School gets tap water for the first time in 71 years

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Yvonne Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
ELITSHENI Primary School in Bubi District, Matabeleland North province will have tap water for the first time in 71 years following completion of water and sanitation project by the Rotary Club of Bulawayo South in partnership Rotary Club of Amsterdam.

The US$35 000 project resonates with the vision of the Second Republic of building enabling infrastructure to allow all sectors of society to contribute towards the attainment of Vision 2030.

Pupils at the school, established in 1950, walked more than 10km from their homes carrying the precious liquid for use during the six-hour school learning period.

Unavailability of water had over the years forced teachers to shun the school which consists of four dilapidated classrooms manned by seven teachers for an enrolment of 180 pupils.

Elitsheni is one of the oldest primary schools in the province and was rebuilt in 1980 after Zimbabwe attained its independence following its dismantlement during the Second Chimurenga.

The rotary clubs started the project in July 2017 which comprised submersible pump installation on the existing borehole, including two tanks, piping and stand pipes; furniture, playground equipment for ECD class; perimeter fence, development of a school garden and classroom block repairs.

The total cost of the project was US$35 705, 11.

Rotary Club of Bulawayo South president Dr Sister Angie Phiri said it is the role of the organisation to serve vulnerable communities under the adage “service above self.”

“The project is a product of business and professional relationships with international rotary partners by our members. Our role was to connect and match society’s local needs with willing international Rotary partners. It took this club an enormous amount of effort to identify needy societies throughout Matabeleland before we settled for the chosen one.”

“We developed the project proposals with full participation of the beneficiaries with a sustainability and ownership assessment. We had to do a lot of technical project evaluation and community engagement and, in particular, the staff of this school. We express our appreciation to the school head of that time (Mrs) Bongie Ndlovu, who was very instrumental in persuading Rotary to support the request,” she said.

Dr Phiri said the main purpose of the project was to serve young children whom she referred to as the future leaders.

She bemoaned the lack of electricity at the school, to power various aspects of the project.

Dr Phiri thanked the school administration and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for making the project a success.

Presenting a brief overview of the club, Engineer Alvord Mabena, a Rotarian said the 25-member club was open for anyone who qualifies.

Elitsheni school headmistress Miss Sifiso Gumbo said no words could express her gratitude.

“I’m very grateful to Rotary for the humanitarian work they showed during and until the completion of the project. I’m relieved that children can now access safe and available water sources throughout their stay at school. The textbooks will go a long way in improving the children’s learning skills and development. I’m also grateful that the ECD now has a safe place to play. I’m grateful; for everything actually.

“The garden will be utilised to generate income for the school like you requested. I know that this will be achievable with the help of our local farmers,” said Miss Gumbo.

She presented a goat as a token of appreciation to the Rotarians.

Bubi Ward 22 Councillor Thandazile Tshuma also thanked the Rotary Club.

“I have no words to express how grateful I am. For a long time, children have suffered and salvation has finally come when we least expected it. On behalf of the parents and the whole community at large I would like to say thank you Rotarians, may God expand where you have removed,” said Clr Tshuma.

Bubi Rural District Council (RDC) Executive Officer social service Mr Vuyo Nongo said he was grateful for the new security at the school.

“The school was not safe at all. In 2018 robbers raided the school and got away with a safe box which had money inside and was later recovered by police in Bulawayo’s Rangemore suburb. With the barbed wire fence unlawful entry into the school will be minimised. The fence would also prevent commoners from using the school grounds without permission. However, I promise to help them develop a community ground for leisure,” he said.

Mr Nongo urged parents and the community to guard the school property with their lives also noting that vandals resided within the community.

Present at the event was Bubi legislator Cde Sonny Key Mguni, village heads and senior civil servants in the province. — @SeehYvonne. Chronicle

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