The Matopo Primary School Teacher-to-Teacher project is documented here. It is kindly being supported by ETAS (English Teachers Association Switzerland) and the Roger Federer Foundation.

Monday, June 23, 2008

good news, bad news

I'm having some trouble figuring out if the latest news about the election run-off on June 27 is good news, or bad news.
Don't get me wrong. I want a change in governments in Zimbabwe as much as anybody else does--but the reports of violence running up to the election farce were getting me more and more worried. Who pays the price in such situations? The poor, the weak, the young, the disenfranchised.
What do I want to happen? I want Zimbabwe to become a star of Africa, shining with hope, freedom, better chances for everyone including the sadly diminished wildlife which once was the most prolific in Africa. I want the children and teachers at Matopo Primary School, indeed every school in Zimbabwe, to have devoted, well-paid teachers and the necessary resources to do their jobs. I want those children to have a future when they have completed their education. I want too much?!?!?

Please join me in showing that we care about the future of Zimbabwe! Send a donation, be it money or materials, or just a message of support.

best wishes

Monday, June 16, 2008

The results of our drive have been encouraging! Quite a few people have sent messages of praise and hope, and even some pledges to donate funds for shipping the growing pile of books, paper, pens and drawing pencils which is gathering in my garage from many sources. Thank you all for your generous donations and please pass the word: the need in Zimbabwe is growing every day.

The teachers and pupils at Matopo Primary School are in dire straits from no fault of their own. Whatever the misdeeds of the colonial times, the present regime has shown itself indifferent and even hostile to the welfare of its own people--while the whole world watches, and perhaps sympathizes, it is so frustrating to feel helpless in the face of events bigger than we can control. But here is a chance to do something--hands on and direct!

I wish we could be optimistic about the results of the expected election run-off at the end of this month, but I fear the worst about the outcome. So please, if you care, let us know and lend a helping hand!

Cindy Hauert
Coordinator of the English Teachers Association Teacher-to-Teacher project, Matopo Primary School, Zimbabwe

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The 3 week challenge

If you've just landed here from Switzerland and you want to join in, use these last three weeks of school to help out.

If you are working in a Swiss school, then I challenge you to fill an entire schoolbag with school materials - and send the school bag as well!

If you don't have an English class, then that certainly is no reason to keep from helping. All the materials go directly to the school (Cindy has them shipped directly and will be going down soon to check on the school and bring the materials). Money is used for transport costs and food for the children, who have little to live on. Some are orpheans - all are poor.

Please just leave a comment and we will reply and give you all the details you need.

Thank you for helping

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How much is 100 Swiss franks?

There's a 1 Frank store just down the road from my house. The last few days I decided to go down and see what was there and whether there was anything useful to send to the kids in Matopo.
The first time I went, it was just 5 of this, that and the other - a 20.- deal. But I realized how many things there were in the store that might not be availbale in Matopo and would probably be much too expensive anyway. So I started buying things in 5s and 10s until I had spent around 100 Franks.
Above you will see how far it went. Not bad really, when you think that there are quite a few pencils and pieces of chalk per pack.

But looking at it, my son and I started thinking about what was missing.
There are no staplers, let alone staples. No clear tape or tape dispensers. Erasers are missing as are pencil sharpeners.

My son had the idea of filling his school bag with stuff and sending it all to the pupils there. Now that is an excellent idea! A school bag full of stuff, multiply that by however many you can think of, and you've got yourself a great source of materials!

In the US we used to have food drives. We would go around the neighborhood asking for cans of food for the needy. Then we'd stack them in the classroom so could see how much we had collected. It was really motivating, and I'm sure it planted a seed in many a young good-doer.

There has been some response to this challenge so far (thank you sooo much to those of you who have contributed with your comments, suggestions and motivating ideas) but I must say it falls short of what was expected. Maybe the challenge needs to be lengthened. Maybe just a bit more time is needed. Maybe I was naive.

I won't give up, though!
We're looking forward to hearing from YOU!

Cindy and I certainly hope to hear from more of you and be able to end this challenge with a feeling of success.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day 5 of the 21-Day challenge

The ETAS Teacher-to-Teacher Project

Cindy Hauert, the initiator and co-ordinator of the current ETAS Teacher-to-Teacher project, became interested in helping Matopo Primary School on a visit to Zimbabwe in 2003. Through friends in the region, the first steps were taken to make contact with the Headmaster, Mr Newman Ncube, and the Deputy Headmaster, Mr Patson Mpofu.

Cindy proposed the project to ETAS in 2006, and after its acceptance, she began organizing funding and donations of materials to the school. In October of 2007, she led a Teachers’ Day Workshop at the school, which 35 teachers from the region attended. It was a glorious success, one which she hopes to repeat this year.

Through the help of ETAS, uniforms have been provided for about 160 pupils, text books have been bought, and even basic food supplies have been given. It has all been a big help and the morale amongst the teachers has been raised tremendously.

With the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe the need has become more acute than ever. Hardly anything is available in Zimbabwe, even if the school had the money to make purchases.

This challenge has been set up by Cindy and Illya to address these needs. We hope you will be moved to assist—400 children at Matopo Primary School, and their teachers, will be so grateful.

The best thing about this project is that all donations and proceeds go directly where they are most needed—there’s no middleman taking a cut!

If you’d like to make a cash donation or collect materials for the school, please leave a comment here and we'll get back to you immediately