Emfundweni Primary School is situated just outside of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and was first established in 1958 when a classroom block was built. In early 1990, Operation Raleigh assisted with the funding and building of another double classroom block as well as the school’s Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD). The School has five qualified teaching staff and although not their first language, lessons are taught in English and the sylabus covers approximately ten subjects at Junior School level. Due to its location, this small rural school faces many challenges, one being the lack of text books and reading material for students and teachers. Long term friend of the School, David Taylor-Smith worked with Operation Raleigh in 1990 when they built a two roomed classroom block, and in 2015 he and his family were instrumental in the refurbishment of this classroom block, which sadly was dilapidated after many years of neglect due to lack of funding, a common problem in most rural schools in Zimbabwe. With a vested interest in the continued development of this school, David and his family kindly initiated the donation of, much needed, leisure and educational books from Book Aid International. Coincidentally, Children in the Wilderness were organising book distribution to rural schools in Matabeleland North in conjunction with Books for Africa and The Zambezi Schoolbook Project and Emfundweni Primary School were on the distrubion list. With an eviable collection of books now on hand at Emfundweni, a suitable room that would provide easy access to eager readers was required. Due to limited space at the school, it was decided to convert a storeroom, positioned between two classrooms, into a compact but functional Library. The Taylor Smiths provided the funding to Children in the Wilderness for the conversion which included demolishing a central wall allowing for a larger space, plastering and painting of walls, installation of metal shelving that protect the books from the ever present termites. The school now proudly boasts a well equipped library with a variey of books that are sure to whet any child’s appetite to read. This new and exciting development will most certainly help improve literacy amongst the children and the surrounding community.
The Head Teacher, Praxedes Mushoriwa, was excited to open the newly installed Library to students, teaching staff and community members. The list of volumes include leisure readers, text books and a number of early literacy manuals that are vital tools to aid in teaching the English language to young children. Teaching staff are thrilled with the new Library and its contents, commenting that this generous donation will not only help them develop their teaching methods, but will be a huge help in developing a reading culture amongst the students, which is vital to their own development and continued education.
As Children in the Wilderness continue to assist with the growth and development of literacy amongst the younger generation in these remote areas, this would not be possible without the support of people like David, Jacs, Poppy and India Taylor Smith, we extend our most grateful thanks for their continued interest and support at Emfundweni Primary School.