Squat­ters set up il­le­gal school

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Vusumuzi Dube Mu­nic­i­pal Re­porter

SQUAT­TERS at Ngozi Mine in Bu­l­awayo have es­tab­lished an il­le­gal school within the camp as they shun for­mal ed­u­ca­tion ar­gu­ing that not only is it ex­pen­sive but their chil­dren are also sub­jected to stereo­typ­ing within for­mal schools.

The il­le­gal school is com­plete with a school build­ing, im­pro­vised teach­ers, elec­tric­ity con­nec­tions and a makeshift li­brary has been es­tab­lished to cater for the plus 300 pupils who are all of pri­mary school going ages.

The mat­ter ini­tially emerged dur­ing last Wed­nes­day’s full coun­cil meet­ing where it was re­vealed that the State and Zanu-PF num­ber one job — some­thing President Mu­gabe said the min­is­ter had made clear in the af­ter­math of the Tsholot­sho Dec­la­ra­tion. The rul­ing party’s President and First Sec­re­tary said this at Chipadze Sta­dium in Bin­dura, Mashona­land Cen­tral, squat­ters are now so dar­ing that they have now es­tab­lished a fully func­tional society af­ter the op­er­a­tion of this school.

It was re­vealed that in­ves­ti­ga­tions had shown that in some cases the squat­ters owned houses but pre­ferred to rent them out while they opted to squat. Ward Two Coun­cil­lor, Sitha­bile Mataka-Moyo re­vealed that there were squat­ters who were crop­ping up in her ward, with their camps be­ing lo­cated close to res­i­den­tial houses.

“The Act­ing Di­rec­tor of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, Mr Dic­tor Khu­malo ad­vised that Ngozi Mine and Kil­lar­ney squat­ters were a chal­lenge. Even if they were re­moved from the ar­eas they usu­ally re­turned within a short space of time. Some of them own houses which they rent out else­where pre­fer­ring to squat. At Ngozi Mine an il­le­gal school had now been de­vel­oped. Rangers would be sent to the re­cently es­tab­lished il­le­gal squat­ter ar­eas,” reads the re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil’s records Ngozi Mine is an old set­tle­ment that is known to have been es­tab­lished in the 1990s with the dwellers hav­ing been at­tracted by scav­eng­ing at the Rich­mond mu­nic­i­pal dump site.

In Kil­lar­ney, the slum set­tle­ment was es­tab­lished a long time back with over 100 units which are scat­tered around the bush op­po­site Kil­lar­ney to the east. A visit to Ngozi Mine squat­ter camp last Fri­day re­vealed that in­deed the squat­ters were pro­vid­ing their chil­dren “home” school­ing as they claimed they could not af­ford for­mal ed­u­ca­tion.

They claimed that to them this was more of home and they did not en­vis­age mov­ing out any time soon hence the need to pro­vide their chil­dren with some form of ed­u­ca­tion. The school has re­port­edly been in op­er­a­tion for the past two years with ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties do­ing noth­ing to ei­ther shut it down or pro­vide some form of as­sis­tance as the “teach­ers” are also par­ent squat­ters who are not qual­i­fied to teach.

In an in­ter­view, one of the teach­ers claimed that they had re­alised that their chil­dren were shun­ning for­mal ed­u­ca­tion be­cause of abuse they were al­legedly fac­ing at the for­mal schools.

“When our chil­dren go to these for­mal schools they are la­belled as Ngozi Mine chil­dren, they are even made to sit

alone, at the end of the day they feel left out hence shun going to these schools. Even­tu­ally our pas­tor re­alised that there were a lot of chil­dren who were now join­ing us adults in scav­eng­ing at the land­fill site hence he re­alised the need for the estab­lish­ment of this school.

“To date we have over 300 pupils of pri­mary school going pupils who we are tak­ing through lessons on Mon­days, Tues­days, Wed­nes­days and Fri­days from 7am to 1pm. We mainly teach them on the basics of read­ing and writ­ing so that even when they join the scav­eng­ing bri­gade they know how to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between dan­ger­ous and safe waste,” said Mrs Sithem­bile Tshuma.

Ques­tioned on whether they knew that the gov­ern­ment had in­tro­duced a new ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum, Mrs Sitim­ina Muzah an­other vol­un­teer teacher pro­fessed ig­no­rance say­ing their duty was to merely teach their chil­dren the basics of ed­u­ca­tion.

“We don’t know any­thing about this new cur­ricu­lum but what we saw is that there is a need within our com­mu­nity, which is that of ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren. Yes as vol­un­teer teach­ers we might not be ed­u­cated but we do our best to teach our chil­dren the basics, which they need to tackle the world out there,” said Mrs Muzah.

An­other teacher, Mrs Jac­que­line Ndi­weni re­vealed that they were now in talks with coun­cil of­fi­cials to see whether they could not pro­vide land for the build­ing of a proper school that will es­pe­cially cater for chil­dren from Ngozi Mine.

“We have even iden­ti­fied the land and are now work­ing with Joshua Malinga to help es­tab­lish a for­mal school, we are ap­peal­ing to well-wish­ers to also ship in in this en­deav­our,” said Mrs Ndi­weni.

This news crew also man­aged to tour the “school” and they noted that not only did the school have makeshift chalk boards, which par­ents had col­lected from the dump­site but there were makeshift chairs and a li­brary area. The “school” also has a toi­let fa­cil­ity which is main­tained by the care­taker who is paid by the par­ents of the chil­dren.

A cou­ple of years ago the lo­cal au­thor­ity re­vealed plans to for­malise six in­for­mal set­tle­ments in the out­skirts of the city in a bid to fend off the squat­ting prob­lem. In the plans the lo­cal au­thor­ity noted that they were work­ing on up­grad­ing the peri-ur­ban set­tle­ments, for­mal­is­ing and putting in place the req­ui­site in­fra­struc­ture. The lo­cal au­thor­ity wanted to up­grade the ex­ist­ing wa­ter and sewer in­fra­struc­ture to meet the an­tic­i­pated de­mand within the slumps.

Some of these in­for­mal set­tle­ments that are set for up­grad­ing in­clude Ca­bat­sha, Tre­nance, Ngozi Mine, Durnkirk, Wills­grove and Kil­lar­ney.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.