A Passionate plea for students in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is one of the many countries experiencing the impact of climate change in the world. In February, the President of Zimbabwe, Pres. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, declared a state of  disaster in rural areas hit by a severe drought as more than a quarter of the population face food shortages in Zimbabwe. This left tens of thousands of cattle dead, reservoirs depleted, and crops destroyed. These scenarios also have some impediments on the human race, as the intensity of the heat waves affect human movement. As I travel with the education department of Simukai Child Protection Program for Sexual Reproductive Health Rights awareness to some primary schools in Rural Mutare, I witnessed the effect of the drought as it is clearly visible on the parched land with dried creeks and low level rivers, and the traveling of some herdsmen with their cattle from long distances to feed and seek water for their cattle.

 The heat wave also gave me sun burns as I began to experience some sharp pains on my face whenever I took showers. The least of the problems is how hot the ground is from heat waves. Amid these climatic conditions, children have to go to school. As the Simukai Child Protection program is committed to supporting these students to understand their inalienable rights as children and to equip them with the knowledge of sexual reproductive health right issues and child abuses, I was given the opportunity to visit the Junior Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and the Junior school Development committees of some of the primary schools in Dora, Rural Mutare on a SRHR awareness campaign.

 Upon our arrival, we had the privilege of interacting with some committee members and sometimes the entire school for our SRHR campaign. To my greatest dismay, I saw some of these students attending schools or going to schools without at least a slipper on their feet, with many wearing torn up shoes and slippers.

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How are they coping up with the very hot weather conditions that are creating a heat wave and hot ground? How do they manage to walk on the hot sandy ground of their communities and schools? What is their hope, if there should be a rainy season and winter? As I stood and started to gaze at these students in such heartbreaking conditions, pondering their circumstances, I was approached by my teammate from Simukai and she asked me if I have similar situations back home in Liberia where students go to schools without slippers or shoes on their feet. I could not have bragged about my country, as it is one of the African countries on the African continent. I responded that Liberia and all other African countries have a common denominator – bad governance and poverty.

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The entire international community has declared, among other things, education as the right of children. The in-depth analysis of this right is not just the abstract but both the abstract and the concrete. In other words, a child’s right to education is not just the right to a building or the opportunity to be educated by the provision of some constructed buildings to claim that government has provided these rights, but it also includes the proper environment, with qualified teachers provided by the government or service providers. It also includes the right to necessary supports and logistics by parents and guardians to create the best condition that will enable the children to acquire the very best education. However, this is not the case for these children. Many parents living in a country with economic meltdown and financial crisis cannot afford to provide the basic support for these kids to pursue and enjoy their right to education.
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The situation with these children presents the case of the “African Child” in Zimbabwe that needs our attention as more than 84% of the citizens in Zimbabwe work in the informal sector. Children everywhere in Africa are the most affected by bad governance (Africa #1 and only problem). We as Christians and world leaders need to do more to help protect and equip the future leaders of Africa. It is about time we as people of the world be conscious about how we make decisions that will affect the future leaders.
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As a Global Mission Fellow, I am sending a passionate plea to the Christian mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and churches to help change the situation for these kids in Zimbabwe as we approach the winter. Much of the time our idea of giving hinders us from making an impact where it is needed, but not with this case. You can make a difference by providing some shoes that are no longer needed by your kids, by having churches pass on the plea for help on behalf of these kids to the parents in their congregations or to the children and youth groups to empty their closets of shoes, sandals, and slippers of which they are no longer in need. I strongly believe that such “little things” could improve the learning conditions for these kids in Rural Mutare. Please sens your support to the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, for the students in Rural Mutare using The Advance Number: 3022112. Please also read My profile to get to know more about me and my work as a Global Mission Fellow.
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Jonathan Rose II.edit
Jonathan T. Rose, II
Simukai Child Protection Center
Zimbabwe, Africa
Global Mission Fellow International,
Class of 2015-2017

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