Organization of Rural Associations for Progress

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Organization of Rural Associations for Progress

Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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Dumsani Nyoni empowers school teachers and children, renewing their enthusiasm and capacity for teaching and learning. Dumsani links rural schools in Zimbabwe with schools in New York City, initiating a flow of much-needed used books and equipment to his country. Students and teachers from partnered schools correspond regularly via email and after two years, Dumsani's strategy has dramatically raised teacher performance and morale, and initiated a cultural shift towards learning in Zimbabwe.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

With little government funding for education, schools in Zimbabwe have long been without an available supply chain to meet their demand for books and other equipment. This void has stagnated learning and led to low teacher morale and high student failure rates. Through the Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP), Dumisani is changing that situation by directly linking rural Zimbabwean schools with schools in New York City. Currently working with 35 schools in New York and a corresponding 35 in Zimbabwe, Dumisani arranges for the U.S. schools to send library books, teaching materials, stationery, sports equipment, bicycles, clothes, shoes, and funds to their Zimbabwean counterparts. Receiving redistributed books and supplies that otherwise would have been thrown away improves all students' enthusiasm towards their classes and towards school overall. With sufficient resources in hand, schools also benefit from teacher training and mentoring programs. Zimbabwean communities are not the only ones to benefit. Through regular email exchange and ongoing relationship-building, youth and educators in New York City gain an unparalleled understanding of life for their peers outside the U.S. Far from simple charity donation, Dumisani's intercontinental partnerships add a global perspective to formerly unexplored channels of information and learning. A newfound global awareness on one hand, combined with an increase in resources on the other, awakens young students from both countries to the range of possibilities available to them and drives them to become more engaged learners. To make the most of this changed perspective, Dumisani also trains the schools to provide leadership programs, boys' and girls' summer camps, and intergenerational learning initiatives. Now two years old, the dual strategy of meeting basic needs in Zimbabwe by providing abundant supplies and by opening up access to the global community is showing dramatic results first in teacher performance and morale, second in community attitudes toward education, and third in overall student engagement. Schools that were once derelict have libraries and sports equipment, and their students have shoes to wear. Thanks to Dumisani's initiative, students are passing at higher rates, and a renewed culture of reading and learning has taken root.