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2007.08.20

* Zimbabwean grandmothers help build a school for their community’s children
* 12 Jul 2007

60-year-old Agnes Mutima works hard to help build a school for the children in her community in the hills of Eastern Zimbabwe. The Nelson Mandela Foundation and UNICEF ‘Schools for Africa’ are helping communities like Mrs Mutima’s to construct more than 55 classrooms by the end of this year.

AGNES MUTIMA NARR:  I'm a powerless human being. It's difficult for me to do anything but it was upsetting. The government just called us for a meeting and they told us they were going to burn down our houses. We thought they were lying. We thought it was joke but on the day they came and they burnt down my houses and for 3 months, I lived in the open with those children until the government came and told me they found somewhere to put us. That's how I found myself and my family here. When we came here, it was pure wilderness. There was nothing. As you can see the trees and forest were nearby so we had to ask for permission to build a school.

JOSEPHINE: “When I came here we saw a river and there was no bridge and we walked in the water when we came here. There is a lot of trees. We cut the trees and burnt the trees and started to build the school.”
Sarah Crowe (off-camera): So, the best school you could think about, what would it look like?

JOSEPHINE: I like a school that is built with bricks and we have a library for reading. When we go to lunch we can sit and read books.
AGNESS MUTIMA NARR:  We started by clearing, looking for wood and poles to build a temporary shelter. Then we asked for permission to make bricks. We started by building toilets, that's what we did and then we started making bricks for the school. We are trying hard so that our children and grandchildren can learn in a better environment. When it rains, usually they are rained on. When it's cold, they get very cold. As you can see, the school is not in a good state. We are hoping to change all this through what we are doing. Finally, the children are ours, so we can't say that we're doing for free. We are doing for our children.




 

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