Very often it is just one thing that can make a life changing difference to a young person. Far too many children are in need of a hand up just to live the basic life that most of us take for granted. It is too easy for them to turn to drugs or begging on the streets without any hope. One of our projects, African Dreaming, is focused on assisting children to take their studies further. By assisting them to complete their education, we know that we are giving them a future and helping to grow productive members of society. We currently have a number of students at various levels on scholarships, and in some cases, the sponsors also provide food and living costs to alleviate these youngsters circumstances.
Additionally, COVID-19 dealt a vicious blow to many families in our region and the vast majority of parents were unable to provide food let alone school, college or university fees. Online learning is only available for a very small few with access to data or equipment and schools were closed for the most part since April 2020 until the end of 2021. The Jafuta Foundation has been active in procuring any smart devices, set up a computer room in a rural school, making available a small computer room at their offices for sponsored students and developing an online learning platform for rural youngsters.
It soon became clear that more assistance was needed to combat the years of education lost during this period. To achieve this, the Jafuta team embarked on am ambitious project to create an education centre offering supplementary teaching and access to technology not normally available for most rural schools. Through incredibly generous donors, the Kubimba Centre for Education is now open and fully operational at the Centres of Hope, built in the communal areas surrounding Victoria Falls.
LIGHTS FOR LITERACY
Through the Bourke Family Foundation and Meeting Needs, we have been able to distribute over 3 000 solar study lights to rural students in 17 schools. Electrification in the rural areas is unheard of and many youngsters walk very long distances to and from school daily, arriving home in the dark. These solar study lights enable them to do their homework and studies in the evenings. We will be distributing a further 2000 lights in the coming months.
Thanks to Children In The Wilderness and Books For Africa, the Jafuta team have been able to distribute 156 boxes of books to 21 rural schools to date. We have also been able to set up a library at the Kubimba Centre for Education, open to all.
Due to freak winds/storms, some rural schools are hit hard with infrastructure damage and without the means to be able to repair. We assist where we can with helping fix damaged buildings. A lot of our rural schools have very basic structure and no budget to maintain these simple facilities. The Jafuta team, together with the students, repair and paint wall blackboards. We continue to assist schools in need, installing boreholes and improving infrastructure.
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TRAINING
With such a large population of diverse wildlife and a tourist market hungry to see and interact with the animals, Zimbabwe is always in need of well trained, knowledgeable and passionate wildlife guides and rangers.
One of the Foundation’s long term projects is to set up a School of Excellence for Field Guides. The beginning stages of the implementation of this are in progress: our first candidate for training, Bisani Ludubo, attended the NJ More Field Guide College, located within the stunning Marakele National Park in the north eastern part of South Africa, in 2017. He passed his year long Professional Field Guide training course and has returned home to do his practical training. We look forward to Bisani initiating a similar program, to what he learned in South Africa, here in Victoria Falls with the Jafuta Foundation.
Training is essential as is exposure to the international arena of conservation professionals so that our local community can learn new ideas and start to build a network on a global scale. In 2016 the Jafuta Foundation part-sponsored the Zimbabwe National Park's ranger Simon Muchatibaia to attend the IRF World Ranger Congress in Colorado, USA. Simon has been instrumental in maintaining our country's vital national anti-poaching campaign and his attendance at the conference enabled him to gain new skills and connect with like-minded professionals.