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Archive for May, 2008

The 21-day challenge – for Matopo

Posted by Illya on 27 May 2008

In the last post I wrote about Matopo. Well, I’ve put some thought into it and decided that it’s time for more than just words.

At the moment there is much suffering in the world and all eyes are turned east towards China and Burma. People’s suffering in these places is horrifying, but the charity being generated throughout the world is commendable.

Yet there are other places of need and suffering. Places that don’t get in the news, or get forgotten as soon as the next media story comes up.

For these smaller, less “famous” places I’d like to set up a challenge. How much goodwill can be generated in 21 days?

The challenge will begin June 1st and last for exactly 3 weeks.

If you know of a small project that you could contribute to, then feel free to generate money, goods or any other kind of support for this project.

However, this challenge is being made with the Matopo Primary School project ( in mind.

I’ve been trying to support it as well through my blogging, but feel this just isn’t enough – thus the challenge.

For Swiss teachers and any others willing to join in, here is what you can do:

Primary schools – start a collection of school materials (they need everything!). What can be found around the homes of the kids in the school? What are neighbours willing to donate?

The class can then write a letter to the school and say something about themselves and their work.

Remember that materials should be in good condition, especially considering that getting the materials down is very expensive and so shouldn’t have to land in the garbage.

Business classes –If you are working in a company, the learners can present the case to the person(s) in charge and make a suggestion for a possible donation (a good one is to pay for part of the shipping!) Again, include a letter to the school, giving them your support.

Adult classes – You could write letters to different firms requesting donations with a description of the project and what is needed.

Leave a comment saying  how much you hope to achieve, and we will be in touch with you immediately. Your aims will be added to the Matopo primary school blog and followed by the etasblog.

Please let us know if you are willing to take the 21 day challenge!

Thank you

Illya and Cindy

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Matopo – every bit of help counts

Posted by Illya on 17 May 2008

Over at the Matopo Primary school blog Cindy has posted a preview of an article for the ETAS Journal.

I’m sure you’ve all been following what is happening in Zimbabwe. It’s tough times and who knows whether the opposition will be able to stand up to the pressure that’s being put on them.

Here is just a short exerpt from the article on the Matopo blog:

From Patson Mpofu I also heard that “things are bad in schools as teachers are on strike and not at work…schools have become meeting places for the kids since teachers are not there…(but at) Matopo we are at work and our focus is to help the pupils though things are tough and the regime clings on to power…”

I think it would not be exaggerating to say that Matopo Primary School has been able to survive the worst of the devastation because of YOU—ETAS members who have supported our project.

Dear reader,

Especially in this time of trouble, our support means all the more to the teachers and kids in this school. It may be just a small effect in the larger scheme of things, but if it’s possible to help even just a few, the world has become a better place.

So what can we do? Here are a few suggestions:

Have a school collect. The school is in need of basics – everything we see as given – paper, pens and pencils, erasers, and these are just the little things.

If you teach business English, why not practice letter-writing with a request for donations? Cindy would be sure to give you any documentation needed for this.

All help is welcome!

And now one more:

Zimbabwean children are bearing the brunt of the political crisis. (File photo) (AFP: Gianluigi Guercia)

ABC News also reports how ‘Children are bearing the brunt’ from April 14th.

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