Reprieve for St Charles Lwanga cyclone victims

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
A TEAM of nine international volunteers operating under a German-based non-governmental organisation called Friends of Waldorf Education (FWE) last week offered psycho-social services to a group of St Charles Lwanga High School students from Chimanimani, who are currently stationed at UMAA Institute in rural Chihota.

The volunteers, who hail from seven different countries, including Zimbabwe and Chile, are helping the 34 boys to deal with post-trauma following the devastating Cyclone Idai that destroyed their school in Manicaland province in March this year.
On March 15, a mudslide tore into the school premises, destroying infrastructure and killing two students in one of the country’s most devastating disasters, which left around 500 people dead and thousands others displaced.
The boys at the Catholic-run school could not go back to the learning institution because it is yet to be rebuilt following the disaster, prompting parents to find alternative schools.

When NewsDay visited UMAA Institute in Chihota yesterday, the volunteers were employing different tactics and sessions to the boys, with some still visibly traumatised by the disaster.

FWE head of mission Moises Elosua said the trauma-therapy sessions were going on well for the boys.
“We are here to offer psycho-social support to these boys, who we all know are victims of the Cyclone Idai-induced disaster,” Elosua said.

“We are from different countries and have experts to deal with trauma-related issues, hence various sessions being done here. We are happy that the boys are in a serene and friendly environment. We are also going to train the teachers so that they continue assisting the students after we leave. We are happy with the progress, as the boys are expressing themselves in these sessions.”

About nine teachers have been recruited to teach the 34 boys who are in different classes. The boys are staying at the institute, which has full boarding facilities.

UMAA Institute director Cleopas Kundiona said he had to assist the boys with learning facilities following their tragic experiences.

“Every child has a right to education. After their school was destroyed by floods, we offered them assistance in the form of learning facilities in Chihota. They are coping well and the examination class is also getting ready for their final tests later in the year,” he said.

About 400 boys from the Catholic-run school are currently scattered across the country after they were seeded into other schools until St Charles Lwanga High School is re-built.

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