I’ve said before that one of my favourite parts of working in Zimbabwe has been offering stable full time employment for people. It was recently estimated that half of our church of a little over 300 is without work. It is because of this that being able to offer full time employment to 6 people is one of our favourite achievements. Auntie Prudence was stuck in a job where she wasn’t paid regulary and could not rely on her salary and Auntie’s; Betty, Lorraine, Patience and Rumbi had been out of work for a while. Lorraine and Patience graduate as qualified pre-school teachers in April and we’ll be employing one of Lorraine’s classmates then too. Wilson who is our security guard was making ends meet by doing a little bit of gardening and he’s also been helping us out with ours too. They are amazing people and they’re the reason we can think of extending our school to a primary school. They are very capable of doing an amazing job when we leave our two pre-school classes to them. They deserve this opportunity for all their hard work.

Rumbi was the first parent to register her child; Keith in our school last year. She really believed in us and registered Keith on a day where Sophie and I were painting the classroom and we currently had no tables, chairs or equipment. At this time we were still nervously praying over receiving our shipping. (It seems like such a long time ago) She just said she wanted him registered here, she said she believed in us because she heard us share our vision in church. A few weeks into the first term Rumbi told us that she would like to come to volunteer at the school and we jumped at the chance to have her work with us. She volunteered with us once a week for two full terms. She’s got an amazing relationship with the children and an incredibly positive attitude. She showed herself to be a great role model and clearly an amazing mother because Keith is lovely, as is her older son Anesu, so when an opportunity to hire her arose, we grabbed it!

In September our cook Betty had an accident on the bus on the way to work and injured her foot really badly. I literally had to make Betty not come to work and she could not believe she would still get paid. It posed an issue though because I certainly wasn’t going to cook for 55 children. That morning Rumbi came to talk to me to say her husband (who works in the army) had been demoted and his salary had been severely cut so she was going to need to take Keith out of school. I told her not to worry about fees and he could come for free. Sophie and I said we’d sort that out because of our friendship with her. That day our administrator cooked and was certainly overworked so I asked Rumbi if she’d cook for the rest of the week. Like Betty, I had to force her to let me give her money for her work because she felt like she will always owe me. On the Friday of that week Sophie and I decided that with graduation, possible teacher training courses and Patience and Lorraine’s courses that an extra pair of hands around the school would be hugely beneficial so we offered her a full time job.

I wanted to share this story because Rumbi loves work because she said she’d always felt she was dumb. We’re really lucky in England that we have every opportunity to complete our studies and begin careers. Rumbi, like Lorraine never had those opportunities and finished school way before she ever wanted to. In April Rumbi will also go back to school to become a pre-school teacher and she’s going to be an amazing one too.

Your donations really do change lives. As well as being able to afford to support families who wouldn’t be going to school otherwise, we can offer stable jobs and careers to these wonderful people. The teacher training certificate in early childhood development and subsequent diploma are less than a year long and cost just $60 a month (£37.50) Those donations have literally changed the lives of those ladies and their families. On behalf of them I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the opportunities you are providing for them.

Finally, this week I found out that Charles (Rumbi’s husband) used to be a contractor and worked with builders, electricians and other workers. He’s offered his services to us in our primary school renovations. We’ll be paying him for his work but he’ll be doing it for much cheaper than we’d have to pay otherwise.

We thank God we met these wonderful people and we’ll be continuing to try our best to not only support Zimbabwe’s children but continue to educate these adults who will educate Zimbabwe’s next generation.