Since mid-March, I have been doing online learning. I have been worrying about my friends in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, that my organization is sending to school. The girls are orphaned, they don't have phones so can't get on WhatsApp and join a class.
Google Classroom? Zoom? Wi-Fi? No chance. I am worried about the widening gap in education between those with some way of accessing tools for online education and those who are simply cut off. My friends and I are the same age and they are remaining behind.
MTC has been sewing face masks to donate in the community to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This request broke my heart because education is close to my heart and the principal wrote to me asking for help, so my friends can get some education, yet I can't help.
If anyone can help me buy cloth for this school to start teaching again while keeping the students safe, please donate on my website and I will send the money to them. Your names will be on the response letter too.
Please see the attached letter from the school principal.
COVID-19 has evidently been hard on many communities around the world. Rural communities have not been spared either. If anything, many rural communities have been cut off from crucial, lifesaving information about the Coronavirus. MTC has sought to bridge the information gap by leading regular cleaning and sanitizing of communal spaces such as shared water sources, mainly boreholes. MTC lead officer Patience Magobeya leads this effort in Nhedziwa ward 4. To support government efforts to minimize Coronavirus infections, MTC has also embarked on producing face masks. This is in two phases. The first phases which ran throughout the month of May 2019 saw Patience Magobeya sewing 400 facemasks and distributing them free of charge to villagers, travelers she saw without facemasks at Nhedziwa Business Centre, fresh produce vendors, police officers at Nhedziwa Police Station and shopkeepers. The second phase which started in early June 2019 will see the production of nearly 500 face masks specifically for students, teachers, and support staff at Nhedziwa Secondary school. This follows an appeal by the school in a formal letter to MTC in mid-May. The 500 face masks will be MTC's contribution towards the proposed safe return of exam grade classes. For this second phase, Patience will be assisted in the sewing by a group of MTC scholars who stand to learn a skill as well as helping make their school a safe place for everyone when the students return.
If you have questions about COVID-19 and how it may affect you or your family, please reference the guide below put together by our friends at Rozaria Memorial Trust.
"As governments around the world battle to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from having severe consequences for families and communities, Rozaria Memorial Trust will continue with their focus on supporting women and girls in Africa. Our focus in this document is on offering strategies for women and girls in surviving this pandemic. This document is not a medical document, neither is it a policy document. This is a grass roots community support document for women and girls during the COVID19 outbreak. The opinions expressed in this document are supported by expert advice from various sources."
The 2020 International Women's Day came early for MTC Educate A Girl Inc founder and president Maka Chikowero in Milwaukee, WI on Saturday 29th of February. Maka's non profit which was recently designated as one of the WI Women Soccer Advisory Council philanthropic partners, was invited to exhibit at the 2020 Wisconsin Women in Soccer Advisory Council-led Symposium at the Downtown Kitchen complex alongside established sports-related entities from the region.
Maka herself was given a slot to make her pitch, so to speak. She gladly took the opportunity to speak about her organization's mission of reaching out and assisting orphaned girls in rural Zimbabwe with educational scholarships, sourcing and providing soccer equipment for girls and young women in the same rural settings, the impact of her organization in its short life, among other key issues.
Maka also made a plea for financial support to ship 15 large boxes(approximately 3 containers) of soccer equipment to benefit three different girls and women's soccer teams in rural and peri urban Zimbabwe. Speaking from the heart to over 350 attendees, Maka shared touching and heartwarming stories of some of the beneficiaries of her educational and soccer programs who are inspired by Maka's commitment to girls education, entrepreneurship, participation in sport and leadership. "I insist that the future is female, the future is young and the future is bright," Maka ended her remarks to a resounding ovation.
At her organization's booth in the exhibition hall, Maka interacted more personally with visitors who included some of her soccer coaches from Madison West High School and her new friends from the Milwaukee area who coordinated the sourcing and collection of soccer equipment that will be shipped to Zimbabwe.
"For me, the highlight of this Symposium was shaking hands with Jill Ellis, the legendary World Cup winning US Women's National Soccer Team coach, introducing myself to her and even getting her to sign a US women's soccer shirt," says Maka.
Watch Maka speech in the video here: https://youtu.be/hyF_PqpUaAw
As part of our countdown to our participation at the WI Women's Soccer Advisory Council Soccer Symposium, we will be sharing stuff from years gone by, mostly Maka’s involvement in the global sport. The sport is indeed a great equalizer, a fun sport played, watched and supported by generations of men, women, girls and boys across the world.
