In yet another gesture of corporate social responsibility, the CHINA Africa Economic and Culture Exchange Research Centre (CAECERC) in partnership with M&G Stationery on Wednesday extended 200 scholarships and 400 stationery packages to underprivileged students in Harare Council Primary Schools.
CAECERC) is a non-governmental organization registered in Zimbabwe dedicated to the advancement of cultural and socio-economic development.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, held at Sunningdale 2 Council Primary School, CAECERC Chairman, Mr Zivanai Steve Zhao said he was elated to represent the Chinese community in Zimbabwe on the scholarship program to students and community members.
“China and Zimbabwe enjoy cordial relations that date back even before the liberation struggle. We are just continuing the journey as new Chinese immigrants in Zimbabwe. We have been trying our level best to work with communities, not only in the education sector but in other areas of economic development. We have built roads, airports and several infrastructures,” he said.
“The partnership today has nothing to do with the government; it’s just for people to people. In 2020 when Covid-19 started we realised that local people were facing challenges for paying school fees and the general day to day upkeep of their families. As a community we somehow feel pressure from our local people as we work with you every day. So the Chinese community had to come up with this scholarship program. We also have the same program for universities called the China-Zimbabwe Scholarship program and we are supporting universities across the country. Currently we are paying fees for 33 underprivileged students.
“We thank our partners, Harare City Council, for giving us this chance to work together and support children in need; hence we are presenting the scholarships today. This year we are going to be giving scholarships to 20 schools and for each school we select 10 children. As for our partner, M&G will be providing stationary for 20 children at each school. In 2023 we are targeting 50 schools and in 2024 we will be targeting 100 schools in Zimbabwe. For this program we will be working closely with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“We believe the children are the key to the future and the hope of any nation. On behalf of the Chinese community I am encouraging all the children to continue studying hard because there is more life will offer in future despite the current hardships. We will want to work with any community in the future in any program as our doors are always open.
Speaking at the same occasion, M&G Country Director Huanwen Xu said all success needs to go through hard work and called forth for students to study hard in order to achieve their dreams.
“Today we are gathering here to share exactly this happiness with full of hope. We come to Zimbabwe with our mission of letting students have quality stationery,” he said.
“We will be happy to provide quality stationery to all students, no matter where you are in the city or rural areas, no matter if you are in a public school or private school. Through the scholarship and the stationery prize, we hope it will plant the seeds of hope, encouraging you to study harder until the moment of the harvest.”
In a speech read on his behalf by Mr Patson Mangwiro, Acting Harare Mayor, Musarurwa Mutizwa said the gesture is important, not only to the recipients but to all Zimbabweans as it resonates well with the country’s quest to provide quality education at affordable prices.
“There is a well-known saying that knowledge changes a person’s fate. Education is by far the wisest investment for a person, family and a country,” he said.
“Primary education is a golden opportunity for a person to equip himself with basic education to pave a meaningful and successful life ahead. The City of Harare attaches great importance to education cooperation and I am informed that this gesture will encourage and motivate many students to work harder so that they can be part of this programme which I am told will be extended. I want to thank CAERCRC for awarding the scholarships and would like to assure you that the Council is open to partner you in this field and other areas as you know Council is like a mini-government,” said Mangwiro.
Harare Provincial Education Director, Mr Cloud Nyambuya thanked the Chinese institutions and emphasised that the gesture was not selective and will be rolled out to other government schools.
“Selection of Council Primary Schools is not segregation but the programme will be extended to other government schools as we are all aware that the success of any country depends on the level of education of its people. Those that invest in education harvest more,” he said.
Kuwadzana 3 Council Primary School Headmistress, Mrs Stellah Gunje who spoke on behalf of school heads could not hide her joy and encouraged CAECERC and M&G to extend this noble gesture to other remaining council schools.
“We feel honoured to be part of this exciting program. We are very grateful for what CAECERC has offered our schools. Underprivileged learners in selected council schools have something to smile about,” she said.
“It is a dream come true for these students for these children and we Heads of Council Primary Schools humbly request CAECERC and its partners to extend this program to the other schools. Our promise to Heads of Council Primary Schools is to work hard in order to achieve academic excellence in the schools we are deployed as accounting officers. To the beneficiaries of the scholarships, work hard and don’t put this opportunity to waste,” said Gunje.