Whetting children’s appetites for aviation


Most children realise who they are and what they can do in life after completing their Ordinary, Advance or college level of their education.

This is because at the early stages of their education they are not enlightened on various carriers they can choose in future.

In view of the need to have the children alerted on the merits and demerits of various carrier choices, an organisation called Junior Air Friends Aviation Dimension was formed in 2007 in Bulawayo.

The formation of the organisation was meant to enlighten both secondary and primary school children on the operations of air and to take them through various tourist attractions, monuments and museums.

This is meant to enable the children to learn about the practical operations of the institutions and machinery such as air crafts and bouts.

In an interview, the chief director of the organisation Jabulani Mthimkhulu Hadebe said his organisation is a young people’s institution.

He said it was formed to practically orient children at primary and secondary schools about various carriers at a young age in efforts to influence carrier choices by children at a tender age.

He said the organisation’s main focus is in the bouts and airplanes operations including the air flights control stations at airports.

“We have engaged all primary and secondary schools here in Bulawayo in our programmes. We have taken some children from all schools in Bulawayo to various places in the country on educational programmes. We took them to various airports, Gweru Military Museum and monument and various lakes to show them how the aircrafts are operated” said Hadebe.

He said at Gweru Military Museum and Monuments the children are shown the air crafts that were used during the war and the other old model air crafts.

This was to ensure that children are enlightened on the current and the previous machinery used and shown the technological advancement in comparison.

He said officials at the institutions are also cooperating in the programmes by showing the children how the machinery works and explaining a lot of issues in relation to their operations.

“Just imagine a child sees how the airplane is controlled at airport control station in a television. This is not enough to influence someone to like such a job because the person would be seeing it from a distance.

As we take them inside the control rooms at air ports children start developing some interests of being airplane controllers or pilots in future and that enables them to learn with a focus and passion of what they want to be in life” said Hadebe.

Hadebe said the departments of Tourism, National Parks and Wild Life and National Museums and Monuments are the major sectors that enable his organisation to successfully conduct its programmes.

He said they assist them with expertise knowledge and allowing the organisation officials and the children to enter their premises during programmes.

“As part of our programme, we will be conducting a quiz show competition in Bulawayo as from the beginning of next term. The competition will encompass only the Bulawayo province and sometime next year that is when we will go national with the show”

“We have donated 20 television sets to 20 schools in Bulawayo to enable children to watch the television sets in preparation for the quiz show. This quiz show is supported by Civil Aviation and National Museums and Monuments with much emphasis on aviation awareness” said Hadebe.

He said initial the competition was supposed to be featured on television but due to funds shortage, it will not.

He said the competition will start at inter schools, go to inter district and the winning school at that level will be a provincial winner and this will be done in a month long time.

Hadebe said the vision of the organisation is to serve the community by constantly endeavouring to develop an interest in aviation in general and encourage members to have an active interest in aviation throughout life.

“We develop the quality of leadership, self reliance and initiative. We develop character, good citizenship and love for our community” said Hadebe.

The organisation’s offices are currently found at the Bulawayo Public Library. Hadebe who is the founder member of the organisation said they have established a pilot phase in Harare and are yet to go national with the programme.

He said the Minister of Information and Publicity Webster Shamu has shown interests in the programme and has pledged to assist in all the initiatives in a government minister capacity.