Hauna Christian College in Zimbabwe
In the rural area of Hauna, some students cannot afford to attend school or start later than their peers. This often happens because of financial restraints, household responsibilities, loss of a parent or other unfortunate situations
Keeping kids in school
Hauna Christian College ensures children of all ages have access to education and a stable learning environment. Families may choose for their student to be a day-schooler or a boarding student. Either way it is our main priority to provide students with access to education and traditional schooling.
Due to economic constrains some students face difficulties in paying their school fees. This has left the owner of the school to take on the financial burden to ensure the children can stay in their classes. A majority of the children owe school fees because many come from low-income families with parents who are either jobless or work seasonal farming positions.
Although Hauna Christian College is an academically competitive school, it lacks the funds to adequately house and teach students without distractions. Distractions include: harsh temperature conditions without heating or cooling systems, insufficient wood stove cooking, insufficient toilets, inadequate showers, and electricities outages. With nearly 200 students, the operation costs to feed and house each of them are high and our school continues to grow at an exponential rate each year. Students come from low-income families where they cannot pay for their school fees, uniform or supplies. This leaves the school undertake hardship as it provides for the students who are disadvantaged.
The boarding village and school use two different methods to supply water for the educational community: a borehole and piped river water. Improved water sources are needed to eliminate waterborne diseases, dehydration, thirst, fatigue, and improve overall quality of life and health. Uses of the water include: consumption, household uses, agricultural production, and fish farming. Access to water also has an affect on socio-economic development in the area. Access to water affects a whole family from their livelihoods, meals, education, and health.
Different ways we collect water:
A borehole is a place where drilling has occurred in order to access groundwater. There is only one manually pumped borehole on the property, which has to sustain the whole school. It was built in 2011 to obtain from purchasing over-priced council water.
This water comes directly out of the tap and is not piped to the gardens or bathrooms.
Machine-drilled boreholes are an expensive installation process, but they do provide clean water for human consumption and for domestic uses. Borehole drilling is a costly procedure as the school is located in a remote area and does not have materials locally. Hauna has yet to develop their own local water installation and water treatment companies. A drilling company from the closest city has to transport their equipment to the schools drilling site in before beginning the project. Due to the country’s economy, Hauna Christian College has been unable to drill additional proper boreholes.
There is need for more boreholes on campus and at the boarding village. The current makeshift borehole is a shallow water well and was manually dug by hand down 30 meters. A well installer would be able to identify an appropriate well site that maximizes water yield, administer soil tests, and treat the water. A professionally drilled borehole would ensure efficient construction that draws quality ground water and can sustain yield for many years.
We seek a professionally designed borehole with a screen and sanitary seal to prevent contamination from entering the clean water. The school’s borehole is located downslope from the latrine, which is risky as pathogens or bacteria from the waste could enter the source leading to deathly illnesses. There is also a need for flushing toilets to properly dispose of waste instead of the current blair toilet (pit toilet). The area does not have a sewer network leading the school to dispose of their own waste, which is piped to a empty pit.
Piped River Water
Traditionally, Hauna Christian College has been drawing water from a nearby river source. A spring is located above the village and flows downward using gravity. This method does not require a pump to transport the water. Pipes are placed in the source river and lined 3kms down the mountain to the village and school. The pipes are mainly above ground causing them to be easily removed at the source or punctured. There is a neighbor who monitors the water at the top of the mountain because many people have tried to remove our pipes or redirect them to transfer water to their own homestead. When piping shifts or leakages occur dirty water will spit through the tap. This often occurrence creates a huge vulnerability for water contamination. The water is consumed as is and not treated with disinfectants, therefore there have been cases of diarrhea related diseases.
The school is facing difficulties in trying to draw water from the faraway river, which requires a lot of money and manpower. We are in need of Initial construction costs including: labor, tanks, and piping used to transfer water from the river channel to the school is a costly process. The school is located on uneven terrain with rocky soil that requires expensive machinery. This water supply has not been able to sustain the whole school.
Tensions rise in the dry summer season, when the river runs dry and lacks continuous flow. Most local people draw water from the same river source as the school. Many locals live along the river to water their gardens or collect water from that area leaving it to be a scarce resource for other local residents. Oftentimes, children will go to drink water from the tap and find that there is no water coming through the pipes. The pipes are dry and they are forced to wait until water flows freely and abundantly again. This hinderance prevents those from drinking, cooking, washing or other daily water usage activities. This has been a major problem as clean water is a necessity to maintain high standards of learning. The shut offs delay lunches, cleaning, growing, and daily activities causing students to go without. Students also suffer from dehydration as there is limited water supply from day to day at the boarding village and the school. This is due to the fact that most of the rivers run dry during this season and our few boreholes cannot sustain the whole school.
Low rainfall leads to food insecurity
Seasonal rainfall fluctuations determine the output of agriculture products. Annual rainfall this year in Zimbabwe is low because of the high temperatures and climate changes. ZIMBABWE Food Security Outlook Update anticipates that low rainfall and wilted crops will cause food insecurity and threaten agriculture livelihoods and income sources. Many parents of those who attend Hauna Christian College have seasonal farming jobs that heavily rely on rainfall levels to produce gown foods. Zimbabwe as a nation is facing a climate change induced drought and famine due to a year of low rain and poor crop production.
