A gift that truly keeps on giving

We drove for hours up bumpy, dusty roads, scaling far-winding cliff-sides sparsely dotted with small straw-roofed homes and brown fields – the lasting evidence of an exceedingly tough dry season.

And then we saw it.

Not just a school, but a full compound filled with impressively maintained brightly painted buildings, and lined with immaculate vegetation growing lush from dull, rusty earth.

The space exuded pride of ownership and a feeling of safety and comfort only found in a truly positive atmosphere.

It was the high school we’d heard of.

A smiling girl waves from her classroom window at the Gifts of Hope-supported high school campus.

A few years back, this school had been the recipient of a few farmload of animals Gifts of Hope, generously given by Canadians like you.

Today – years later – their impact is still very much felt, and is rippling out in incredible ways.

So, how did a farmload of animals turn into a girls’ dormitory? Join our journey to find just how far one Gift of Hope can go:

Start the tour now

 

It all started with one Canadian and a Gift of Hope…

After being warmly received, our gracious hosts were eager to show us around, highlighting just what they’ve done with the place since receiving your supportive farmload of animals gifts.

And that’s precisely where the tour kicked-off: starting with an opportunity that Canadians, just like you, decided to share in the form of farmloads of animals Gifts of Hope – including 12 fluffy sheep and 5 little pigs that would go on to do GREAT, BIG things.

Opportunities create opportunities,

Evans, one of the program facilitators, tells us, having seen firsthand where it all began.

Dual panel: a sign that reads: Livestock project supported by Plan International Canada’s Gifts of Hope project

First came a few farmloads of animals.

We checked out the piggery, where cheerful oinks resounded, and had the chance to meet a proud mama hog and a couple of her day-old piglets. We too saw that these wee ones were well-cared for in the capable hands of knowledgeable, livestock-management-trained staff.

From here, we noticed long chutes running out from the pig’s troughs and, upon further investigation, learned that absolutely nothing here went to waste, not even … well … waste!

Dual panel: a sign that reads: Livestock project supported by Plan International Canada’s Gifts of Hope project

And then came the goats, fruit and fish.

Turns out, the pigs are helping fertilize a full orchard filled with produce like mangos, and – to cope with the challenging growing climate – enriching greenhouses holding lemons and herbs. The fruits of this labour are not only being integrated into students’ diets, but also their lesson plans, which include agricultural skills training to support their livelihoods.

Run-off from the piggery, combined with livestock sales, also helped establish a thriving aquatic ecosystem consisting of over 1,000 bream fish, and growing by the day.

From the piggery, we managed to buy goats. We now have 10!

says the school Head, Mr. Tembo, with excitement. “We saw the benefits and managed to extend the project.”

 

Did you know?

Every Gift of Hope — no matter how small — comes with both an initial survey assessment and development training, ensuring recipients receive what they truly want and need, including accompanying supplies and skills, so the solution will be sustained for years to come.

But that’s not all.

Girls smile and wave as they stand outside of, and open the door to, their new dorm.

Next, they opened new doors of opportunity for girls, through a girls’ dorm!

Initially, the funds raised from the livestock was planned to support a school library. But, when one of the most promising young students had to drop out due to the many barriers keeping her from school, staff knew they had to do more for girls.

Mr. Tembo, the concerned Head of the school, prompted the decision to use funds – coupled with the help of local volunteers – to build a girls’ dormitory. Now, he’s seeing its true value.

We are witnessing a lot of changes, especially in the girls staying here,

he says noting boosts in attendance, participation and class performance.

Four girls smile at the camera and give thumbs up.

Sharon, 14, (at left) with some of her equally resilient and inspiring roommates – all of whom were reached through your Gifts of Hope!

Now things are much better,

Sharon says with a smile rising to her face. “I really enjoy school.”

Today, 20 girls are staying at the dorm – many of whom previously faced difficult and risky journeys in their quest to come to school. Sharon is one of these girls.

She told us she previously walked 12 km to attend each day: getting up at 3 a.m. to travel in the dark on an empty stomach, exposed to danger for hours – and later returning home on-foot again in the hot midday sun. Today, her life is greatly improved, thanks to Gifts of Hope.

 

And she’s not alone: 490 students – more than half, girls – are thrilled to now benefit from this exceptional learning environment, extended with the help of donors like you.

Three photos of the expansive campus infrastructure and an image of the smiling School head, Mr. Tembo.

School Head Mr. Tembo (at right) proudly toured us around the comprehensive campus, which also boasts full on-site access to clean water (a tap displayed at left), electricity (power lines visible at bottom) and gender-separate latrines (shown at top).

We were also able to purchase textbooks, supplies and training for teachers!

says Mr. Tembo.

 

Incredibly ALL of these school expansions have been financed by the income generated from the farmloads of animals Gifts of Hope, initially given by Canadians like you.

And the unexpected changes that have followed are truly a testament to not just the gifts’ sustainable design, but the unwavering drive and commitment of those who receive them.

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  • A group of seven women laugh and embrace one another.

    A few of the unbelievably dedicated teachers – many of whom also live in teachers’ on-campus housing, ensuring reliable support is never too far.

  • Split panel: Girls march and cheer around the school grounds and a member of Plan Zimbabwe staff smiles displaying his shirt, which reads: Childrens rights: my responsibility.

    With the support of Plan International staff – and generous donors like you – this school administration is not only talking the talk, but walking the walk, so girls can carve their own new promising paths and lead in paving the way for others.

We truly appreciate your support for empowerment initiatives,

shared Moses, one of the Plan International facilitators working hard each day to help put your gifts into action country-wide. “No man is an island,” he adds. “Together – with you – we can make it.”

And they’re not done yet.

The students are doing very well, so I want to thank you very much,

shared Mr. Tembo, genuinely touched – but refusing to revel in the shared accomplishments for too long.

Already, he and his colleagues are looking ahead to their next goal and how to best continue using the Gifts of Hope-generated funds in order to improve the school – and students’ lives.

“We’d like to accommodate 100 girls and buy some cattle next,” shares a couple of the teachers. “… And then we will build the library,” they add – bringing the project full circle.

“We forge ahead and try to move forward – and I am more than excited,” says Mr. Tembo, beaming.

“Some saw big problems, and some saw opportunities. Right now, it is all opportunity.”

The change rolls on…

Triple panel: a ball is thrown to youth, and youth catch the ball; girls and a boy share in holding up the ball, each with one hand and a smile.

When you give a Gift of Hope, you’re passing on invaluable opportunities that uplift children, unite communities and ripple out to transform lives in meaningful – and sometimes unimaginable – ways, for years to come.

Gift boxes
40+ girls gather outside their dormitory and wave while laughing.

On behalf of the many lives you’ve touched with your Gifts of Hope: THANK YOU!

See more Gifts of Hope impact

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