I just got back from a month-long trip to Zimbabwe, and I have some exciting news to update you on. Firstly, if have not heard about TESE Foundation, please scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to find out more about our organization.
My family accompanied me on this visit, and we had a wonderful time. This was my children’s first visit to Zimbabwe. They were filled with excitement in discovering their motherland, as well as being able to meet all the students we have been supporting over the years. Prior to the trip, I asked the TESE students to write down one item they would like to receive for Christmas. It was humbling to know they wished for basic necessities, such as umbrellas, socks, and underwear.
There is a huge sanitary hygiene crisis in Zimbabwe, which greatly affects our students’ performance in school. Many female students do not, and cannot, go to school while on their menstrual cycle because they lack personal hygiene supplies. Hence last year, we started a project called #GotUnderwear? and collected underwear for the girls in our program. Through the collaborative efforts of the community—businesses, service clubs, and even high school students—we received many donations of underwear. In addition, we were able to give the girls some much needed sanitary pads.
Some of our supporters—thank you for your donations!
Underwear is seen as a luxury item that many needy families cannot afford to prioritise, and there currently aren’t any social services for the poor in the Country. I was touched by how powerful the gift of underwear was for these girls and some boys. During the trip, we had the opportunity to visit the students’ families. Their family members continuously expressed their gratitude for all of our efforts in providing clean and usable underwear, as well as our major role in covering tuition costs. A great burden was lifted off of their shoulders as they do not have to worry about their children being kicked out of school for not having textbooks, undergarments, and tuition paid. To support us with this and other similar projects, please click here donate to our foundation.
Our students were so happy when they received their underwear.
Along with the underwear and umbrellas, we were also able to give them soccer balls and cleats, which were donated by our community in the states. After the distribution, there were 150 pieces of larger-sized underwear left over. I was then introduced to Harare’s Superintendent of Prisons, who disclosed the female inmates’ great needs for underwear. All the extra underwear was given to the prison. There are over 3,000 incarcerated women in Harare’s prison, and many have children, who serve the sentence with their mothers. I promised the superintendent I would collaborate with them in the future, with the hopes of giving underwear to the women and essentials for their children. To read more about the current prison crisis in Zimbabwe click here.
Left: Inmates are grateful for underwear. Right: Inmates and their children receiving underwear, soccer balls, and clothes from the TESE Foundation.
Our students started school in January, and there is already a list of items that require financial help—tuition, uniforms, textbooks, sanitary pads, etc. Without these, there is a possibility our students will be kicked out of school. I cannot stress enough how much I need your partnership and how much the students need your help.
This Valentine’s Day, instead of buying chocolates or flowers, please consider giving the gift of education to a child. Please consider donating $50 to pay for a whole term’s tuition. Sixty-five million girls in the World today are being denied the right to go to school; take part in decreasing that number! As a form of appreciation, we will send a card to your loved one, and if they live in Sacramento/Davis area, we will send them a rose. With your support, we can give all children their rightful opportunity to have an education. To donate, please visit our donation page.
Nathalie Minya Mukome
Founder and President
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