SELF-TRANSFORMATION, GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY, & EDUCATION VOLUNTEER TRIP TO ZIMBABWE
I am Dr. Molly Madziva and I am the founder and Executive Director of the Macheke Sustainability Project (MSP). MSP is a non-profit that focuses on education and sustainability in the rural village of Macheke in Zimbabwe, Africa. Our work looks at the challenges facing communities, like Macheke, and searches for solutions that are sustainable and culturally relevant. Our goal is to use our findings to develop a global model of aid that celebrates and uplifts those in need through support and education. Learn more about me, my team, and our work here: http://machekeproject.org/initiatives/
A Global Celebration of Education
At the end of 2018, I traveled with 12 volunteers from across the United States to my hometown of Macheke, Zimbabwe. This incredible volunteer travel team included a US Navy veteran, an engineer, a retired teacher, a clinical research coordinator, artists, a Registered Nurse, a college professor & students, and an 8-year-old who used her passport for the very first time!
We traveled to Zimbabwe in the celebration of education because of the lifelong impact that it has on an individual. My first ever visit to a library was in 1985. My fourth-grade class had a library session and, wow, I was nervous. The room felt small with no natural light. I don’t remember a window, but perhaps it was hidden behind the giant bookshelves. Dim light bulbs hung wearily from the ceiling. I was 10-years-old and had never seen so many shelves so tightly packed with books. And the unique scent of the room was captivating! I was in book heaven.
Education is Empowerment
Even though I wasn’t a confident reader, I already knew that this place would give me back more than what had been taken away. So I checked out my first ever library book. I guarded it with everything I had and spent the following days looking over the words. Our next library day came and, again, I took a book and walked the school grounds with it. Being near books gave me permission to practice reading. And, with every book, I improved. Suddenly, I was not ashamed of my reading difficulties.
It didn’t matter to me what the book was. It just felt right that I had an opportunity to read the world. I remember the diary of Anne Frank and how I identified with the narrative of courage and resilience. I found out that in books, I could be memorable and I could matter. Poverty appears when one does not matter. When one doesn’t matter to oneself or to the world at large.
Almost four decades later, I am grateful for those learning opportunities that continue to open my horizons. I am also very aware that many children in Macheke have yet to visit a library for their first time. And that is why the Macheke Sustainability Project exists, so we can change that.
Beyond traveling to a new place, our intrepid travel team reached AND SURPASSED their fundraising goal. They raised over $14,000 and provided the town with an ambulatory medical vehicle, school books & computers, period products that will last a full school year, and medications for the village clinic.
In addition to the material resources, we were able to spend time with the people of Macheke. Which was all-around transformational and lead to the creation of inspiring global friendships.
THANK YOU to Barry Segal and Tara DeNuccio for sponsoring past grants and to all the generous hearts who have taken the time to contribute to our efforts. Anyone interested in donating and helping us continue to make an impact can do so here: http://machekeproject.org/support-macheke/
SELF-TRANSFORMATION & GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY TRIP INITIATIVES
- With the support of Scholastic Books and others, we provided a library of books & laptops to Macheke Primary School to help empower 1,700 students to read efficiently at their grade level.
- We planted hundreds of native species trees in various parts of the community.
- Volunteers spent a day mentoring 300 students at the Monte Cassino Girls High School – these students have received the highest grades in the national exams a few years in a row.
- The Macheke Rural Clinic has a 23,000-patient catchment area and received essential medical supplies, as well as 2 days of Volunteer Clinician services.
- We had a borehole drilled in Macheke to give indispensable access to clean water to over 3,000 people.
Dr. Moleen Madziva
Executive Director, Macheke Sustainability Project