Grand Circle Foundation Announces Support of a New School in Zimbabwe
They are a study in contrasts, the two schools Grand Circle Foundation supports in Zimbabwe. Travelers who have experienced OAT's Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Namibia & Zimbabwe Safari adventure are probably already familiar with the Ngamo Primary School in Bulawayo, our partner in Zimbabwe since 2004. Over the years, the Foundation has donated $78,936 to the school, for improvements that range from repairing classrooms and building new ones, repairing flooring, and replacing roofs to providing new school furniture, books, and other supplies. "The school needed support and we were fortunate to be in a position to provide it," says Roger Clulow, OAT's Regional General Manager in Africa.
Visits here over the years have inspired many travelers to donate to the school on their own. Among them is teenager Kristina Tester of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who was so moved by her visit and impressed by her then-eighth-grade peers, she raised $10,000 toward a scholarship account on her own initiative upon her return home.
Now, another school on the path of Ultimate Africa has been tapped for Foundation support: the Ziga Primary School in Zimbabwe. "The difference between the two schools is night and day," says Maury Peterson, Vice President of Grand Circle Foundation. "Ngamo looks fantastic and has many more resources due to Grand Circle Foundation support. But we are starting from scratch with Ziga. The buildings are falling down, and there are no books or supplies. Fortunately, there's a passionate headmaster at both schools."
The Ziga Primary School's "wish list" is a long one, with the #1 priority being simply feeding the children throughout the school year. According to Moses Chilufiya, the school's Headmaster, next on the list is providing an incentive for teachers to stay with the school when the government is unable to pay their salaries. "A school without teachers is like a ship without a sail," he says. "We have to educate our future leaders."
Desks, chairs, benches, and lap desks for children to use when sitting on the floor are also on the list, as are such basic school supplies as textbooks, pencils and pencil sharpeners, erasers, pens, crayons, glue, manilla boards, and markers. Add to that the vital construction needs that the Foundation has identified—such as new classrooms, toilets, and teacher housing—and it's clear that the school is in dire need of support and funding.
Traveler donations are important to fulfilling the Foundation's mission at Ziga. Already, one familiar name has stepped forward to help. Having established a scholarship at Ngamo, young Kristina Tester is now turning her focus to Ziga and has already raised $4,000 for the school.
Our partner in Zimbabwe, Wilderness Safaris, has been helpful in channeling traveler contributions to the Ziga Primary School—and because we charge no administration fee, 100% of all donations to Grand Circle Foundation on behalf of the Ziga School go directly toward fulfilling Headmaster Chilufiya's "wish list."