If you are a girl born in Zimbabwe, the opportunities available to you in life can be very limited. Faced with a long history of gender inequality grounded in cultural and religious attitudes, boy children are given preferential treatment over girl children in terms of education. Girls comprise just 35% of the pupils in secondary education. This barrier to education, coupled with hostile economic conditions and a high unemployment rate results in girls often being ill-equipped to enter the workforce. Young girls in Zimbabwe are vulnerable to a host of challenges in securing themselves a bright and happy future. Our partners at the Rafiki Girls Centre aim to provide girls with a way out of poverty, empowering the most disadvantaged young women to take their futures into their own hands.
Providing specialist training in a range of career paths, Rafiki opens up a world of opportunities to young girls. From interior design to pre-school teaching, girls who apply to Rafiki can explore their potential through a series of courses designed to equip and empower them with the skills they need to advance in life. During the site visit in November 2019, our Chairman/co-founder Derrick, Operations Manager Andy and Trustee Hannah were able to see these courses in action, experiencing first-hand the ways in which Rafiki is improving the lives of young girls in Zimbabwe.
Derrick, Andy and Hannah had the privilege of observing a whole range of classes, which gave them an insight into the quality and standards of teaching provided by the amazing staff at Rafiki. They got their hair done at a cosmetology class, brushed up on their anatomy in Nurses’ Aid training, and even enjoyed a hotel-standard meal prepared by the Hotel and Catering students in the centre.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen our relationship with our partners, as well as placing on-going scrutiny on their practices. By challenging existing safeguarding standards and monitoring everything from applications to teaching to book-keeping, ZET made sure that every part of Rafiki’s processes were up to scratch, in order to deliver the best experience possible to the girls. Perhaps the most important part of the visit was ensuring the sustainability of the project, through thorough analysis and evaluation of its effectiveness and impact. Finally, the site visit presented us with an opportunity to learn, enabling us to plan for the years ahead.