Educate a Child…They are Empowered
OVER the past 10 years, the Just Children Foundation (JCF) had put in place a vibrant education programme that had seen thousands of children go back into school after their rehabilitation.
According to the foundation’s Education Officer, Bertha Nyamutowa, over 378 children were currently in school in areas that included Harare, Chikangwe and Chikomba.
They had in place a watertight process through which the children who end up going to school under its ambit had pass.
“When we get a child, we do what is called a need assessment, whereby we visit the child’s home and establish the conditions that would have led that child into the street,” she said.
If they discovered that abuse had forced the child into the street, they held counselling sessions with the child before rehabilitating them, after which they send them to school.
The organisation paid for all the fees and provided all the other needs to ensure a smooth stay at the school and a conducive learning environment.
In other circumstances, it could be established that the child could live at home or within the immediate family if orphaned.
In that scenario, the Education Officer explained, the willing family members would take in the child, but the foundation would provide all the child’s requirements, including food items, clothing and toiletries for the child so as to avoid putting a strain on the family.
Apart from food packs, she added, the families would be bankrolled to start a project through which they would earn some income.
“We see the children through school up to the level where they are able,” she said, adding that some have performed remarkably and had gone on to universities and colleges.
Those who fail in school are however not left to their own peril, but safety nets have also been put in place to ensure that they are equipped with skills that would enable them to earn a living.
“We look for practical occupations for those who fail at school, like finding places for them at agricultural training institutions,” she said.
In the past, when all the children were still sheltered at the Shelter of Joy, the organisation used to run a vibrant bridge school to cater for those for whom places were still to be found in conventional schools would learn.
“Different counselors were allocated children to teach, based on their age groups,” said Nyamutowa, adding that the bridge school operated more like a special class.
Other areas in which the education programme was being run included Gokwe, Zvishavane, Mashava, Nyanga, Murewa, Mutoko and Mt Darwin.