PATRIZIA School Harare

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. Due to the corona pandemic, our partner Engineers Without Borders is currently building this section exclusively with local workers.

“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

A settlement without infrastructure

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.

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 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.

PATRIZIA School Harare Simbabwe, Mädchen im Unterricht
PATRIZIA School Harare, Simbabwe - Junge lacht

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.

Award-winning project

The architect who designed the school, Kristina Egbers from Engineers without Borders, won a special prize in 2019 for social engagement under the German Brick Award. The school has also been nominated for further prizes, such as the 2020 Brick Award in the Building Outside the Box category and the 2021 DAM Award for German architecture in the category for Buildings Outside Germany.
Furthermore, the project was honoured with a recognition at the Balthasar Neumann Prize, which is awarded by the German Building Journal, in January 2021.

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

Corona help for Harare

The PATRIZIA 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.

Our Project-Partner:

Check out the video about the PATRIZIA School Harare:

Tales of happiness from 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.