Many Zimbabwean students are forced to drop out of school because their families can no longer afford tuition and the associated educational costs. This is an issue one American intern affiliated with Tiritose wanted to see change.
Necrisha Roach came to Zimbabwe in April 2016 as part of a global health elective offered by her home institution – The Ohio State University College of Medicine. This course is offered to medical students during their final year of medical school and it allows them to have a clinical experience that is different from what they would normally experience back in the United States of America.
During her time working in the healthcare system in Harare she had the opportunity to have a first-hand look at the many challenges faced by both doctors and patients alike. In addition, she also had the chance to work with Tariro (the Shona word for Hope), a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring young girls have the same educational opportunities as their male counterparts.
While in Harare, Necrisha travelled to Tariro’s headquarters located in Glen Norah, a high-density area (Township) on the outskirts of Harare. There she spent the day working with the girls and learning more about the aims and goals of the organization. The time spent in Glen Norah brought to light the grim reality faced by many of Zimbabwe’s young women.
“Meeting these young women was a humbling experience. Their resilience and commitment to education in spite of what seems like insurmountable circumstances was truly inspirational”.
Many of the young ladies she met were orphaned because of HIV and currently lived with extended families or in a single parent household. As a result, the costs associated with getting an education were often too much for the family to bear forcing them to drop out of school. These young girls then relied on the financial support of Tariro and its donors to cover school fees, school supplies and transportation costs.
Tariro is not only committed to ensuring that the girl’s material needs are met, but they also provide a support system for them and their families that involves HIV education, classes on healthy living as well as dance and music classes geared towards enhancing the girl’s love and appreciation for their rich Zimbabwean culture.
Meeting these young women was a humbling experience. Their resilience and commitment to education in spite of what seems like insurmountable circumstances was truly inspirational, Necrisha says. Prior to traveling to Zimbabwe, Necrisha with the help of her friends, were able to raise funds to help cover the cost of school supplies for 30 Tariro students for the upcoming academic year.
The Tariro visit became a turning point for both Necrisha and the young girls she met during her visit. The girls were moved that a young American doctor came all the way from America to not only visit them but her and her friends were willing to make a financial investment in their futures by covering the cost of school supplies. Recognizing that the donation for school supplies were greatly appreciated, it was evident that there was still a great need among the students. To that end, Necrisha decided to cover the tuition for the next three years for a young girl enrolled at Harare Polytechnic (a local tertiary institution) where she is pursuing her studies in Transport and Logistics.
Education is what brings a community, or rather a country forward, and for the current situation in Zimbabwe Necrisha wants to be part of the solution. In order to make her vision become a reality she teamed up with Tiritose and together they were able to establish a foundation that is designed to provide a scholarship to female students enrolled in colleges and universities in Zimbabwe.
The foundation is now established as a fundraising arm of Tiritose. The Tiritose stakeholders have decided to name it The Dr. Necrisha Roach Fellowship in honour of Necrisha, and her passion for education and creating opportunities for girls.
If you are interested in supporting disadvantaged Zimbabwean students or to know more about the Dr. Necrisha Roach Fellowship, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org