Shot in arm for marginalised learners

Source: Shot in arm for marginalised learners – The Southern Eye

Phakama-Sukuma Community Development Trust logo

TO assist children in Matabeleland region attain literacy and numeracy skills, Bulawayo-based non-governmental organisation Phakama-Sukuma Community Development Trust has set up six mini-village centres, which provide children with access to books.

The organisation’s co-founder Elvis Ndebele told Southern Eye that one of the projects was already underway in Tsholotsho ward 6, where marginalised children living in abject poverty now have access to books.

“For the past five years, we have expressed concern over the lack of education material for children in many of the remote areas in the country. After taking this programme to these areas, the reception has been fabulous. Villagers have continued to encourage children to take up this programme. They are so happy with this opportunity that we presented to them,” he said.

“The organisation seeks to promote sustainable development through education to achieve highly sufficient, healthy and peaceful communities. Change is brought about through a mobile library; village-based mini-schools, health, human rights and social libraries in villages, as well as setting up of online platforms for learning. We have partnered a British non-profit organisation, Kits4Causes, to assist children with books.

“This has helped us to acquire 200 kits for our centres. Through Book Aid International, we have also managed to acquire about 1 000 books for the centres.”

Ndebele said more books were needed for marginalised areas.

“There is little funding; and so our organisation has resorted to crowd sourcing to get books for the under-privileged children and to expand to other districts like Lupane.”

The project by Phakama-Sukuma Development Trust comes as the Primary and Secondary Education ministry secretary Tumisang Thabela last week disclosed that 20% of primary schoolchildren in the country go up to Grade 4 level unable to read, write and solve numerical problems.

Thabela said this during a virtual meeting with Unicef on child budgeting.