By Victoria Drury
The idea of the Yellow Bus Trust was conceived in about 2000. Seeing children running to school in the rural areas got me thinking about the quality of education they were receiving. I was sure that they had dedicated teachers, but I also knew that those teachers were having to teach under very difficult conditions. How could I, a teacher of long standing help?
Inspired, in part, by the flying Doctors of Australia, I wondered if I could equip a bus with teaching aids and resources, such as a portable laboratory, laptops, worksheets and a projector so that we could show educational films. The bus would visit clusters of schools, staying for a day at a time, and then moving on. A big vision!
In 2017, I took the plunge and endeavoured to bring the vision to reality. I resigned from my job, began to communicate with the Ministry of Education, and formed a Trust which was registered in August 2017. There are four Trustees, Heidi Visagie, Jennifer Mudehwe, Simon Muzenda and myself. Except for Simon, he is our financial advisor, we are all teachers.
The Ministry allowed us to run a pilot project at Marikopo Secondary School in the Seke area. We gave out questionnaires and discovered that whilst some of our assumptions had been correct, there were areas that we had not even thought about. For instance, the Primary School at Marikopo had not had paint for several years, the Early Child Development (ECD) teachers, had found it difficult to do Arts and Crafts because of the lack of basics. Not every pupil had the necessary stationery and none of the schools had a library or enough Readers.
We began doing what we could with limited funds. We ran workshops for teachers on how to use recyclable materials in the classrooms, on ways of teaching special needs pupils, on how to do Science experiments using everyday items and various others topics which would enable teachers to teach more effectively. We also began to collect stationery which we left with the Heads, so they could ensure that each pupil had enough for their needs. We were invited to other schools, and at present we work with two secondary schools, three primary schools and one ECD.
We are a small organisation with a big heart for the poor and disadvantaged! God is our provider and our guide, and everything we achieve is because if His love for us!
We have branched out into helping the informal learning centres established and run by the Simbarashe Trust. We have run workshops for their mentors and provided some teaching resources. We have also started teaching children who spend time on the streets. We work in conjunction with ACTs, who provide counselling, teaching on sexual issues and AIDS awareness, and the Anglican Cathedral who house the school and have a feeding program. We regularly use recyclable material to make educational games and aids, and we have started writing relatable readers and books for the pupils we deal with.
Find out more information about the Yellow Bus Trust on their Facebook page @yellowbustrustzimbabwe