ETAS TEACHER-TO-TEACHER PROJECT, 2007
It is with a growing sense of concern that I follow the news about developments in
I fear for our colleagues and friends at
From The New Yorker, April 9, 2007:
Zimbabwe’s inflation rate is already more than seventeen hundred per cent, the highest in the world, and the International Monetary Fund warns that it could exceed five thousand per cent by year’s end. Unemployment is around eighty per cent, and the average income is less than a dollar a day. With chronic food shortages and no medical system left to speak of, life expectancy has plunged from sixty years, in 1990, to less than thirty-seven years (the shortest anywhere), while the infant mortality rate has increased by more than fifty per cent. Not surprisingly, as many as three million Zimbabweans—a quarter of the population—have fled the country. Yet last week Mugabe’s information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, declared, “There is no crisis whatsoever in
And from The Economist, April 5, 2007:
For eight straight years the economy has been contracting; it has shrunk by half since 1999. The collapse of agriculture, after Mr Mugabe snatched commercial farms to give to political cronies, is one big problem. Lack of confidence in the rule of law deters investors. A once booming tourist industry is all but dead, with safari lovers deterred by violent repression. Most aid money stopped long ago…What has taken a decade or so to sink is likely to take a generation to get afloat again. (my emphasis)
This last sentence is one reason we can’t give up on
The other reason we can’t give up is the dozens of hand-written thank-you letters, poems, and stories which I received from Patson Mpofu, who has managed to send three bulky envelopes to me via kind well-wishers from the U.S and
“Thank you so much for the donation of Swiss francs to purchase English textbooks. We have bought English textbooks for grades 1-7, 40 sets per class. (That makes) the ratio 1-1 for English instead of 1-10 which was the case previously…We hope the pass rate will improve this year…Thanks for the uniforms for 60 girls (see photos)”
In the envelope were many letters of thanks from the children. I wish we could print all of them! Here is a typical one, from Princess Ndlovu, 9 years old:
Sadly, many of the letters and poems describe an all-too-common problem: no parents. Half of the children at
On a brighter note, a long letter from Patson describes the delivery of the English textbooks which ETAS donations provided. He wrote: “Coincidentally the 14 March (when the books were delivered) is my birthday, so the textbooks will be a very good birthday present for me and the school…We are grateful to ETAS for helping us…We are thankful to ETAS for sending material for the uniforms. On 7 March, 60 girls, all needy pupils, received school uniforms from ETAS in the presence of Mrs Sandy Paul.
How I wish I could have seen that!!
Patson and I have been discussing the possibility of my giving a teacher’s Development Day this coming October when we will be visiting
Many thanks to everyone who has supported this project so far! As you know, we collected money from the raffles at the convention in January in Solothurn, and the SIG Day in May in Wil. Quite a few friends, colleagues (including Cambridge University Press) and my students have also given money and materials towards the project. This money has already made a big difference to