By Elita Chikwati Recently in Kanyemba
The Mariga community in Kanyemba has bemoaned the shortage of schools in their area which is fuelling poverty and childhood marriages. There are few schools in the area. In some cases pupils walk for up to 10 kilometres to get the nearest school.
Most parents argue it was not safe for children to travel long distances to school as they risked being attacked by wild animals.
Most pupils do not go to school and end up getting married early.
Some parents are not employed and are unable to send children to school.
The parents said they pay $15 for primary school while others pay $50 for children in secondary school.
A volunteer, Mr Brighton Kafanja of Mariga Village, has come to the rescue of the community.
He is offering Early Childhood Development lessons to the children in the area.
Mr Kafanja said he was not trained and had also failed his Ordinary Level examinations.
“I realised that as long as the Doma people are not educated there can never be any meaningful development in this area. For instance, most of the children can not read or write and cannot be employed in the tourism sector which is provided by this terrain.
“I grew up in this environment, but I do not want to see the people suffering and I feel teaching them (children) to read and write is the only way to help them,” he said. He teaches three classes of 235 pupils whose ages range from three to 18 years.
He said the children who attend the nearest school which is 10 kilometres away only do so for two terms as they cannot cross the river during the rainy season. “The other problem is that the parents are also not educated and do not encourage their children to go to school.
“Instead, they send their children to their fields,” he said. He said a school which had been constructed in Mariga was condemned because it did not have proper ventilation.
“The classes are not ventilated and the desks and chairs were also of metal, ” he said.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education could not deploy teachers because the school was condemned. After completion of the new school we will have qualified teachers,” he said.
Cde Karoro said Mr Kafanja was doing a good job and there was evidence that the children were learning.
“The teacher is not paid, but he is doing good job. We hope the new school will be completed early so that our children will have access to quality education,” he said.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa said it was important that children go to school.
She said while Mariga Primary School was condemned, it was not wise to destroy the structures already in place.
” We shall engage Government to see how the structures can be improved to ensure ventilation,” she said. She encouraged parents to educate their children for them to have a brighter future.