Cathy Ryan, arrived from the UK on July 8th. Suku had travelled ahead the week before, carrying two sewing machines for the Sewing Project. The plan was to go to the village for a couple of days to see the children and pay school fees. We needed to assess how well the students were doing and assess if there were any areas that needed further attention.
The students as usual were pleased to see us.. if a little wary at first, of a newcomer. Cathy brought letters and gifts from the private sponsors, and a big case full of goodies to share amongst the schools and individuals.
All the school fees were paid, and Cathy Ryan, presented the gifts from Southwold and District Rotary (UK). Many gifts such as posters, balls, skipping ropes, world globes, torches and jumpers, were given to the four schools and students. The Southwold Rotary Club sponsor, Lucky, who attends Avoca Secondary School, Filabusi District, Matabele South. He was presented with a UK dictionary.. probably the furthest a Rotary Dictionary has ever travelled.
At the schools it was important to see how the Zimbabwe Read books had been distributed and if they were being used, it was great to see the Library set up in Avoca, and students clearly using it. One or two areas need further attention, as there is a concern that some sponsored students have given up studying some vital subjects, Science , Maths and English. This concern may need to be addressed by Phumuza Committee.
Many students, need blankets for the winter,.. 15 blankets were bought from funds by Southwold Rotary, but this may need to be a consideration for next year’s fund raising. Children and their elderly Grandparents, were struggling with the cold.
It was so lovely to meet all the students, and their laughter and enthusiasm was totally infectious. It was great fun, tooking lots of photographs and showing the students their pictures… which produced great giggles..
Suku Bailey and Cathy, then went to Phatisanani Sewing project, where the Salvation Army Women in Vumangwe had been making the sanitary pads. It was wonderful to see how well they had done, and how they had branched out into making teddies, tracksuits and school uniforms, its hoped this little enterprise can continue and perhaps grow, so that they can become self financing and perhaps even profit making and to support the school fees. Suku arranged for Mrs Ngini, to visit to help the ladies understand about, marketing, profit and general sales management.
On returning back to Bulawayo, Suku and Cathy attended the Belmont Rotary Club meeting., bringing to the Club’s attention the concerns and worries of the orphans in the Filabusi District. The Belmont Club, were very welcoming and their President Mrs Bahle Moyo, has committed to help Phumuza.
Cathy has now returned home, and has committed to try and return next year. In September/October, she plans to hold a photographic exhibition ‘Faces of Zimbabwe’ in the hope this raises further awareness, sponsors and funding.