Seeing hope in Zimbabwe

Let me begin by saying a humongous thank you… before I delve into this blog, a thank you to all those who have taken the time out of their hectic lives in order to spend a short time reading all the blogs that have been produced by not just myself but all those who have journeyed with me and beyond. Thanks to you the message of hope may have spread that little bit further.

Only weeks away from the trip and my memories are captured in the photographs on my wall, this is not a bad thing because it shows me that it actually happened… to remind me daily that what I saw what I experienced in Zimbabwe was real. Those memories add fuel to the passion inside me, for giving those whom I have met a voice that cannot be ignored.

Three weeks and five days was how long it took to make me change my whole perception on how to approach life. Well, if truth be told, it took me a lot less than that. Everyday I was encountering experiences that changed the way I perceived not necessarily the world, but how I could make a difference in the world. That was a big moment for me realizing that I could help to support the work of CAFOD.

So often I hear “In today’s world people its terrible that people still live like this.”
Well the reality of the matter is… that they do!  In England we are fortunate to have a voice, one which we can use if we choose so. It can be as simple as re-tweet on Twitter from CAFOD’s page, to having a chat in the school playground whilst you wait for your children all the way to hosting a fundraising event for CAFOD. All these seemingly small actions can lead to bigger things – the ripple affect.

Msipa Edwin, headteacher

Msipa Edwin, headteacher

I have mentioned the word “Hope” in previous blogs, mentioning how strong & powerful the word is to the people of Zimbabwe and in particularly a man named Msipa Edwin, a 41 year old Headteacher.  Msipa works closely with CAFOD partner Mashambanzou Care Trust, whose work is around HIV and AIDS. The Trust supports some students to attend his school

To me this man was a huge inspiration, his work and testimony will continue to motivate myself for the foreseeable future. Msipa Edwin founded a primary school in the rural suburb of Hopley, near the capital Harrare, after giving up a career in professional football his focus became education. Hopley is a recently created settlement and currently has a high crime, unemployment and low education rate.

He saw a opportunity to create change, after founding this school which has now 1400 students (4 more signed up the day we visited) and employing/training members from the community to become trained qualified teachers he told us of the difference it has made. With a core subject being education on HIV/AIDS awareness, they also teach the basics here such as: Maths, English, Science. Kieron in school in ZimThey are also teaching practical subjects such as carpentry, sewing and tailoring with the belief that they will help the young people when seeking employment. A man with many aspirations for the community he had this to say on why he gave up a career in football:
“I think I have a calling to teaching. I saw the squatters and said I want to start a school for them. Before the children were smoking, drinking and stealing. We teach practical subjects as well as academic subjects. If we purely teach academic subjects, children will seek employment but with practical subjects, they’ll have employment.”

I saw that this man was one determined Headteacher who in his spare times has had several poem books published in Zimbabwe. A man who has sacrificed a lot so that many others can have a chance, to have hope… oh and by the way did I mention the name of the school? It’s Tarriro Primary School which translates to Hope Primary School.

I have had the chance to meet many people like Msipa Edwin whilst working for CAFOD this year. I’ve witnessed first hand some of the daily struggles people go through and I aim to spread what I have heard as far as I can… and then even further.

The point I am trying to make is that we all have gifts, we all have talents.  Let’s think about using them to help others. It may not seem like you’re making a difference but you may never know how much of a impact your actions actually make.

I really appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to experience Zimbabwe and to see the work being accomplished there. I will do my utmost, and more, to spread the message as far as there are Manchester United fans in the world and then who knows?! Just remember – small stones can make big ripples.

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