Counselling for teachers, students in Idai hit schools

Source: Counselling for teachers, students in Idai hit schools | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Belindah Mutayiwa

GOVERNMENT has rolled out a counselling programme for teachers and students in Chimanimani and Chipinge in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai and the opening of schools last week.

Following the cyclone, about 33 primary schools and 10 secondary schools were officially closed in Chimanimani and Chipinge before the end of last term.

The latest development is aimed at helping the survivors overcome the mental horrors of a disaster that claimed 125 students, three teachers and over 200 more people in the areas. The Sunday Mail has also gathered that the opening of schools last week saw nearly 90 percent of the students and all teachers, in the affected areas, attend lesson with refurbishments of learning facilities now at various stages.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said resources had been mobilised to ensure learners in Chipinge and Chimanimani access at least one meal at school.

“A psycho-social support program for teachers and learners is underway and ongoing to undo the psychological after effects of the cyclone on them,” she said.

“The Government is making plans to ensure that the affected learners receive one hot meal at school.

“In the school buildings reconstruction programme, Government will reconstruct 28 out of the 45 affected schools.

“Private players like the Latter Day Saints Church have adopted 10 schools, Buhera NOIC two schools, PetroZim one school, Presbyterian Church one school and Zuva Petroleum are in process of finalising their pledge on the number of schools to assist.”

The schools were affected by the heavy rains that were characterised by high speed winds.

Manicaland provincial education director, Mr Edward Shumba said all schools in the affected areas had managed to open at the beginning of the second term last week.

“All schools opened for term two, with the attendance of students being between 80 and 90 percent and that of teachers at 100 percent,” he said.

“The Government is making efforts to repair damaged structures. Some structures now already at advanced stages and nearing completion.”

Mr Shumba said the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavhima had led a team of officials from the Ministry to assess the situation at the schools on the opening day.

He said reconstruction of ablution facilities was taking place in 41 schools and was at various stages.

“Ngangu Primary School toilets are almost ready, Mutsvangwa Secondary School toilets are at an advanced stage and Warier Primary School toilets are fully repaired,” said Mr Shumba.

He said well-wishers are also assisting in ensuring that the schools have adequate learning material and infrastructure.

“Most students have received scholarships from well-wishers. Exercise books at Chimanimani High School were supplied by Unicef,” said Mr Shumba.

Since the disaster, Treasury has availed $4 million towards the rehabilitation of at least 61 schools.