Please note: This report may have been written by someone whose first language is not English. We have left it largely unedited, as this is how a sponsor would receive it.
SOS Children’s Village Bindura has 150 children under its care after 10 youths graduated to the youth home during the month of April. Youths who sat for their final examinations in 2009 have since enrolled for vocational training in different colleges.
Children are still involved in integration programmes and those with biological relatives visited them during the holidays while the Village and the Family Strengthening Programme partnered to ensure that those without traceable biological relatives join families in the Community for an opportunity to develop links outside the village. Prominent among village programmes were; the girls’ soccer team comprising children from the village and from the community. The Team has produced one player who has been absorbed in one of the teams in the local league. Two of the girls have been earmarked for the National Team. On the other hand, two of our children will be travelling to Germany then to Norway mid June, to attend Dance Festivals through the Children’s Performing Arts Workshop, a drama and dance group. All aim is at integrating the children with the community.
The SOS Family Strengthening Programme
A total of 1905 children are under support in all three Family Strengthening Programme projects. A lot of encouragement is being given to families in the Family Strengthening Programme 1 to take charge of their children’s education and contribute towards paying of school fees for their children. On the other hand, the Wayerera Satellite Programme supports a school based poultry and greenhouse while the Maizelands Programme supports a bee keeping project at the Maizelands Farm Primary School.
All the three Family Strengthening Programme projects in Bindura support well over 600 children and care givers in getting referrals through mobile clinics to hospitals. They also receive continuous training in home based care and food supplements for the most vulnerable families. 8 legal clinics facilitated by Justice for Children Trust were conducted helping children acquire legal documents as well learn how to handle other legal issues. Children continue to get occupied in varied sport and recreational activities.
40% of caregivers who received loans for income generation activities from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe have been able to pay back their loans.
The SOS Nursery
61 children are currently enrolled at the Nursery with 24 from the Family Strengthening Programme, 13 from the village, 18 from the community while 6 are on community scholarships. SOS Nursery had half capacity in the first term as parents struggled to pay US$250. A reduction to US$100 in the second term has not posted much improvement. However, on a positive note, the under enrolment has enabled a low teacher to pupil ratio, enabling educators to have more time with each child. Toddler stimulation programmes for children from the village with the active participation of mothers twice within a week continues. Power cuts and unavailability of water however continue to negatively affect our operations.
The SOS Primary School
The primary school has a compliment of 28 qualified teachers. There are 920 children and classes are large because of the high demand. Apart from the several core curriculum subjects, the school is very active in sport and prominent among these sports is cricket. Both junior and senior cricket teams play very well with four senior cricket players representing the province and one proceeding for trials in the under 13 team. School academic performance compares very well with other schools around Bindura. Discipline is improving notably. A flourishing vegetable gardening is the pride of the school. Poultry, bee keeping and rabbits are in the offing. A generator has been procured to minimize disruption caused by erratic power supplies and a borehole would be ideal to assist with water cuts as well. On the whole the school is doing fine in spite of budgetary challenges.
The SOS Secondary School
The School has 861 pupils and 46 members of staff. There was a slight decrease in enrolment compared to 2009. The ultimate aim is to reduce the teacher to pupil ratio from 1:50 to 1:35. The school continues to experience challenges in attracting and retaining qualified and experienced teachers because of lack of meaningful incentives. The school has retained its pole position as the best school at ‘O’ Levels with a marked improvement at ‘A’ Level. The pass rate improved from 57.1% to 67.1 % and the target for 2010 is to improve ‘O’ Level to 40% from 31.1% and ‘A’ Level to 80 %. While a lot of textbooks have been purchased more will be needed at all levels. For co-curricula activities the school successfully hosted the Mashonaland Central Volleyball tournament and plans to host more ball games. More equipment and uniforms for relevant sporting disciplines were purchased and still more need to be sourced. With incessant power cuts a generator was purchased early this year will minimize disruptions at the school.
The SOS Maizelands and Glen Avlin Farms
Unstable USD-Z$ currencies, the associated high production costs, lack of risk management and mitigation tactics have made the farming a high risk. Efforts to put proper systems, infrastructure and to find a partner to recapitalize and bring the farm to full productivity starting this summer season are underway. The farm will wean itself off from the National Association while resolving outstanding issues with employees. Long term relations with other strategic partners for sourcing inputs, processing and marketing of farm produce have been established. Currently, the farm is harvesting its produce (soybeans, commercial maize, seed maize and bananas) and attaining good yields considering the inputs used and the mid season drought that adversely affected cropping last year.
The SOS Maizelands Primary School
The School has an enrolment of 1008 children from the local community, 26 teachers and 4 support staff. There has been a remarked improvement in performance due to adoption of child centred approaches. Apart from classroom activities children have been actively engaged in sporting and winning prizes in various categories. Owners of the farms around the school have promised to partner the school and ensure fees for the children of their employees are paid. Water system toilets have been constructed at the school and floors to some classrooms have been redone. The school also has been involved in bee keeping and an apiary for housing the bee hives has been completed with the support of the Family Strengthening Programme.
Thank you very much for your continued support for our programmes!