Community volunteering case study - Ann and Simbarashe

15 May 2019

Be smart when you book your community volunteer programme; ask questions, be sure where your money is going, and be certain exactly what work you will be doing, and the impact it will have. We always recommend you ask for case studies about success stories and real projects that volunteers have contributed to, or accomplished during their stay.

Ann and Simbarashe
Project: Rhino & Elephant Conservation
Country: Zimbabwe

Ann, from Wisconsin, USA, was a volunteer who first came to Zimbabwe in 2013. As part of the volunteer programme, she met community elders in the Imire and Wedza area, who told her about a talented young man called Simbarashe, who was unable to carry on his schooling because of severe financial constraints. She was inspired by his story and took it upon herself to sponsor him. Her support for a rural young man, has enabled him to branch and grow, an opportunity that would never have been afforded to him without contact with international volunteers.

This is Simbarashe's story.

"My name is Simbarashe Mbofana. My parents passed away when I was very young, so I am living with my grandparents.

After I finished my Ordinary Level exams (O Levels) in 2013 at the age of 16, my grandparents could no longer afford to send me to school. My dream was to go to A Level and complete my high school education. In late 2014, I received a call from the former deputy Headmistress of Numwa Secondary School, Mrs
Matsika. This marked the beginning of my bright future.

Ann started to pay my school fees for Lower 6 at Cherutombo high school in Marondera, in 2015. She paid the whole fees, including the registration fee
and my transport, because I was commuting from Wedza every day (about 40km). When I was about to finish my A Levels she decided to send me to the
university - that was the greatest privilege and honour that I had never dreamt of in my life. I managed to pass my A Levels and get a place at Chinhoyi University to study towards an International Marketing degree.

I started University in 2017 and I am currently at my student attachment at the Standards Association of Zimbabwe in Borrowdale, Harare. I am enjoying my University life. I am a runner, and in 2017, I qualified to go to Taipei to run. To enable to me to take up the amazing opportunity, Ann helped me get a passport to travel. Last year, in order to accept my attachment in Harare, a drivers license was an entry requirement and Ann helped me to get my licence, which I passed. Ann is contributing to my life, like what a mother would do to her son - she is my mother.

When I finish my degree, I would like to do a Masters in Business and Administration, and get an international certification, studying through an organisation like UNISA or Oxford. My dream is to be the Chief Marketing Officer of a company.

My message to volunteers who want to come to Zimbabwe:

Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay, but just the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.
Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love
."

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