Home / News / News archive / 2013 / August 2013 / Reading and succeeding in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe once had one of Africa's finest education systems, but a declining economy hit living standards, throwing many into hardship and limiting opportunities for children. At our three SOS Children's Villages, we help vulnerable children flourish through the very best care, education and healthcare. … more about our charity work in Zimbabwe

Reading and succeeding in Zimbabwe

Reading and succeeding in Zimbabwe

In the suburb of Nguboyenja in Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo, SOS Children is helping mothers and caregivers on the road to business success and financial independence. For some, however, illiteracy makes the simplest routine tasks very hard indeed. Now, we are acting to help budding entrepreneurs overcome this fundamental obstacle.

Reading and writing is an essential skill in running a business; vital for necessities as simple as record keeping and account management. Started in 2011, our Nguboyenja study group is helping a wide range of people, including teenage mothers and caregivers as well as children, gain a basic standard of literacy.

The group is led by Lerato, a university student and former beneficiary of our family support work in Nguboyenja who decided to give back by offering his services as a teacher. Since it began, a total of 76 people have learnt to read and write thanks to Lerato’s guidance. Many have gone on to begin their own businesses in sectors as diverse as catering, hotel management and hairdressing.

Selena’s dilemma

38-year-oldSelenawas able to start her own greengrocers thanks to the support we offered. Although the business enabled her to care for her family,Selenacouldn’t write, and this left her unable to maintain basic financial records. When asked on one occasion to produce her accounts, she simply wasn’t able to as she hadn’t been able to keep any.

Selenawas doing well from her business, selling tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables which she grew herself and sold from her yard. When she wanted to expand her business and move to a nearby shopping centre, she needed to apply for a bank loan.

Although the bank helped her with her application, they weren’t able to complete the paperwork on her behalf. It was at this point thatSelenarealised that in order to succeed she needed to learn to read and write. Thanks to Lerato’s course, SOS Children was able to help.

Selena was successful in her loan application and today, business is on the up. With her new reading and writing skills, she is able to keep a close eye on profit and loss, enabling her to make the best of her newfound success.

By bringing literacy to children, families and new entrepreneurs, we help communities flourish and prosper through new skills and business ideas. Find out how you can help our vital work in Zimbabwe...