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    Friday, 8 December 2017

    Shocking living conditions at a Chivhu school


    CHIKOMBA – One will be forgiven for thinking that the pictures from Manhize Secondary in Manhize Resettlement Area in Ward 7, are from a 19th century outpost school in Africa.
    Manhize which is the satellite school for Mutemachani has all the remnants of a settlement that can only now be found in a museum.
    Last week, The Mirror, a small group of officials from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Forestry Commission, the District Education Office and Chikomba Rural District Council (RDC) made a bee-line to Manhize to handover a tree planting award that that the school had won.
    Manhize with an enrolment of 90 pupils and a staff complement of five teachers did the unthinkable by winning the Schools Tree Growing and Tree Care (STGTC) District Award for Chikomba which is sponsored by Nyaradzo Group of Companies.
    For the prize the school walked away with a floating trophy, two wheelbarrows, three 50kg bundles of barbed wire, five watering cans, soccer kit and a beehive.
    The second position went to Daramombe High and the third went to Kwenda Primary School.
    However, even after such a feat, discussions shifted away from the award as guests were gripped by the condition of the school. Subdued officials discussed the situation of the school from many angles amongst themselves even as they drove back to Harare and Chivhu while examining the roles councillors, MPs, Government, parents and donors could play in such a situation.
    The deplorable state of Manhize became the main subject for discussion no matter how much officials tried to get back to the agenda of the day which was the award.
    The two classrooms and one administration block at Manhize are built from old metal roofing removed from a tobacco barn in a former commercial farm. The roof is also made from metal sheets making the place a furnace in hot weather and a freezer when temperatures drop.
    The classrooms are also too small for the roughly 23 pupils per class as they measure 7.5m in length by 4m in width.
    There are no floors in the classrooms and the ground beneath is all dust creating an environment conducive to diseases.
    The classrooms have two tiny windows each that have no window panes thereby exposing teachers and children alike to the vagaries of the weather. The class rooms also don't have doors and are flooded during the rainy season as water comes in through the doorway and the windows.
    The teachers use plastic chairs as there is a critical shortage of furniture in the school.
    There are also fears that under extreme weather conditions, the structures can collapse pausing great risk to the children.
    The school head, Alice Bango appealed to well-wishers to make donations towards the $10 000 that is required to pay builders for the construction of two  classroom blocks.
    "We now have some building material bought with the improvement grand from UNICEF and we are appealing to well-wishers to help us with $10 000 for us to start construction of classroom blocks. The living conditions here are far below standard and there is a health risk for both teachers and students," said Bango.
    Chikomba District Schools Inspector Emmanuel Kwenda could not be reached for comment.

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