Public education in Zimbabwe is not free. It is especially difficult for families in rural Zimbabwe to afford tuition as most of them have no formal employment. Most families in rural Zimbabwe survive on subsistence farming which does not allow for any surplus yield to sell and earn extra cash. When faced with a decision to feed their children or pay school tuition some parents end up making the tough decision to buy food and pull the children out of school. In some instances, children are pulled out of school to help out in the fields. This ends up keeping these families in a vicious cycle of poverty. In an effort to disrupt this cycle, we pay for tuition for each of the students in our Music and Culture program. We work with the students’ parents to ensure that they provide the students with encouragement and emotional support. We set expectations with parents and our students that each participating student has to have great school attendance, should continue to excel at school and should frequently attend music and culture classes provided by Humwe.
As we expand, we would like to provide tutoring services to these students as well as open up the tutoring services to other students in the community that currently do not participate in the Music and Culture program. This will better prepare our students to do well in the national standardized tests. There is a disparity between the quality of education that children in the village get compared to those that go to school in the city. We believe providing tutoring will help bridge that gap. We also believe that by helping these students do well academically it will create opportunities for them to attend college when they get to that age which will ultimately help them gain employment when they become adults. We believe this level of assistance will yield long-term benefits and will have a catalytic impact to the community as a whole.
Children that attend school in the village generally have no exposure to technology. To better prepare the students in Mhondoro for the future, we want to expand our program in the future to provide our students with access to technology as well as instruction on how to use computers and the internet. More to come on this topic at a later time.