only place with Praziquental tablets that can cure the disease thus putting a strain on our supply.”
Our Senior Nurse reports “We had an exceptional term in which our preschool kids were generally healthy with no reported disease outbreak, but only a few bouts of flu and cough from the harsh winter cold winds. The supply of food has been timely, constant and balanced. We also would like to commend the community residents for they have been quick to respond to all firewood issues. We have been closely monitoring our preschool kids and we are pleased that we are recording few cases of diarrhea and skin diseases, which in the past have been major issues.
After many years of waiting and negotiations, the National AIDS Council through their sister program, the New Start Center (part of PSI International), committed to partner with Nhimbe for Progress by offering mobile HIV testing and counseling services. As a first, they offered free CD4 count tests for those people living with HIV/AIDS as a tool to assess the progression of the diseases and responsiveness to anti-retro-viral therapy as well as to give advice on ways to improve the livelihood of people living with HIV/AIDS. Our Senior Nurse says, “What a great milestone in our endeavor to reach out to our community!"
Now is the time to plant one’s maize field as the rains are coming in Zimbabwe! We have spent approximately $840 to purchase certified seed for 27 families so that they can plant their field knowing that the quality will ensure a successful crop of 1-2 tons (depending upon whether they borrowed for 10 or 20kg of seed), assuming the weather is reasonable. This will be considered a loan without interest. They will repay the loan by giving the financial equivalent of maize to the preschool in 2012. We feed the preschoolers daily and the maize will supplement the other foods we grow and buy. This is a win-win situation!
A new toilet has been completed at the Nhimbe Community Center for the preschool children through the collaboration of the Ministry of Health and Environmental Department who donated 5 bags of cement for the project, the general community residents who donated pit sand, and our financial help to buy bricks and pay the builders. Yes to partnership!