Shamva school gets cement boost for classrooms

Fungai Lupande

Mash Central Bureau

Mandimu Primary School in Ward 21, Shamva South, whose learners are still using makeshift classrooms, has received a boost from PPC Zimbabwe, which donated 200 bags of cement.

It was started in 2015 as a pole and dagga school and parents later mobilised resources for the construction of a two-classroom block.

Children in this area used to walk for 14km to school before Mandimu Primary School was established.

Although some of the initial temporal structures were demolished, 422 learners are sharing the two classrooms, plus makeshift structures of poles, grass and iron sheets.

The donation by PPC Zimbabwe came at an opportune time when construction of a second classroom block is underway.

Ward 21 Councillor, Alderman Willard Zihowa, said the makeshift classrooms were a starting point for the community to access education near them.

“We started with the little that we had as we looked for ways to improve the school for our children. When PPC Zimbabwe started its operations in 2018, they provided a truck for us to carry pit sand for the construction of the school,” he said.

“We also approached local companies to help us with trucks to carry bricks and sand. Now, PPC Zimbabwe has availed cement and this is an indication that they care about the community.

“This community does not have a secondary school. The stand has been cited and we still need help so we start with one block for the secondary school.”

Alderman Zihowa said the school’s electricity transformer was struck by lightning and the school is now relying on solar energy, which is not adequate.

Teacher-in-Charge at the school, Mrs Batirai Nhindire who was representing the school head, said the community was playing a major role in the construction of the school by providing building material and labour.

Parents moulded over 70 000 bricks for the second block.

She said after Grade 7, learners either go to Shamva or Uzumba for their secondary education.

“As a school we are grateful to the donation by PPC Zimbabwe, which will go a long way in speeding up construction of the second block,” she said.

A villager, Mr Arnold Munduwe, said the coming of big companies like PPC Zimbabwe in their community would transform their lives. Mr Munduwe, who is in the brick moulding business, said as local people get employment opportunities, his business will become viable as people build better houses.

“When big companies come into our community, we expect them to contribute to the development of our area.

“We heard that some local youths were employed and we are thankful,” he said.

Mr Tazvitya Chimuriwo, whose children are enrolled at Mandimu Primary School, expressed gratitude to PPC Zimbabwe.

He said before establishment of the school children were going to Nherera Primary School about 14km.

“Now that we have a school nearby, our children sometimes come back home for their lunch breaks. As parents we contributed immensely towards the construction of the school.

“It was not easy, but we are now enjoying the benefits. Now, PPC Zimbabwe has chipped in and we are now aiming for a secondary school and clinic.

“We are sending our children away to stay with relatives and friends close to secondary schools because we do not have them here.”

PPC Zimbabwe’s Harare plant manager, Mr Martin Moyo, said they were touched by the plight of the school and decided to extend a helping hand.

“We are operating factories in Harare, Bulawayo and Gwanda. Our totem is the elephant, (Nzou/ Ndlovu) which represents the strength that we guarantee in our products,” he said.

“We are a part of the great nation of Zimbabwe. We have been mining limestone in Shamva since 2017, which is used as an extender at our cement plant in Harare.

“Our mining operations eased in 2019 and 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We started ramping up production after Covid-19.”

Mr Moyo said the company plays an active role in uplifting the standards of life in communities they operate in.

The aim is to deliver on sustainable initiatives in education, enterprise development, infrastructure development and environmental protection, said Mr Moyo.

“We are excited about our relationship with this community, and we are looking forward to many more years of good cooperation as we work together towards making our country a great success,” he said.

Shaman Mine has seven blocks and a 13-year lifespan. The mine is producing 10 000 tonnes of limestone per month.

“We use the limestone from Shamva as an extender which we will dilute with pure cement from Colleen Bawn in Gwanda. Shamva Mine is supporting a 700 000 metric tonne per annum production plant,” said Mr Moyo.

“This makes us the biggest cement producer in the country with a possible production rate of 1, 4 million metric tonnes per annum.”

Head of legal affairs, Mr Stephen Nyabadza, said local people are prioritised on employment opportunities.

Presently, 13 locals are employed and the staff complement on site is about 40 people.

He said they have agreed with Chaminuka Rural District Council for the maintenance of the road with the long-term plan being to incorporate other big companies operating in the area.

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