Mwenezi Turf Primary School is located in ward 15 of Mwenezi District, around 52 kilometers due east from Masvingo – Beitbridge route, however on the ground it’s the complete opposite.
Nyangambe Turf Primary School was founded in 2003, right after the chaotic land reform program that sent people to white-owned farms in Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts. Pupils still learn under trees without chairs or desks.
First through sixth graders use mud bricks as chairs and their laps as workstations under leafless trees that drop their leaves in winter.
No season is better for students than June and July’s cold, summer’s sun, and fall’s rain.
The school only started showing signs of development in 2020 when the first classroom block opened doors to Early Childhood Development (ECD) level A and B as well as grade sevens, leaving the rest under trees. Unicef provided roofing material after parents moulded bricks and contributed money for roof trusses and other material requirements.
Turf Primary School has more than 311 students, 150 males and 161 girls, who will not attend secondary school after grade 7 due to the 80-kilometer distance to the nearest secondary school.
Bernad Chauke, speaking during a tour by Minister of State in the President’s office Joram Gumbo, said the institution has a myriad of issues that many would find hard to believe in this period.
The school’s only two blocks are not entirely functional; one has been used since 2020 and the other will be shortly if funding allow.
“During rains, all our students cluster into one class, making it difficult to teach. Each class has its own tree to teach under during sunny days, added Chauke.
Chauke said children at the school were far behind in ICTs because the school has no computer or electricity, even if they get one soon.
“Our students don’t know a computer; we don’t even have electricity. During lessons, we show them photographs of computers or a tablet if one of the teachers has one, said Chauke.
Connectivity is another difficulty, causing the school to take time to receive district and stakeholder communications.
He added that the school lacks a fence or perimeter wall, so wild and domestic animals frequent the grounds.
Chauke said the area had no health facility and the nearest was 100km away.
“There’s no hospital nearby, so health emergencies at school and in the community are tough to handle.
“There’s no way to reach the main road, despite its good condition. We ask authorities to provide even one Zupco bus so we can get services as needed.
Teachers gather under a thatched shade for meetings and to connect to the network. TellZimNews