“The school grows with each construction phase and with it increases the number of happy children who can finally learn to read, write and calculate.”

Andreas Menke, steward of the PATRIZIA School Harare

PATRIZIA School Harare, Zimbabwe

The PATRIZIA School Harare in Zimbabwe’s capital of the same name is a good example of how national and international cooperation with select partners works: In 2016, the Rising Star school in the Hopley settlement was opened. After extensions in 2017 and 2018, the school already consists of seven buildings. The third construction began in May 2019 – after the end of the rainy season. The target is to build 14 classrooms for 50 students each. An important step for the landlocked country of Zimbabwe in southern Africa.

This was still unthinkable in 2010: Following forced resettlement orders issued by the state in 2005, more than 30,000 people had to leave their homes. As a result, the settlement of Hopley emerged on the southern outskirts of Harare – a settlement without any infrastructure, water, electricity and schools. Thousands of children had no access to education or had to travel long, sometimes dangerous routes to school.

Andreas Menke, steward of PATRIZIA School Harare Zimbabwe

Many partners – one goal

With the local organisation Visions of Hope and the financial support of the German ZimRelief e.V., the construction of the modular primary school began in 2016. The proceeds of the Urban Art and Graffiti Art Campaign Scale Munich 2017 of PATRIZIA AG also contributed to the project. In addition to the PATRIZIA Children Foundation, Engineers without Borders with 20 local workers and local construction companies also supported the construction of the individual sections. The local workers and residents of Hopley have been trained so that they will be able to build new sections more and more independently.Further support is being provided by ZimRelief, which for many years has been supplying the school with teaching materials and paying for staff salaries and school dinners. As a result, between 200 and 300 of the youngest pupils receive a nourishing meal every day.

The school is growing section by section

The first two classrooms were completed in 2016, as well as two more rooms in the second construction phase in 2017. Three more classrooms were added in 2018. The number of children and youths between the ages of five and fourteen who can attend school each year will gradually increase to 700 by the end of 2022. However, the builders realistically expect an over-occupation, so that up to 1,000 pupils can attend school here.

New opportunities for the population Hopleys

The school is changing the neighbourhood in a positive way. It has become the hub of Hopley. The workers, who have a regular income with their construction work at the school, can now feed their families and enable their children to go to school. Some of them use the knowledge they have gained though the construction work – and build their own houses or train to become certified bricklayers. Many pass on their knowledge within the community.

According to the school’s head girl Valentine Shoko, the number of young girls marrying out of a lack of alternatives has also decreased: The new building and the large number of places that the school can offer due to the expanded building give many girls a real alternative to an early marriage. With the education acquired, their path into a self-determined future can begin.

See also the video of the project and read Princess’s tale of happiness.

The current pandemic has an impact on our facilities worldwide. As an immediate measure, we have established the CORONA FUND EDUCATION HEALTHCARE in the amount of €100,000 from our reserves. We use 100 per cent of this amount as immediate aid in our Children Centers. However, since there is a lack of help in all facilities worldwide and the need is constantly growing due to the Corona measures, we also offer you the opportunity to support us in continuing to provide access to education. Find out more!

The PATRIZIA Children Foundation has provided aid in Harare at various levels: short-term emergency aid to enable school meals to continue to be maintained and support for personnel and teacher costs. In the long term, the Corona Fund Education Healthcare will be used to improve hygiene measures, support the teaching staff through the changed learning conditions under social distancing rules.

The adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic are also enormous in our children’s centre in Zimbabwe. The PATRIZIA School Harare, as a primary school in the Hopley district, currently offers space for around 1,300 children. The school is not financially supported by the Zimbabwean state, our partner ZimRelief is responsible for the financial organization of the school and the distribution of donations.

ZimRelief supports the school with teacher salaries, teaching materials, school meals and school equipment through donations and grants from partner organisations. The school fees, which are sometimes very low, are not sufficient. Due to the coronavirus crisis and the closure in Zimbabwe, school operations had to be suspended until further notice. As the parents did not pay school fees for this time, there was a lack of financial means. It is uncertain whether the children’s families will be able to pay sufficient school fees in the coming months. Most of them do not have a permanent job and had or have almost no income due to the lockdown.

The school meals during the lockdown were all the more urgently needed in recent months to guarantee the children a safe meal, often the only one a day. The school lacks the financial means for school materials in general and materials to ensure hygienic measures in particular.

How the PATRIZIA Corona Fund Healthcare Education in Harare helps concretely

In the open air and in accordance with the rules of distance, our fund has provided one meal a day for the children in the school courtyard from May onwards. Not only at the time of the lockdown, but also during the school holidays in August, we were thus able to maintain school meals.

The PATRIZIA Children Foundation also helped to cover the costs for the teachers and school staff during the lockdown and thus secured their livelihood.

In order to make the pupils aware of the spread of the coronavirus in an age-appropriate manner, the PATRIZIA Children Foundation is also providing the school with the comic strip “No Chance for Corona” by Welthungerhilfe in cooperation with WASH.

How things continue at the PATRIZIA School Harare

The school gradually reopened from September 24th, in compliance with the state’s Corona requirements. This means that masks must be available for everyone (students, teachers and administrative staff). ZimRelief has had 1,500 masks sewn in a local sewing shop with funds from the Corona Fund Education Healthcare. The women in the sewing shop were also able to receive support. In addition, we provided the school with soap, disinfectant and thermometers, which is a prerequisite for the school to be allowed to open again.

We wish all pupils in Harare a safe and exciting start into the new school year 2020/21!

Our Project-Partner:

The „Rising Star“-School at the settlement „Hopley“

Check out the video about the PATRIZIA School Harare:

Princess’s tale of happiness

Through this school, the entire family of five-year-old Princess has found hope for a better future. The mother is a teacher there and her two older siblings are attending as pupils.

Princess can’t wait to be taught in the new classrooms herself when the next school year begins. She is already studying English with her siblings and has learned to introduce herself in the foreign language.

Little Princess attends the ECD class (Early Child Hood Development) at the Rising Star School in Hopley. She is a true bundle of energy and can pursue her numerous interests at the school. She particularly enjoys romping around, playing netball and making music in the percussion band. She watched the work of our partners, the Engineers Without Borders during the second construction phase of the PATRIZIA facility with great interest.

Princess is rarely bored. Her family also makes sure she isn’t. Apart from her dad, her mama Marjory teaches at the school. Her sisters Shantel (9 years old) and Ethel (11 years old) are in attendance at the school. Together, they walk the three miles to school every morning and evening. Shantel attends the fourth grade and always looks forward to English lessons.

Since the start of the current school year, Ethel attends the 6th grade at Rising Star. Ethel is one of the many children who were able to switch to the Rising Star School thanks to the newly built school block. Before that, she had to go to a school 20 miles away.

Her mother Marjory is a state-approved teacher. She is happy that her three girls are well looked after and trained at the school and that she can spend a lot of time with them.