Glimmer Of Hope For Rural Mat School Dropouts

By Vusumuzi Mkhwananzi

Gwanda-With almost 3 000 school children dropping out of school every year in Matabeleland South province, a non-governmental organization , You Have It In You Foundation (Yhiiuf) has come to the rescue of some of the pupils who have had to abandon school due to lack of resources by paying their fees and aiding them to enroll again.

Yhiiuf is a brainchild of three former Manama High School students Vuyiswa Mashengele, Lorraine Bere both based in Canada and Sithulisiwe Mazwi in United Kingdom. The three ladies say they got motivated to help having come face to face with the hardships faced by the youth and young women in attaining education in rural Gwanda South during their school days.

According to 2013 statistics Gwanda district has the highest number of school dropouts with pupils leaving school due to non-payment of fees, pregnancy and hunger.

“The girls and l have over the years talked about issues that affected children, youth and women and we thought we could assist in Matabeleland South. We are privileged to be in a position to share the knowledge we have gained over the years to reduce education inequality in these areas,” said Mashengele.

“We are currently in discussions with three schools in rural Gwanda which we intend to help, there is a lot of untapped talent there and we hope to expose for the benefit of the community.”

Yhiiuf main areas of focus include Child sponsorship which targets school dropouts to be enrolled back to school, leadership development, women’s development and establishing community resource centres.

The organization has also assisted students to successful apply to universities both locally and internationally, get internship and jobs.

“We have seen students flourish and come out of their shells,initially we did not have a great response from the parents of children we are assisting but after they started to see the change in their children, we have had a good solid support system from the current parents” said Mashengele.

“As a parent I feel humbled with the achievements my son has made in this program, he has been to places and his future is bright,” said one parent who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child.

In 2013 education officials released shocking statistics of school dropouts in Matabeleland South province, although reasons for abandoning school are varied most rural children do not sit for national examinations because of lack of funding.