Last year, when I was on my annual trip to Zimbabwe to select stone sculptures for my Ontario gallery, I made a visit to Kartu village in rural Mashonaland Central. I had been asked to deliver some pictures, letters and money raised by Milkweed Preschool in Peterborough to community activist Manyara Mutekani, who runs a support program for orphans and vulnerable children in the village and surrounding area. My Zimbabwean colleague, Biggie Chikodzi, and I meet with the children and community leaders at the local satellite primary school.
We are really horrified by the “classrooms” in which these 350 children were being educated. Old, abandoned, structurally unsound farm buildings with leaking roofs and homemade ‘windows’ made for a very challenging (and unsafe) learning environment for both students and teachers.
Two weeks later we returned for another visit. My business, ZimArt, has been working with grassroots projects in Zimbabwe since 2006 and two of those projects had made sufficient progress for us to move on. We were looking for a worthwhile new project to support and it seemed to have found us!
Community leaders greeted us with a request. The government had given them land for a new school and they had an approved site plan. But they had been told there was no money for construction. Could ZimArt raise the funds needed to build Maori Primary School?
Stay tuned for the answer!
In future blogs I’d like to tell you more about the community, progress made in the past year, plans for the future and how you can help.
Ste. Anne’s Spa has now come on board with the Maori Primary School project and we are so excited about what that means for these 350 children and the whole community.