Tuckshop project protects children from unsafe migration
A tuckshop that is being run by the Child Protection Committee (CPC) at Langeni Primary School in Beitbridge District has made great impact in the lives of nine vulnerable children at the school who were struggling to remain in school owing to lack of school fees, through payment of their school fees using proceeds from the project. The district, which has recorded high numbers of children who have embarked on unsafe migration, has been grappling to keep children in school.
The tuckshop project is one of many other income-generating projects that are being implemented by Child Protection Committees across the district with support from the Beitbridge Rural District Council and Save the Children. The Child Protection Committees are comprised of volunteers from the community, and teachers and they are responsible for the day-to-day running of the projects on the ground.
Poverty is one of the many factors which lead minors from Zimbabwe to migrate to neighbouring South Africa. Poverty often results in failure by parents and caregivers to pay school fees, thus forcing some children to drop out of school and they resort to leaving the country in search of employment.
The aim of the tuckshop income-generating project is to raise funds through selling goods, with the proceeds being used to pay school fees for the needy and vulnerable children, thus protecting children from unsafe migration and at the same time keeping them in school.
The tuckshop project kicked off in October 2017 with a start-up of eight hundred dollars provided by Save the Children, through the Beitbridge Rural District Council. One of the Child Protection Committee members Ndwambi Shoko says that they identified children who come from poor families to benefit from the project.
“So far, the project is supporting six boys and three girls and these are children coming from really poor families. Some children live with grandparents who cannot work anymore and some come from child-headed households.”
Protasio Hwereshenga, who is the Langeni Primary School headmaster commended the tuckshop project for assisting the needy children.
“Some children were no longer coming to school and this project has really changed our community. I am sure if we continue with this spirit of helping our children, five years from now we would have reached out to many children in need and unsafe migration of children will become a thing of the past.”
The tuckshop project funds are also used to purchase stationery for children and so far, 48 children are being given books and pens at Langeni Primary School.
Apart from the tuckshop project, other Child Protection Committees are running poultry farming projects, goat production projects and buying and selling of cattle and clothing projects.
The Beitbridge Rural District Council has so far provided financial support to 14 Child Protection Committees across the district, to enable them to establish Income generating projects to benefit orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities. Each committee was given $800 as initial capital and received a number of trainings on how to manage income generating projects as well as financial literacy. Plans are in place to support more committees in the district.