Where teachers meet and learn

Matopo Primary School in Zimbabwe

Image credit: courtesy of Cindy Hauert

Update - September 2016

"The first group of ten scholarship girls are graduating! Thanks to ETAS and other supporting friends, these girls have successfully completed their A-Level exams after six years of high school. In September 2016, I visited Silobi High School in the Matopo region of Zimbabwe, and was the Guest of Honour at the scholastic awards ceremony. I gave a speech on the topic of "Education is a Tool for Empowerment" which was very well received! There have been some wonderful spinoffs from the original ETAS Teacher-to-Teacher project: not only has the Roger Federer Foundation become involved through our contacts, but also ETAS member Ruth Jakobs, who volunteered at the project in 2013, raised funds to provide bicycles for many pupils who need to travel long distances in order to attend school. Well done, ETAS, well done!" ~ Cindy Hauert

Report - January 2015

As Teacher-to-Teacher coordinator for the ETAS Matopo Project, Cindy Hauert gave the her final report on this very successful project during the 2015 Annual General Meeting of ETAS Members. The project, which ETAS began supporting in 2006, gained significant support from the Roger Federer Foundation, as well as the Cologny Municipality in the Canton of Geneva.

Cindy Hauert, the initiator and co-ordinator of this Teacher-to-Teacher project, became interested in helping Matopo Primary School on a visit to Zimbabwe in 2003. Through friends in the region, the first steps were taken to make contact with the Headmaster, Mr Newman Ncube, and the Deputy Headmaster, Mr Patson Mpofu.

Cindy proposed the project to ETAS in 2006, and after its acceptance, she began organizing funding and donations of materials to the school. In October of 2007, she led a Teachers’ Day Workshop at the school, which 35 teachers from the region attended. It was a glorious success, one which she was to repeat many years afterwards. The project was able to:

  • provide school uniforms for about 160 pupils, text books and even basic food supplies to support the 400 children at the Matopo Primary School and their teachers.
  • rally support from ETAS teachers to involve their classes in writing letters to the students in Zimbabwe, and help raise money for pens, pencils and other school supplies to be sent to the school there
  • gain the enthusiastic support of the Roger Federer Foundation (from 2009) which enabled the project to expand to include other schools nearby which were in equally dismal states to Matopo
  • initiate the Twinning Project whereby a teacher here would contact a teacher there; many also sponsored a teacher (US $50./month)
  • raise money in the 'Spend a Penny' project to repair the toilets 
  • launch the new 'send-a-girl-to-secondary-school' initiative (2011)

ETAS, through the raffle ticket sales, generous private donations of many ETAS individual members, the Roger Federer Foundation, and the Cologny Municipality, by 2015 had managed to raise enough funds needed to ensure that all the girls who had started the 'send-a-girl-to-secondary-school' program would be able to finish their high school education. What an accomplishment for them, thanks to the generous efforts of so many. 

A special word of thanks to Cindy Hauert, among others, for her engagement and leadership in the project since its inception, to Raymond Rogers for his financial advice and assistance over the years, and Ruth Jakobs for visiting the project and sharing an update and her pictures at the PD Day Conference in September 2014. This was truly a worthy project and a jewel in the crown of ETAS' Milestones.

For past reports, photos and Cindy's presentation at the 2015 Annual Conference and AGM in Bern, see the blog which Cindy and Illya set up, and the webpage of the RogerFederer Foundation.