Before founding MTC Educate A Girl Inc. - Maka Chikowero FanPage Maka worked closely with Mrs Nyaradzayi.Gumbonzvanda , a lawyer, girls rights defender and gender champion in her rural community of Magaya in Murehwa and Shamva, Zimbabwe and beyond. Nyaradzai was excited when she heard that Maka played soccer and was also trying her hand at swimming. It was through this interaction with “Auntie Nyari” and her now mentor Farirai that Maka learned that the girls did not really play soccer as she did because they had no proper uniforms and that soccer was mainly a male sport in most places and this broke her heart.
After being invited by Auntie Nyari to the the United Nations Youth Conference in New York at age 10 (and getting to meet then UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon), Maka resolved to help the girls get a proper soccer kits and change stereotypes especially in rural Zimbabwe. Her mission started by saving her own money she got as an allowance, and asking for more chores she could do to earn extra, and started buying one soccer jersey at a time.
Seeing her determination, Maka got some help from her parents and some donations of soccer balls from Adidas USA. Maka eventually put together a full kit that was donated to Magaya Secondary School Girls in Murehwa Zimbabwe through Rozaria Memorial Trust .
In August 2016, Auntie Nyari’s Rozaria Memorial Trust managed to host a first ever all-girls soccer tournament with some girls coming from as far as Seke near Harare! The Murehwa community came out to watch and cheer the girls play. Overall outreach was to over 500 people. The kit that came all the way from the USA was the winners prize together with a trophy and tuition. Magaya Secondary who did not disappoint at the tournament; they won the tournament shield outright and the whole kit!
sMTC Educate A Girl Inc was represented by Anna Makondesa, secretary of the MTC Sirens, and Heather Ndongwe, MTC field officer, at the National Girls Symposium held in Harare on October 18-20, 2019. The symposium was held under the banner Empowering Girls For A Brighter Tomorrow. This was the first time the two young women had ever attended such a national event for girls. They were excited to meet and greet several influential figures including news anchor Vicky Mlilo.
The girls attended several breakout sessions where different topics were discussed. The topics included Economic Empowerment which was led by Shuvai from PLAN International. She discussed income generating projects such as poultry and gardening. She also talked about challenges that include lack of resources and knowledge.
There was also a discussion about menstrual health management that was led by Ruwadzano Muzyondiwa from Rozaria Memorial Trust. Ruwadzano demonstrated the use of disposable and non-disposable pads. It was discussed that the girls should change their pads three times and day and should wash their bodies twice.
The other group led by Sekuru Munetsi from ChildLine Zimbabwe talked about positive masculinity. The discussion highlighted that people must get rid of bullying and receive education on the subject. Children must be treated equally regardless of gender.
When the girls came back from the symposium, they gave feedback to the rest of the MTC girls club on their trip. The girls who did not travel asked questions and benefitted from the reports by Heather and Anna. As scheduled, the MTC Sirens gathered at their usual home ground and played soccer. Thereafter, they discussed menstrual hygiene management, focusing on the use of sanitary pads, washing hands before and after changing pads, bathing at least two times per day and changing pads three times a day. The message from Vicky Mlilo, the guest speaker at the girls symposium was also shared. Vicky said, “ As girls you must not allow anything to stop you from pursuing your dreams, you must be selective and stay focused. Don't take lightly the choices you make, look for a mentor who will guide you.”
It seems Vicky was a hit at the symposium.
Every year for my birthday, instead of birthday gifts, I usually give girls gifts of sanitary pads. I know sanitary pads are hard to get especially for girls in rural Zimbabwe. This year, I shared this message with the girls at Nhedziwa Secondary School in Chimanimani district of Zimbabwe:
This is Maka Chikowero. Founder of MTC Educate a Girl Inc. Many of you may know my name through Mrs. Magobeya who works with the MTC Sirens soccer club. Today, I chose to write to you for two reasons:
1. I am a high school student just like you and I know you are writing your end of year exams, so I wanted to wish you the best on your exams.
2. As you know, I am a strong advocate for girls' education and sports and there are a lot of things that stand in our way. I know that exams can be stressful and can trigger our menstrual period and it can be a hard time for most of us if we get it and do not have proper stuff to use.
My birthday was November 2nd and I turned 15 so, for me, every year for my birthday, instead of getting birthday gifts, I choose to give girls sanitary pads. I hope you receive this birthday gift from me to you and hope you won't miss your exams. I wish you all success in your exams. I strongly encourage you guys to stay in school beyond this year and hope to link up with you again next year! Enjoy your holidays and best wishes for 2020!
I love you all and keep pushing. You all and me, we are growing up together, and together we will change the world. Girl power!