Kuda Vana School
sustainable change begins with quality education
Kuda Vana is committed to providing our children with a first-rate education, with the goal to end the cycle of poverty and child abandonment and equip them to become self-sufficient adults. In a country with 95% unemployment, education is the key to the future, especially for an orphan. Although Zimbabwe has historically enjoyed one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, the educational system has declined rapidly. Teachers' salaries have suffered from the rapid inflation, and their attendance at school is not always reliable. Corporal punishment is a commonly used method of discipline.
A 2016 assessment of Kuda Vana's students found them to be at least one year behind academically in the public-school systems they were enrolled in. Much of this was due to missed schooling, trauma and cultural stigma’s placed on orphans.
Thus, we launched the Kuda Vana School in 2017 and hired two qualified local teachers to administer a nationally recognized curriculum to our primary-aged students (preschool through 8th grade). Kuda Vana sends our high school students to a variety of private boarding schools based on their academic and emotional needs. The Kuda Vana School is an essential step in preparing our children for a solid high school education, and ultimately a self-sufficient future, while in a safe and supportive environment.
In the year plus since the launch of the Kuda Vana School, almost all of our children have caught up to grade level, and many who were previously labeled as under-performers in the public-school system are now out-performing their public-school peers on national exams. Kuda Vana is also collaborating with organizations like Junior Achievement of Zimbabwe to provide entrepreneurship and financial literacy training for our students.
To continue the positive outcomes our school has had on our children, we must expand. Currently, one teacher oversees preschool through 2nd grade in one classroom, with 3rd-8thgrade being taught in our library and computer lab. In 2019, eight more children will be ready for preschool and primary school. Kuda Vana desperately needs to build two additional classrooms - this will allow more grade appropriate one-on-one teacher time, as well as better use of Kuda Vana’s computer lab and library as a resource rather than a classroom. As part of our expansion, Kuda Vana will also build teacher housing to accommodate an additional two teachers and eventually a therapist or social worker.