Construction of Nxele Primary School and Library

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

Education is a basic need for every child. Access to information is a right. Children in the Nxele area have been deprived of both. Most places in Zimbabwe have seen some kind of plausible development since independence. This is not the case for children in Nxele who have limited access to both because there is no primary school and just one community library which I run. There is no help from the government. The school I attended in 1994 which is 10km away remains the only option for most. This project seeks to provide both education and access to information.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

I currently run a community library where I collect pre-loved books for children in Nxele, a rural area in Plumtree, Zimbabwe. I have also partnered with the locals who contribute a certain amount of money per month to work on developing the existing creche that is more than 30 years old to build a primary school which will take children from nursery school up to Grade 7. Local parents with no access to funds help by doing manual labour including bricklaying, building, with women providing food for the workers. Currently, children in this area either have to go to Izimnyama school on foot or commute to schools in Plumtree town, in both scenarios having to do 20km a day, coming back exhausted from the commute and thereby affecting their performance in school. The local children still do not have access to quality education in an independent Zimbabwe. They also do not have access to libraries except for the one I run. This area has for long been labelled a place of people who do not like school, people who do not like education but this is due to the distance they have to travel everyday in their quest for education.

Describe the project's impact

This project seeks to give access to education to children in the area, most of whom end up dropping out of school even before completing primary level education because of the distance they have to travel on a daily basis to acquire knowledge. Nxele area, being at the Ramokgwebana and Plumtree border post poses a lot of border town (albeit rural) vices which include rape, teenage pregnancies, drug abuse, smuggling and a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Some of these children leave going for school and never come back, they skip the border into Botswana where they are taken in as cheap labour. I am also hoping to move the library from my parents’ management to the school for children and the local young adults to be able to access the library from the school. This will hopefully keep them busy, informed and entertained.

Because the project is still in its initial stages, most of the money will go towards buying building material that cannot be produced by locals. This will be in the range of R17 000. This includes cement, desks, roofing material and glasses. Part of it will also go towards buying shelves for the library that I want to move to the school. I will allocate R3 000 towards that.