Amanda Lind and Thea Stangeland from Norway return to Antelope Park
When we left Antelope Park last year it was with heavy hearts. We both cried from when we said our goodbyes until we landed in Oslo 24 hours later. The time we spent at Antelope Park had been the greatest time of our life. One reason was the project in itself; actually helping people that really need it, and being part of such a huge thing as saving a species from extinction, is an incredible experience. The wonderful people working at Antelope Park was also a big reason for why it was so hard to leave. We made a promise to ourselves that we would come back.
In July we came back to Antelope Park and it was amazing to meet up with the staff and kids, and to see the lions again. Even though it was over a year since we had left we felt at home immediately. Last time we were in Zimbabwe we saw how much they needed donations, but since we had been traveling for four months already, we had no money to donate. Because of that we decided that we wanted to bring and donate some money when we were back again. During the year we were home we both worked and saved a bit every month, and when we got back to the Park we had quite a big amount; over USD 2400. After a meeting with two of the managers we agreed on splitting the money so that half of it would go to the lion project, and the other half to one of the community projects.
The Mudavanhu School is for children with different mental diseases so that they can come to learn to take care of themselves. The classes are divided by the kids’ skills, and not by age. In the first grade they learn how to go to the bathroom, how to eat and drink, how to put on a jacket and other basic skills. Each child stays in the same grade until he´s ready to move on to the next one. Some of them stay in the same class for years. Since most of the kids live at the school, they eat every meal there as well, so if the school doesn´t get any donations in a while, they eat dry bread the whole day.
It was amazing to see the children we had worked with last year and their progress. The kids at this school are so loving both to each other and to us that come to visit. And you can really see that just by being there you make them feel special and important, which is part of what these kids need.
This school had not gotten any donations in a long time, and they had sent a list to Antelope Park of basic groceries and medical equipment that they desperately needed. That is why we decided to help this school. We used a day together with a helpful driver from the Park and went to a big grocery store to buy the things on the list. We got a lot of help from the people working at the store as well and after a couple of hours the truck was full of supplies. Our last stop was a couple of pharmacies to buy the medical equipment, and then we drove to the school to hand everything over to them. While we were loading the stuff off the truck the kids started cheering out of joy. They had been eating dry bread every meal for some weeks by that time. We had an emotional meeting with the headmaster Susan where we explained why we had chosen to donate to them and she told us how bad things had been there lately, and that they almost had to close the school. She thanked us, and blessed us and even cried a little bit, so of course we teared up as well and the whole meeting was emotional and moving. We had bought groceries enough for half a year and there are no words for how it felt to give that to these people.
We left Antelope Park again with tearful goodbyes and heavy hearts. We have gained a lot of new experiences, a lot of new friends and we promised again that we would come back.
About Mudavanhu School for the Disabled
Mudavanhu is a school located in the high density suburb of Mkoba 10 in Gweru, Zimbabwe, and educates severely disabled children. The school caters for 45 children, and even though they may not be taught the same as in mainstream schooling, they are taught life skills – from learning how to clean themselves all the way up to learning basic skills like gardening, carpentry and sewing. This school not only makes these children feel a part of something, but they also offer them a chance at for a better quality of life.
About School Development Projects
Our aim is to increase the capacity of the schools with which we work to offer higher learning possibilities for their pupils.
All the schools surrounding our project sites are severely resource limited with classes that are over-crowded and lacking educational materials. Our projects therefore focus on:
• School building and refurbishment to create improved learning environments;
• Resource provision to provide teachers with the educational materials they need to enhance lessons;
• Teacher assistance to help teachers plan and run lessons more effectively.
All programmes are operated in agreement with the school in question, and with approval from relevant educational boards.
There are a number of ways you can join our school development projects to assist in the delivery of the various programmes. Click on the following links for further information:
- Those with some teaching experience can join our Teaching in Africa internship
- Researchers interested in assisting us assess the effectiveness of our programmes can join our Research in the Community Internship
- Even if you have no teaching experience, there is still much you can do to help deliver our programmes as part of our volunteer programmes
Support Our Work
If you would like to support our school development activities please click here.