Hauna Christian College relies on their planted crops to feed the children three meals a day. The maize, tomatoes, onion and diverse vegetable crops surround the dorms and school. In Zimbabwe, the high inflation has caused grocery prices to rise and basic goods have become too expensive to purchase. The school depends on bountiful crops to offset those costs. When rainfall is low, the foods produced are low. The low rainfall results in high costs to feed the children, they then consume less home-grown foods and more expensive purchased foods.
Hauna uses a mini hydroelectricity power station to provide low-cost renewable energy to its community. Hauna is vulnerable because of its heavy dependency on rainfall to maintain the flow of water for hydroelectricity, especially during their drought season. When there is insufficient waterfall it is difficult for the power plant to produce continuous electricity. Oftentimes the electricity will shut off multiple times during the day because the power plant is not running due to low water levels. Operations at the school are halted when the electricity is out and it makes it difficult to teach and learn. The lights are off and the communication network is then down. The total energy output correlates with the amount of rainfall in Hauna.
Many Hauna residents live along the small river in order to maintain watering their crops, feeding their livestock, bathing and washing their clothes. These types of personal uses pollute the water with bacterias and chemicals thereby making it unsafe to drink. The river channel passes through many homesteads, which contaminates the water and clean water is only found at the top of the mountain. Residents below are affected by the unclean water that flows throughout Hauna. The distance to the clean source is about 4km. That is a long distance for those collecting water and for pipes to travel. Hauna does not have a waste management system, therefore people are found burning their garbage or dumping it in the stream. What could be a clean stream throughout Hauna is now filled with personal waste, rubbish, and is heavily polluted.
Common Waterborne Diseases:
Neither of the water sources are chemically treated or filtrated, which could potentially and priorly have cause health issues when contamination occurs. In the area, we are at risk because untreated water causes common waterborne diseases such as:
Bilharzia: is a disease in humans that is caused by a parasitic flatworm, Schistosomes. A fresh water snail host releases larval that penetrates human skin when in contact with the contaminated water. Worms grow and reproduce eggs that become embedded in one’s blood vessels, liver, kidney, and intestines.
Typhoid fever: A human may contract this high fever through food or water contaminated by fecal matter or sewage.
diarrhea (bacterial and protozoal)
Hepatitis A and E: are viral diseases that spread through the consumption of food or water polluted with fecal matter and affect the functioning of the liver. Generally found in areas with poor sanitation and those affected experience a fever, jaundice, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, and dark urine.
Cholera: Cholera is caused by infected water supplies or when people defecate too close to a water source and then drink the water. The main risk factors include; contaminated water sources including boreholes and wells, as a result of blocked and damaged sewer pipes.
Recently, in September 2018, our country has faced a public health warning of a widespread Cholera outbreak. Zimbabwe has faced the highest rate of new cholera cases. A cumulative total of 3,350 suspected cases have been reported since the onset of the new outbreak. Cholera symptoms are excessive vomiting, acute watery diarrhea and dehydration. Our children have been informed to wash their hands often and not to play by water to avoid spreading of the disease.
Hauna’s economic growth has struggled due to lack of water for commercial uses. Business owners have faced hardships due to not being able to operate at their full capacity especially the farmers. The dying crops has lead to a low yield this year, picking jobs are terminated, livestock has been difficult to sustain, and food insecurity is increasing. Hauna was predicted to be a thriving town because of its nearness to the Mozambican border and diverse crops, but with limited water supply those development and infrastructure efforts have been halted. In Zimbabwe, 68% of the population live on less than $1.25 per day. Water is a basic need which correlated with socio-economic development and quality of life. Hauna’s impoverished community struggles to meet their families needs from day to day.
At Hauna Christian College we try our best to practice healthy hygiene and we try to implement good health. Students come from various backgrounds with differing cleanliness customs, but we try to accommodate and teach healthy habits. We promote cleanliness by maintaining a spotless campus, while expecting students to do the same within their living and learning spaces. We desire to be litter free, unfortunately our town is full of peoples unwanted rubbish. We hope to change the communities littering habits by starting first at our own school.
Contagious diseases are prominent in our local area, therefore we ensure students wash their hands before meals and after using the restroom. Our children have been informed to wash their hands and faces often to avoid the spreading of the diseases. Soap is the primary defense against infection. In Hauna, bar soaps are locally available, but many students share the same bar when washing. We are in need of liquid hand and body soap to for students to be clean.
We want our student’s to be clean to maintain their academic appearance. Each child is given warm water in their bucket to bathe daily. The campus does not have showers as a result boarders are to bathe with water from their bucket and use a hand-towel to dry off. Both girls and boys are to have well-kept hair and uniforms. After bathing the younger students submit their clothes for them to be hand washed by staff, while older students are responsible for washing during their off-time. The students are in need of soaps, lotions, combs, also hand and body towels.
At our school students complain of soar or decaying teeth. Young students often misplace their tooth brush, forget to brush or have previously been allowed to eat candy at home. Here it is common for children to have permanent teeth removed as a result of cavities. In efforts to prevent oral problems we provided students with tooth brushes and paste. Staff encourage the students to brush their teeth multiple times a day. The students are in need of both tooth brushes, paste, and floss to prevent rotten teeth.