Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
AT Maphisa Primary School in Bulawayo’s Sizinda suburb, a specialist classroom was equipped with 50 chairs, 12 work tables, 25 sewing machines, two gas stoves, a four-plate electric stove, a refrigerator and some cutlery in line with the delivery of a competence-based education curriculum.
This is due to the work of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ whose Bulawayo Stake president Mr Mzingaye Ndlovu has revealed that the church has poured in over US$1 million into the Matabeleland region to build and refurbish schools and clinics to date.
At every school that include six in Bulawayo, solar-powered boreholes have also been drilled, with surrounding communities getting water.
Mr Ndlovu revealed this during the commissioning of a classroom block at Joanna Fuyana Primary School in Nyamandlovu in Matabeleland North Province.
The commissioned classroom block at Joanna Fuyana Primary School has modern amenities such as a whiteboard, new chairs and desks.
There is also an administration section complete with a staff room and headmaster’s office. The block is powered by solar energy.
A solar-powered borehole provides water from two tanks to the pupils and the community.
In Bulawayo, apart from Maphisa Primary School in Sizinda suburb, five other schools: Cowdray Park Primary Secondary, Mncumbatha Secondary School, Mandwandwe High School, Emganwini High School and Pumula South Secondary School were also upgraded.
Two weeks ago, Government also commissioned Maboleni Clinic in Umguza as part of the continued private partnership between it and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
In an interview, Mr Ndlovu revealed the church poured has poured over US$1 million into infrastructure projects in Matabeleland region.
He said over US$200 000 was used to construct and equip the classroom block at Joanna Fuyana Primary School.
“With this project (Joanna Fuyana Primary School) we have poured in US$200 000. The clinic in Maboleni (Umguza) we commissioned with Minister of State Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Matabeleland North, Richard Moyo, and we poured around US$380 000. I know we renovated schools in Bulawayo, and we went in with as much as US$480 000. So, to us, it’s not about the money or cost, but the impact it has especially on the lives of the vulnerable that we want to assist,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said the church has also been involved in building clinics in communities last year that have since been commissioned.
“We have also embarked on a project where we were building clinics such as in Maboleni, one in Mbembesi and in December we commissioned six schools within Bulawayo. Some of them are in Cowdray Park, Emganwini and other suburbs,” said Mr Ndlovu.
“Some of the schools are in Cowdray Park, Emganwini and other suburbs These projects involved building classroom blocks, as we realised that the schools in the high-density areas are few. The children are learning under trees and then we decided to build classroom blocks there.”
Solar-powered boreholes are also drilled at the learning institutions which is also used by the surrounding community.
All this is being done under the guidance of the Government a partnership that Mr Ndlovu said was beneficial to the community.
“As a church, we come into a community and see what it is that we can do, and we run projects. For the longest time when we came to Zimbabwe, most of the projects were immediate when we were giving out food. And now these have graduated where we want long-term sustainability.
“We are looking at projects where people can do self-help, we have about 40 nutritional gardens that we have set up along with HOCIC (Hope for a Child in Christ- a Non-Governmental organization). These are in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said the church is focusing on projects that have lasting benefits for communities.