HARARE – National Aids Council (Nac) is set to fund the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) programmes to the tune of $1,6 million in an effort to reduce the number of school dropouts.
Sibile Mpofu, Nac’s co-ordinator on the meaningful involvement of people living with HIV and Aids programme, said this year the organisation paid out $800 000 for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) under the Beam programme.
“In 2011, we gave close to $200 000 and the amounts donated have since increased resulting in Beam receiving $800 000 from Nac. We have not finalised the budget, but next year’s should be about $1,6 million,” he said.
According to Mpofu 60 percent of OVCs are hard hit by the epidemic and there were a lot of school dropouts.
“We have decided to intervene with a number of services such as food handouts and school uniforms,” Mpofu said.
“In addition, Nac has paid about $800 000 for OVCs from $500 000 compared to last year, this in an effort to help.”
Mpofu said it was an effort to help urban and rural child-headed families.
At least 2 500 children are living and working on the street and 5 000 children live in institutions according to the Department of Social Welfare.
Beam was created in 2000 to assist poor and marginalised children to access quality education and ensure they do not drop out of school.
However, since the economic meltdown, the Zimbabwean government had to revise its promise of making education free.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV and Aids (UNGASS) declaration of Commitment on HIV and Aids.