Friday, November 04, 2011
Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00
The groundbreaking ceremony for the multi-million dollar Grace Mugabe Foundation Primary School being built with the assistance of the People's Republic of China was held at the sprawling complex in Mazowe yesterday. The school - being built on a 7 720 square metre plot - will include 27 classrooms, a library, an art room, music room, computer room and auxiliary equipment rooms.
The institution will have four streams of 24 pupils per class from grade one to seven.
The school will cater for 900 disadvantaged children from Grace Mugabe Children's Home and surrounding areas.
The project, on completion, will include a children's home, hospital, a primary and secondary school, shopping complex and workers' quarters.
The children's home, which currently has 38 completed houses, houses 15 abandoned children under the care of foster mothers.
Amai Mugabe is working on adopting more children for the centre.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, the President dismissed misleading media reports that the project was inconveniencing residents.
Some media reports had indicated that more than 60 families had been displaced from the site.
The President however, praised Amai Mugabe's vision to give the underprivileged a "second chance" in life.
"I was particularly heartened to hear that the envisaged school will also admit children from communities surrounding it.
"This obviously proves false, the rumours which claim that the Grace Mugabe Foundation is bringing suffering to the communities," he said.
President Mugabe said the First Lady believed in giving dignity to every child whose birth or upbringing had been made difficult through the parents' difficult circumstances.
He said Amai Mugabe had, before the establishment of the children's home, identified intelligent but needy children and was sponsoring their education.
"Some of the children were identified while still at primary school, even as a similar exercise was underway for those who were doing their schooling."
President Mugabe said the First Lady had sponsored children up to university level and they had excelled and distinguished themselves in various fields.
He however, challenged society to play a role in the upbringing of disadvantaged children to have a better future.
Amai Mugabe said population growth presented the world with challenges of adequately investing in children to realise their goals.
She hailed Government's Look East policy.
"Look at what is happening to the West. They are having economic challenges but we are doing well here with the assistance from countries such as China," she said.
Amai Mugabe said the First Family had a vision of making education available to all Zimbabweans.
"It is an ideal whose fulfillment my husband and I pursue alongside all our endeavours to help the disadvantaged members of our society."
She however, said the home would want to address an outstanding challenge of reaching out to as many children as possible.
Amai Mugabe also hailed assistance from the Chinese government which offered to assist in the construction of the primary school.
She urged communities to focus on improving the lives of children.
"Educating our children is an important investment, never a waste! All our communities should be engaged."
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Xin Shun-kang said the primary school's construction symbolised the growing relations between the countries.
"Education has always been the priority of Zimbabwe and the foundation of development of the nation.
"Zimbabwe produces well-educated people who are employed locally and abroad," he said.
He said China would assist Zimbabwe and had constructed several institutions in the country including the National Defence College.
Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo said the home would benefit the Mazowe community and people surrounding the district.
"The development will also result in the employment of locals and the rise of Mazowe district to attain a town status.
"Mai Mugabe has contributed to the socio-economic turnaround of the country," he said.
Announcing the donation of three elephants to the Chinese government, Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Advocate Martin Dinha dismissed reports that the project had displaced people.
"There are only seven families that have been affected, they have since been engaged and satisfactorily compensated," he said.