Grace Mugabe Junior School officially handed over to its founder
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The junior school, which was built by a Chinese construction company with help from its parent government, was officially handed over to its founder, the First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe at a function attended by hundreds of people.
In his address at the occasion, Mugabe assured the public that government has got plans to build more schools to help children especially orphans, adding that the Grace Mugabe school compliments government's thrust to empower formerly marginalised black children.
"This intervention by the Grace Mugabe Foundation is a welcome complement to government's plans to build more schools, or at least make those already in existence more accessible. Amai Mugabe's efforts, combined with those of government and other NGOs involved in education, should create in us a need to jealously guard the gains we made in the sector. As Head of State and Government, I am naturally pleased that the work which is taking place here places Zimbabwe firmly on the path to addressing some of the challenges given to United Nations member states through the Millennium Development Goals," said Mugabe.
He also commended the Chinese people for the hard work and speed with which they undertook the task, saying Zimbabweans should draw lessons from the Chinese by doing their business timeously and meticulously.
Turning to the role played by Amai Mugabe in the establishment of the project, the President said he had been inspired by her work with disadvantaged people in Murehwa, Penhalonga and in Bulawayo's Luveve suburb, adding that his office and the First Lady's are often inundated with requests for help from children in difficult circumstances.
He said the junior school is part of the answer to some of the requests as it will accommodate children from all backgrounds.
Speaking at the same occasion, Amai Mugabe said the school is her own contribution to the improvement of educational standards for black people in Zimbabwe.
The First Lady started by reminiscing how on that chilly July morning, which coincided with her 42nd birthday with her very supportive husband by her side, the ground-breaking ceremony was held for the orphanage and how just over a year ago another function was held for the school which has just opened its doors to the pioneer group of students.
Amai Mugabe said when she was young, she used to be overwhelmed by the large number of children who were denied access or their right to quality education because of racial segregation that wreaked havoc on the country's education system before independence.
She said only white children enjoyed a high quality standard of education while black children had to contend with poor, overcrowded schools and syllabi that gave them a blinkered world view.
She also said the newly built state of the art school is a move aimed at changing the story of the education of the black child from that gloomy past to a positive era which came with independence in 1980 when the majority government embarked on a path to dismantle and eliminate all forms of discrimination.
The school, which was built in a record time of 11 months, opened its doors at the beginning of the year with 97 children and 11 teachers marking the second project under the Grace Mugabe Foundation projects in Mazowe after the orphanage which now houses over 50 children.
After the official opening ceremony, it was time for lunch and lighter moments by the First Lady and her visitors as they took to the dance floor in celebration.
The function was attended by Vice President Joice Mujuru, service chiefs, several government ministers, chiefs, provincial governors, bankers who included RBZ Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Lin Lin, business people and well-wishers, who have been supporting the project.
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