The Ubunye Challenge supported the construction of the Mwenje Secondary School in the rural and impoverished town of Concession, 85K from Harare. Having built the Mapere Primary School, it was realized that when students graduated, there was no secondary school within a reasonable distance to continue their education. Construction began in 2019, and in 2022 there are five classroom blocks and a science lab and an enrollment of 184 students (72 girls and 112 boys).
Imagine young children at school with either no toilet facilities or unsafe pit latrines housed in unstable structures, many with no doors. This dire situation existed at seventeen Childhood Development Centres in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Ubunye undertook an urgent fundraising campaign in 2021 to provide safe, eco-friendly toilets to these locations. In 2022 the first two toilet blocks were built at Chelekuma Childcare Centre and Kumkulo ECD centre in conjunction with the team from Sanitation Ambassadors.
In late 2019 Ubunye Challenge raised funds to bring tablet learning to about 360 children enrolled in Early Childhood Development Centres in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It was a tremendous success. Teachers reported, “More children are coming to learn!” because of the iPads. Their parents tell others about the growth and development of their children. That brings even more children to our centres”.
In 2020 when COVID 19 caused a strict lockdown in South Africa many highly vulnerable families of the Eastern Cape, the poorest province faced an unbearable plight. Our “partner on the ground”, the Ubunye Foundation, identified eight hundred families in great need of help procuring food. Through their Food Relief program, they acquired donations of food and began delivering them weekly to rural communities in Ngqushwa and Makana. The major challenge was that many families were located in remote villages and the ageing vehicle being used was on its last legs. There was an urgent need for an off-road vehicle to ensure the delivery of the food boxes. A generous donor of Ubunye Challenge donated US$10,000, half the funds needed for an off-road vehicle with off-road tyres, a tracker and insurance. The remaining funds were raised through a Go Fund Me Campaign organized by Ubunye Challenge.
In 2018, with the help of the Ubunye Foundation, we have set a very specific goal: doubling the number of children served by the early education programs we have helped create. Specifically this means educating an additional 200 students which, at a cost of $150 per student per year, means we seek to raise $30,000.
The Ubunye Challenge has helped install 5 new Edutainers in the rural Eastern Cape. The Edutainers provide safe and secure facilities for learning for young and vulnerable children. The Edutainer is an instant classroom. It is an initiative of the Bright Kid Foundation made from a shipping container (12 square metres) with fitted windows and doors, insulated, electrified, furnished including ventilation systems. The container is delivered to a community and installed on prepared concrete foundations. Each Edutainer is stocked with carefully selected books, teaching aids and educational toys.
Mapere Primary School has been the main primary education facility for the surrounding farmlands in Concession, Northern Zimbabwe. The plight of the residents in this area surrounding these farms has worsened over the years. By uplifting the standard of education of the children in this area, we will give these children the opportunity to gain skills that will empower them beyond their families current socioeconomic status. Without the basic infrastructure and foundation in education, it closes the door on future opportunities for these children.
Ubunye works in very isolated and economically impoverished rural villages. Five years ago, in most of these villages, there were no pre-school services and this was a key priority identified by the communities with whom the Ubunye Foundation first started working. Over the last five years we have worked with rural women’s self-help groups to establish ‘Safe Parks’ or non-formal pre-schools in order to make sure that these rural children can get the best possible start in life. The Safe Parks provide a structured daily programme as well as nutrition programme because a child with an empty stomach cannot learn or thrive.