Children in Jambezi Nyikanyoro had the option of walking 3.5 km and 4.5km to attend Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes at the nearest school. The road to St Michael Mbizha Primary school which is 3.5 km from the community is very dangerous as there are high chances of being attacked by elephants and lions which roam around in the community. Due to the distance and risk of animal attack a number of school going aged children stayed at home and would go to ECD when they are grownups who can at least walk the distances as well as understand the danger posed by animals.
“The information analysis stage helped us to intensely look into our situation about how our children are struggling with schooling. We decided to take our position as parents “remarked the CCMP chair. The host Pastor reported that they realised that 1 in 3 school going age children were nota attending or had stopped attending ECD due to long distances and threat posed by animals” The community decided to establish a community ECD that would link up with St Michael Mbizha school and chose the host church of CCMP United Apostolic Faith Church to be the temporary shelter as they build a temporary school at the community centre.
The crèche has a total of 32 children (19 girls and 13 boys). The children are learning from 8-11 o’clock and the youngest is 3 and the oldest is 5 years old. The ECD was started in January 2017 and the children pay $7 per term however, the community is struggling to raise the funds to pay fees.
The volunteer teacher indicated that CCMP challenged her to contribute towards development. “I volunteer my teaching skills at the ECD so my community can have a better future”. The teacher further indicated that the school has made some improvement of children since it was opened in January 2017 “when the school was opened they could not read or write but now they are able to write their names and able to identify colours”. One parents stated that “In the past children in the area developed a negative attitude towards school due to the long distance but am happy the children have an opportunity to learn close by and do not have to face the risk of meeting and be damaged by story animals like elephants and lions since this area has many wild animals”. Pastor Mpofu the UAFC pastor is hopeful that the initiative will eventually improve attitudes towards school and subsequently better grades. One child who dropped from attending St Michael Mbizha due to distance indicated that she is happy to attend school close in her village where she can walk in the home with her friend’s home and arrive without incident
The school has a close link with St Michael Mbizha primary school who share resources with them for instance when they receive maize donations for ECD they also give a 50kg bag to Nyikanyoro Crèche and parents take turn to cook meals for the children. More, so the parents contribute money to purchase drink, biscuits, relish among other necessary needs for the school.
The CCMP committee that the children will move to the crèche site before the commencement of the third term since the temporary structure is almost complete and a toilet has been constructed. The structure will be officially opened by the local chief and councillor.