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Feature: 100 learners pin hope on young farmer

Despite being located a stone throw from the farm workers’ living quarters, from where loud music from Chinese-make hifis is blasting, proceedings inside this building were being hardly interrupted.

A LARGE building that can easily be mistaken for a church hall stands outstandingly at a distant on Excelsior Farm in Trelawney.

Despite being located a stone throw from the farm workers’ living quarters, from where loud music from Chinese-make hifis is blasting, proceedings inside this building were being hardly interrupted.

About 100 young learners are neatly arranged in groups and down to their business taking instructions from their teachers.

They are crowded in this building, thanks to the farm owner whose appetite for educations has turned him into a local hero.

Though unregistered, Tafara B Primary School, has become home to a number of children in and around the farm.

The farm belongs to the late former Finance ministry permanent secretary and ZB Bank chief executive officer Elisha Mushayakarara.

His son, Vincent has since taken over operations as well as sponsoring the satellite school.

“The school was started in 2003 when my late father acquired the farm. My father used to run it, but sadly passed on in 2015. The school ceased for some years. I revived it in 2022. I bought text books and other stationary as well as renovating the classroom block.

“I have managed to take the learners on educational trips to the RGM international Airport and Darwendale Dam Recreational park, we will get there,” Vincent told NewsDay Weeekender during a recent visit to the school.

The school has three teachers. Two of them take Grade 1 to 7 classes, while the other takes care of the ECD learners.

The Grade 1 to 7 classes share space inside the big block, while ECD learners are accommodated in a different structure.

Only four students constitute the Grade 7 class.

“This is what is here, but we are happy that the learners are benefiting from these three teachers. The nearest school is at Trelawney, about 11 kilometres from here. So imagine these kids walking 22km to and from school daily, it was strenuous to most of them,” added Vincent.

“When my father died, the school had only Grade 1 to 4 classes, after that, they would go to Trelawney Primary School. Today, we are happy that we now have a Grade 7 class and will sit for their examinations at Sodbury Elite School in Darwendale.”

Sodbury is owned by television personality and sports commentator Spencer Banda.

The three teachers at the school are being driven by passion to see the learners excel in various academic and sporting disciplines, despite earning a paltry salary.

Parents pay US$4 fees per term which is channelled to the teachers’ salaries, while Mushayakarara chips in with other incentives.

“We are all driven by passion, we want these kids to get a decent education and this is happening. We have a vision, a vision to have this school registered and become a notable one in this area. Maybe in 10 years time, we will be having a boarding school here,” Vincent told NewsDay Weekender.

Farm manager, Stephen Katambare (44), who witnessed the emergence of the school said despite facing serious difficulties, the school is doing well by producing fine learners.

“We are heading towards the right direction and I believe this school will be greater in the future. Despite the current challenges, we are receiving compliments from sister schools because our learners academically match those from the so called established learning centres. We are also doing well in sport,” said Katambarare.

The learning centre recently received a major boost after some international philanthropists offered scholarships to three of the learners.

“We are happy for the recognition. We have three learners who were awarded scholarships and will travel to Europe to finish their education. The well-wishers had seen the school on our Facebook page and drove all the way down here,” revealed Vincent.

“The interesting thing is that the learners will be relocating to Europe with their families, we are happy to be considered to such an extent. We still need more scholarships from other well-wishers.”

One of the beneficiaries’ father, Washington Samu (32), who works at the farm, said he was not expecting to relocate to Europe after her daughter was awarded the scholarship.

“I have a daughter doing Grade 4 and cannot hide the joy and feeling of relocating to Europe. My daughter was awarded a scholarship and it is something I never thought would happen. The sponsors are going to take care of my daughter’s education.

“It is like a dream that we have well-wishers who fished beneficiaries from a school at a farm in this area,” said Samu.

Perhaps, once registered, and in five years’ time, Tafara B will be a reputable school attracting learners from all corners of the country.

“My father’s dream was to ensure that these children get affordable education in this area. It is our duty to keep that legacy,” Vincent added.

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