Happy Fall !

Happy Fall !

Dear Friends of Tariro,

All of us at Tariro hope you and yours are faring well during these unprecedented and complex times. For over 17 years, Tariro has worked hard to ensure the right to education for girls and young women living in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Our holistic approach provides tuition, uniforms, textbooks, school supplies, psychosocial support, traditional music and dance classes, leadership training and opportunities and more. October 11th is the International Day of the Girl Child and we hope that you will join us in celebrating this occasion by continuing to support our work.

By March of this past year, COVID-19 had reached our entire global population, causing major disruptions in all sectors of society and putting the health, wellbeing, and education of children and young people at risk. What follows is an update on the situation today, how we are continuing to support the girls and young women in our programme, and how you can help.

GLOBALLY: School closures around the world have put children at higher risk of psychological distress and anxiety, disrupting vital years of learning and education, and removing an important opportunity for social-emotional learning. School provides a safe space for youth to gather and in its absence, children have been found to be at increased risk of violence, abuse exploitation and neglect – particularly with the compounded impacts of poverty and hunger. 

IN ZIMBABWE: The situation in Zimbabwe is complicated by an already depressed economy, shortages of electrical power and water, and ongoing strikes in the medical/healthcare system within a population greatly impacted by chronic and infectious diseases. The education system is struggling to provide adequate learning opportunities for its youth or to provide consistent salaries or resources for their teachers, and reports of human rights violations. Women and children are at the highest risk for negative outcomes in this situation. 

TARIRO’S RESPONSE: Tariro has stepped up and was ready to help the 60 girls and one boy who we sponsor through these distressing times. We have mobilized to ensure the needs of our girls are addressed and that no one is left behind. Tariro’s response has been tailored towards the most vulnerable communities in which we already work. 

In the last six months, we have provided small cash grants to our families which has enabled them to buy food. We have provided food hampers and essential supplies and sanitary pads to our girls and young women. We have continued to carry out regular, ongoing phone check-ins and home visits. It has become even more evident that most of the families are food insecure and suffering from social isolation and poverty. Keeping the girls’ and their family’s well-being of utmost importance, our team has done their best to provide guidance, advice and psycho-social support throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. See below for Tariro’s response to COVID-19, by the numbers.

We hope that we can count on your help!

Some school openings in Zimbabwe were set for late September for select students, but fewer than a dozen of our students fall into this category, and the majority of our girls will continue with remote learning at home. There will be a slow rollout of school openings throughout the autumn. It is simply the case that none of our girls and their families can afford laptops or tablets to undertake, or succeed, in these online learning opportunities.  Funds permitting, we hope to provide the girls with internet compatible gadgets as well as data for regular internet connections. In the meantime, we are keeping the health and hope alive for the girls of Tariro. 

As you probably know the word “tariro” means hope and that is what we try to give, despite all the problems in the lives of these gifted but vulnerable girls and young women. 

Where do we go from here? 

Tariro will continue to support all of our girls, and we will remain focussed on their learning, emotional wellness and physical health. We have been responsive and firmly grounded in our grassroots approach to support our girls and their families. And, we need your help to make this happen. 

Your donation, however small, can and will make a huge difference in these urgent times. We ask you to please donate to Tariro. We need your support more than ever. Please join us in providing hope for Zimbabwean children by educating orphaned girls and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Please donate to Tariro today. The children need your support more than ever.

Sincerely with thanks,
Barb Roberts,  President of Tariro

Student’s Highlights 

Meet Makanaka…Tariro frequently encounters girls like Makanaka who, after both her parents passed away, was taken care of by her grandmother who struggled with sending her to school. She risked dropping out of school but, buoyed by her academic prowess, her grandmother would beg the authorities at Chembira Primary School to keep her in school. Her grandmother, despite her advanced age, would engage in menial jobs at the school to raise money for her tuition, but in most cases, this would not cover the full amount and Makanaka be sent home until they could fully cover the cost, losing out on vital education (a common occurrence in Zimbabwean schools). Makanaka was referred to Tariro by the school headmaster, the rest is history! For her Grade 7 examinations, she scored straight A’s in all her subjects, and as a current high school student, she dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Makanaka’s story is not unique, but it reminds us of the many girls who fall through just the cracks because of deep poverty.

Over the last 8 years, Tariro has supported Vimbai and throughout this pandemic. She has demonstrated hard work, innovation and creativity. To make ends meet in the Covid-19 induced lockdown, one of our students, Vimbai, who is a second-year Sociology major at Midlands State University, has resorted to popping maize corn for resale. Proceeds from her small enterprise have been used to buy internet data to enable her to access her university online lessons and to also put food on the table. The money she raised was not enough. Tariro has provided her with sanitary pads and has since the COVID-19induced lockdown, provided her family with cash grants twice to enable the family to buy food and things like hand soap.  While she relies on Tariro for support for her tuition and accommodation fees, Vimbai has not sat on her laurels and is contributing to her education and upkeep in her own way.  Since she was in Form One, eight years ago, Tariro has been supporting Vimbai with her tuition fees and other supplies.

Tariro’s Response to COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, by the numbers:

Accomplishment # Impact
Cash grants   – 2 separate grants 54 families-
Food hampers 20 families
Bi-monthly wellness checks throughout lockdown; Regular phone support 54 girls, 2x month for 6 months= 648 wellness visits
Sanitary pads 412 distributed
Academic support- pre-pandemic 60 girls, 1 boy
Education support- throughout pandemic closures 57, 4 awaiting Universities to reopen
Access to online learning 20 girls (only 1/3 of students)
At-risk of losing access to education 40 girls (2/3 of students)
Pictured here is our Social Worker, Vera at a home wellness check-in during the COVID-19 pandemic. with one of our students and her guardian.

Tariro needs your help to continue to support girls’ education and wellbeing. Please donate to today. Thank you!


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