Our school’s Zimbabwe project started in 2010 with an innocent meeting between myself and a parent of one of our children. The previous year I had cycled Vätternrundan together with some IES-colleagues to help raise money for ‘Barnhemmet’ - Jonny and Matias’ orphanage in Awassa, Ethopia. Now I was looking for a project that was unique for our school in Jönköping and via Elevaid and our very own Nonhlanhla “Nono” Berglund, I found it. Nono was a former student of Mafakela Primary School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and their toilets were in desperate need of sanitisation and repair. Cholera outbreaks were common and students were not able to sue the toilets or drink water there.
Our cooperation over the following years saw many adventures, including a desperate rush (battle?) to get a tourist visa approved in order to visit the school and meet the staff, students and parents. That trip was an adventure all by itself - one and a half days to get there, three days there and one and a half days to get back. Not quite your normal weekend getaway! The people we met and the stories we heard left a footprint and we returned to Sweden knowing we had to do everything we could to help them.
We ran many local fundraising projects at our school including the now infamous Varley Gangnam Style video to pull our students together around this common cause. We also received incredible help and generosity of our local Rotary June club and Rotary International we eventually managed to complete the project in full. We renovated all the toilet blocks and set up a rainwater collection system for the school. In the very near future we are also sending some of the leftover fundraising money to help boost their teaching materials as the school is in clear need of help there as well. The project is drawing to a close now and we wish our partners the best of luck.