Feature: Imagination comes to reality. . . as Chegutu school migrates from tree shades to modern classrooms

School children learning under a tree

THE name Zvamaida loosely translate to what we wanted, or what they wanted.

Is it coincidence or the “Imagine Rotary” mantra bridging the gaps, bringing caring hearts to the needy saw what the scholars wanted?

Zvamaida is a rural primary school in Chegutu. Learning took place under tree shades. You can imagine what it was under the October scorching heat. The May cold spell setting in wintry days, the January drenching storms — the going was tough.

No proper learning takes place under such conditions.

For the first time, the students will say goodbye to the vagaries of weather.

A milestone indeed, thanks to Hope for African Communities (HAC), who notified Rotarians of this marginalised school.

The timely intervention by the Rotary Club of Basildon Concorde (UK), the Rotary Club of Hunyani, Chegutu Rural District Council and The Rotary Foundation, the funding arm of the global philanthropic organisation, Rotary International, made the dream of a school a reality.

Prior to this, the over 300 pupils at Zvamaida Primary School had only one classroom block, with most of the children being taught under a thatched shed and trees. Touched by their plight, HAC engaged the Department of Social Welfare in the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry to assist in undertaking a needs assessment survey in 2018. The findings confirmed that the environment was not conducive to impartation of good quality education as it disturbed pupils’ concentration, resulting in a high failure rate.

The handing over of the six classroom blocks became a reality on September 29, 2022, with the Rotary International’s Mozambique-based district governor for the southern African region, Manuela Matambo-Bettencourt, paying a special visit to Zimbabwe to officiate at the handover of six new classroom blocks.

The Chegutu Rural District Council has given a nod for occupation of the new buildings with final touches being taken, just in time to bring that awesome change ahead of the rainy season.

The phew feeling was a reality with smiling students beaming with joy.

Rotary Club of Hunyani’s past president Paradza Paradza said apart from the six classrooms, more still needs to be done.

“A library, solar power, more ablution facilities, classroom, library, furniture as well as staff training to ensure sustainability of the project will see the project completed,” Paradza said.

The current president of the Rotary Club of Hunyani Agnes Madzedze spoke on the strength of unity of purpose in the realisation of Zvamaida Primary School to be fulfilled.

“Seed funding came in the form of a grant from The Rotary Foundation, supported further through crowdfunding, as well as donations from well-wishers  mobilised by the Rotary Club of Basildon Concorde,” Madzedze said.

“This is a major step towards the attainment of the government’s National Development Strategy 1 programme and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on provision of basic education and literacy,” she added.

With no money paid to anyone as handling fees, all Rotary proceeds are channelled into identified projects.

Speaking into this, Rotary Club of Hunyani Service Projects chairperson Charity Marechera said: “Such partnership arrangements, which bring together arms of government and Rotary International’s global network of partners, is the hallmark that sets Rotary apart. Almost 100% of its activities mirror the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, without exception, total funding is directed towards beneficiaries with none going to administration or other “side” expenses.

“All the co-operating partners, Rotary Clubs of Basildon Concorde, Hunyani, HAC and the Chegutu Rural District Council are excited and believe that the enrolment at Zvamaida Primary School will be boosted given the increased carrying capacity and the conducive learning environment.” 

Equipped with the correct tools for education, Zvamaida will show the difference between mere attendance and enabled learning. The pass will certainly improve given the facelift given to the school.


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