March 29, 2013
Tererai Trent was selected by Oprah as her All-Time Favorite Guest in May 2011, and honored with a special gift – a donation from The Oprah Winfrey Foundation for Save the Children to rebuild the Matau Primary School and improve learning for children in the community where Tererai grew up in Zimbabwe.
On a sunny day, bright light streams in from the holes in the roof to the classroom below. But during the rainy season, water pours in. Teachers rush to move their students and learning materials into the dry corners of the room.
When it storms, roaring winds rip the roofs off school buildings. The result? The open-air classrooms are condemned for use and students are shuffled into already crowded classrooms, or have to attend school in shifts.
And so it continues, year after year, the relentless sun, rain and wind. It takes a toll on the school structure. On the floor where children sit, the cement is broken away, leaving gaping holes throughout the room.
These are the conditions under which children went to the Matau Primary School. But I could be describing any number of schools throughout my beloved Zimbabwe.The environment is not safe and distracts children from learning. That is why I have always dreamed of building a better school for the children of my village. Today, with tears in my eyes, I can tell you that my hopes and dreams are about to come true.
Thanks to the generosity of Oprah, Save the Children and my community embarked on a project to build a new primary school in Matau.
Here is what has been completed since we began this journey in 2011:
- 5 new classrooms, painted and equipped with locally made desks, chairs, etc.
- 2 teachers’ houses
- 1 borehole drilled and piped. (This is the first time children can access clean water on the school grounds. Tinogona t-shirt money paid for this.)
- 1 preschool center
- 1 playground
- New latrines and hand washing stations
Children and teachers are already filling up these beautiful spaces, which were lovingly built with nearly 400,000 bricks made by hand by community volunteers.
Here is what will be finished in a few months:
- 1 library (filled with books)
- 1 administrative building
- 1 new classroom
- Here is what we will finish repairing and rehabilitating over the next several months:
- 7 teachers’ house
- 6 secondary school classrooms
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. The images here of the Matau Primary School, showing the before and after, the transformation, speak for themselves. It is incredible. Tinogona. It is achievable!