by BERNARD CHIKETO
EDUCATION has suffered double jeopardy over two successive years in Chimanimani after Cyclone Idai disrupted learning early last year and Covid-19 forcing the suspension of schooling for over six months.
This left robbed this year’s examination classes – grade seven, ordinary levels and advanced levels learners with below normal face to face learning before the impending national examinations.
The opening of schools, while received with relief by both learners and teachers, caused huge apprehension in the face of the contagion that has claimed the lives of over a million people across the globe and sickened over 35 million.
United Methodist Church (UMC) donation of personal protective equipment and hygiene materials to 30 schools across Chimanimani came a huge boost to the safety concerns in the region that is battling hard not to lose anymore lives after last year’s tragic events.
There are currently about 230 households in tent accommodation a year after the devastating freak weather event that displaced thousands, killed 340 people with 342 still missing according to government statistics.
Humanitarian aid agencies estimations place the number of dead people at over 800.
“We were afraid that both teachers and pupils will not be safe. This donation makes the school environment safe for everyone and even if Covid-19 is in a household with a learner the school will not be a vector of its spread in the community,” Panganai Murime Westward Hall primary school headmaster said.
His school is particularly vulnerable to the spread of a contagious infection as it only has three proper classrooms with over 400 learners.
UMC with support from UMC Norway and the Norwegian government availed US$24 000 for the procurement of PPEs, hygiene materials and for an awareness raising campaign in four districts – Buhera, Mutasa, Makoni and Chimanimani, targeting communities through 92 schools.
The donations included infrared thermal thermometers, buckets, liquid soap, latex gloves, 2021 calendars and disposable facemasks which were handed over to Chimanimani district Covid-19 response team for distribution to 31 schools.
UMC district superintendent Rev. Joseph Jeyacheya said the support was in response to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call for support in responding to the global epidemic.
“As a church we will continue to support community development through our development arm Chabadza but faced with this global epidemic we have had to mobilise resources locally and from our international partners – UMC Norway and the Norwegian government, to support vulnerable communities in this hour of need,” Rev. Jeyacheya said.
Thornton primary school head Esther Sibanda said the support was timely as the schools were struggling to raise resources for the PPEs.