Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Dear friends,

Just getting back from Goromonzi today made me reflect on a few issues going on in this country. I visited a couple of schools this morning, to see how they are coping, the enrollment levels and the need out there. This helps to inform us of the immediate areas that need urgent action and keeps our fingers on the pulse so to speak. One of the schools I visited which is 45km east of Harare, our capital city which is roughly about a 30 minute ride, had the most depressing classroom site. This school is a high school with 233 children as of today. one class, had 89 children! yes 89 kids all in one class and the furniture for the children made my heart skip a beat. These kids are literally sitting on each other! the head teacher mentioned to me that the kids come as early as 6am to school so as to get the best sitting spot.

Some years back whilst working for Mercy Corps, i was involved in the construction of this one school block that makes up the entire school and in my mind before the visit, I had conjured up an image of a well progressed school with furniture etc. This was not be as what I saw today was shocking. One would easily be forgiven for thinking that the schools closer to the fun capital Hararararrrrre would be better equipped and taken care of. That was not the case and as I left the school I only managed to say to the school authorities that I will be back! that situation is totally unacceptable and I felt God saying we need to act. I have started making some phone calls and I am getting interesting results from local people who want to be involved.

When, when and when? That is my question today. When are we going to be able to be able to support the struggling schools and give help to all these schools. each of them by the way has differing needs but when you look at them you say to yourself this does not take a lot. When are local companies going to rise and give back to the communities around the fun capital. Impact is not measured by what you have managed to do in Harare, in fact as a company your corporate social responsibility program goes further when providing support to outlaying areas such as the above mentioned peri urban schools.

Lastly I have been meeting various representatives/staff from the well to do companies in the fun capital with a view of roping them into the work we are doing. Honestly the economy has not taken off in a manner that gives these companies some funds to leverage but I am saying all it takes is making a commitment to act NOW!

Have a great week friends until next time...


If you can't get people to listen to you any other way, tell them it's confidential.
-Farmer's Digest

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

impacting communities

Dear friends,

I have been part of exciting meetings in Harare with organizations working in Early Childhood and Development as well as humanitarian aid organizations. Since last Thursday we have been trying to coordinate each other to see how we can best respond to the impending food crisis. Zimbabwe did not have a good farming season due to a variety of factors topmost being inadequate preparations and poor knowledge on the changing climate. I am pleased that though funding options for our work is limited, there is a lot of commitment by small organizations to help poor families who face starvation because of the crisis. We are planning as Nhaka Foundation to provide additional feeding to the under 5s through the preschool centers in our area of operation.

In the conversations I have been involved in I have been disheartened but not surprised that the bigger aid organizations operating in this country (sorry, no names to be mentioned) are not reaching out to the really vulnerable people on the ground because of their operational policies, staff compliments, how they get caught up in politics etc, among a host of other issues. These are things that I have always known especially since I used to work for a big aid agency myself. General consensus that has come out in my interactions with fellow colleagues in development buttresses my view that small organizations are in the lead and indeed are the champions in improving the welfare, livelihood and general living conditions of the poor and vulnerable in society. These small organizations are the ones knocking on doors in high density suburbs, in remote villages and tending to the daily issues affecting communities. A case in point, as I wondered aloud to my colleagues one afternoon is that I wonder, how many of these "big" aid organizations receive people from the villages on foot, with their children on their backs or in tow behind them, or receive daily calls on their mobile phones from headmasters in the villages talking about the list of children being sent home because of non payment of a $5 sports affiliation fee? how many of these organizations are welcoming enough and responding to these desperate situations?

Strange enough though, these organizations have funding to pay for high security walls and security guards to not only guard their premises and keep staff "safe" but literally the very same guards chase away the guardians and children who approach their offices for assistance! I am not in any measure trying to start a "war" here but maybe opening up room for discussion on how effectively a dollar is being used by these organizations. I know this does not make me friends in the big organizations operating in this country but let the truth be told. I rest my case.

I am excited to be part of a group of organizations here in Zimbabwe championing for the establishment of a network of small grassroots organizations working in early childhood development. Nhaka Foundation is the lead agency in this effort and we will be updating you, Friends of Nhaka on the progress the consortium makes.

Enjoy the reading and look forward to your feedback.

There is really nothing more to say except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.
-Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Patrick Makokoro 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hello and Welcome to  the Nhaka Foundation blog,

At long last, the website is launched! It has been interesting working on the website and putting into perspective the work we have been doing in Zimbabwe. I am very excited to be sharing the website to all of our friends and supporters here in Zimbabwe and abroad. Working with children in difficult circumstances is such a heart moving experience as on a daily basis you get to terms with how difficult life can be for the littlest and most vulnerable children. In days gone by I have been reflecting and engaging in conversations on the fragility of life and the difference we should all strive to make on the life of another human being. 

Someone shared with me recently that " a hundred years from now, it would not matter what her bank account balance was, the sort of house she lived in nor the car she drove but she would want to be counted on the number of lives she impacted and transformed" I think many a time we tend to focus on the earthly treasures and being selfish with the resources given to us and not reaching out to not only orphans and vulnerable children but also to the aged, widows, grandparent headed households, the poor and less fortunate members of our communities. These groups of people are not only found in Zimbabwe but all around the world sometimes being more apparent in the capitals of the "wealthy" nations of the world.

In this blog not only will we be giving you updates of our work, challenges we are facing, news on our programs and the children but we will also give some thought provokers that will get us out of our comfort zones so that we are spurred to give and help the less privileged members of society and most importantly be the difference we wish to see in the world!

"True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new."

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Happy surfing and let the conversations begin

Patrick Makokoro
Nhaka Foundation 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012