20 April 2016
|With access to quality education, refugees can better fulfill their own potential and be in a better position to grow their communities, whether back home when they are repatriated, when they are resettled to other countries or whilst they are still seeking refuge.|
Tongogara, 20 April 2016 - This year, has been declared as the year of Mercy by Pope Francis. This mercy has been extended, not only to the individual, but to include what an individual can do for his/her fellow man, “to extend the mercy of God to those in need”. This declaration has seen companies and individuals alike donating toward the cause of refugees in Tongogara Refugee Camp. Thanks to a talk given by Zerene Haddad - based at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) International Office in Rome - at St George’s College in Harare on Mercy in Motion, and how the campaign aims to get over 220 000 children into school by 2020.
Moved by the speech, the CEO of Zimbabwe Publishing House, as a way of giving back to the community, and putting mercy into motion, donated secondary school textbooks for the school library to the value of $16 222.42. These books are for all the subjects offered in the secondary school under the Zimbabwe School Syllabus, from form 1 to form 4.
Not to be outdone in putting mercy into motion, African Wildlife Conservation Fund also put forward a donation for the secondary school library as well as the JRS library. They donated shelving and reading books for the school library and reading books for the JRS library. These books at the secondary school will go a long way in ensuring that the student-to-book ratio is reduced, less students will be sharing textbooks which will make for easier and more effective studying. The reading books as well in the JRS library will ensure that the culture of reading that JRS has been trying to instill in the children is maintained, especially over the school holidays where the children have a lot of time on their hands.
At JRS, we believe that refugees must rebuild their lives, and the most certain way to do so is for them to get an education, be it at school level and even beyond at tertiary or vocational. Education contributes to peace building and fosters the development of more resilient and cohesive societies. With access to quality education, refugees can better fulfill their own potential and be in a better position to grow their communities, whether back home when they are repatriated, when they are resettled to other countries, or right here in Zimbabwe whilst they are still seeking refuge.
The JRS library in Tongogara Refugee Camp plays an important role within the community. Not only is it a place where the community of Tongogara can read, study and thereby expand their knowledge, but it is a social hub, where people meet and ideas are exchanged. For many adults in the camp, the library is a cultural hub for an exchange in ideas, concepts and thoughts. It is where people ascend beyond their status as displaced people and return to their thoughts for a better future.
The donated books will have a massive impact on the students that attend Saint Michael’s Secondary School as well as the rest of the community that frequent the library. The donations of these books puts mercy in motion as it injects new lessons, ideas, concepts and expands the imagination.
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