A United States-based Zimbabwean man has constructed a private school in ward 5 Zimnyathini in Umzingwane District to alleviate challenges faced by learners in rural areas and afford them quality education.
Cecil Sibanda’s vision was to build a school in his home area and he mooted the idea to the community in April 2014.
Mlomotsha School of Excellency is Located in a 24-hectare piece of land, so far the school has three blocks, a teachers’ cottage, and an ablution facility.
The school has so far enrolled 40 form 1 with a staff complement of four teachers.
Speaking during the official opening of the school Sibanda said his experience of learning in the rural areas motivated him to construct the school.
“I grew up in this area walking the distance, I know what the children are going through for them to get an education, I know the challenges and the hunger after walking 10km, I understand them better than someone who would have come from another area to construct a school here,” said Sibanda.
“I know all the fruits found in the veld, how we used to kneel down in a river to dig up water and drink, I know how to cross a flooded river because I was born here.”
He said the vision of the school is to provide quality education to the less privileged.
“What is happening in Zimbabwe is that the quality education is received by the rich, they can send their children to well-up schools but those in rural areas don’t have access to education,” said Sibanda.
“Of course, we know that quality education is expensive but the vision of the school is to provide quality education to those who do not have money, we don’t compromise the quality.
Sibanda added that the school is going to venture into different projects as part of the income generation methods.
Currently, the school has started a poultry project.
“Next year we are going to roll out two types of boarding programs, low-cost boarding and ordinary boarding, we are aware that even if we are a bit close there are some who are still walking long distances so we are going to provide a solution to help solve that,” he said.
Sibanda added that “In terms of technology, we are going to have computers so that our children are able to acquire that quality education. This is a legacy that we are going to leave for our kids, the construction is still in progress.”
Meanwhile, speaking during the official opening, parents representative, Mollet Dube said parents are excited that their children are now walking short distances to school.
“This will help parents to be able to monitor their children’s whereabouts between home and school as the children are now learning at a close-by school,” said Dube.
Dube urged parents to give children time to focus on their school work so that the pass rate can be high and the school can be nationally recognized.
Ward 5 Councilor, Elija Nkala thanked the community members for also assisting in the construction of the school saying he has high hopes that the next President will come from the school.
In addition, a former councillor, Ellias Njani said there was need to invest in the education of their children.
“Most parents only say they have educated their children when they have only reached up to form 4 level without even checking whether they have passed or not, let us invest in our children’s education,” said Njani.
“I am happy with this school because it is a sign that people now have an understanding of education. Let us embrace this project and educate our children so that they can have degrees,” he said.
Mzinyathini Chief Gwebu also appreciated the construction of the school saying, “It is nice to have developed our area, there is nothing beautiful as developing where you were born and where you are staying,” said Chief Gwebu.