Tshabalala Initiative

04 Jul 2012

The growth of every individual is highly dependent on several factors, some of which are imparted by the environment and nature of certain individuals. To be able to understand the impact of human growth and understanding we should acknowledge that every individual is capable of achieving whatever they set their minds to.

Children are passive in their understanding and instinct remains a part of human nature that can never be distorted or made impure. Learning is an active process that should be highly accentuated in a multi-factorial setting. Children in our community are very innovative and possess such bottomless wisdom. They are capable of changing the little that they have into something that can give them a sense of knowing and learning without any limitations.

Tshabalala, like many poor communities in Zimbabwe, is plagued with inactivity, crime and educational deficits. We believe in the perception that everything great begins from within, the smallest of ideas, smallest of things, smallest of activities, smallest of concepts, and the implementation of all these is what we intend to achieve.

Our objectives are to:

  • Promote a concrete reading culture that is sustainable
  • Provide modern books which are relevant to all individuals
  • Instil/revive the belief that reading creates limitless opportunities
  • Encourage reading from an early onset
  • Work beyond all our limits to achieve our objectives

Children within our community spend most of their time playing on the streets, having absolutely nothing else to do. This consequently leads to the perpetuation of a vicious cycle of poverty, inactivity and crime. We do however realise that this is a cliché in many poor communities around the world. However we do have to begin somewhere.

Figure 1: Inactivity

In the above insert it can be seen that the children in the community have nothing better to do other than spend the majority of their time walking, and playing on the streets.

Figure 2: The cycle continues

In the above insert, adults and adolescent members of the communities can be seen to still spend their time on the streets, sitting in the trenches doing absolutely nothing which could consequently lead to crime brought about by the inactivity and crime.

Figure 3: Children’s section in Tshabalala library

The books available in the library are few and old, dating as far back as the 1960s, this is not appealing to the young reader, as a result very few children are enticed to enter the library, let alone attempt to read one of the books.

Figure 4: Unproductive recreation

The adolescent members of the community lack awareness of the endless opportunities that come with reading and empowering themselves with knowledge, as a result, much time is spent on unproductive activities, done just to pass time.


Figure 5: Aspiring to read and learn

The above image depicts the desire that the children have for reading, learning and discovering new things and new information which is impeded by the utter lack of availability of relevant material.

As can be seen from the above images, there is a growing need for change in the community, and this change can be brought about through reading. This provides people with the relevant resources to empower them with knowledge, increase exposure to the rest of the world, inspire productivity or positivity to break the inactivity, poverty and crime cycle. If they cannot gain direct access to the world with all the possibilities that it brings, we will bring the world to them through books.

Thus far we have received a box that contained 25 books, from Elaine Reeves at Usborne Publishing Company in the United Kingdom. This generous donation enabled us to take the first step towards our vision of empowering children with knowledge. Eighteen of the books received were on 12/06/2012 donated to a kindergarten school in Tshabalala which had absolutely no childrens books prior to our visit. Fifty one children attend this school, the donation will thus enable establishment of a library system in which books can be rotated between classes so that each child can borrow a book for up to a week and eventually get the chance to read all the books.

Figure 6: Children with donated books at kindergarten school

The other seven books were donated to Tshabalala library, which like other libraries like it has not received any new books for the past seven years. The donation we received has encouraged us greatly and has also made us realise there is still a great need for books in the community and in the nation as a whole.

Figure 7: Books donated to library


Figure 8: Library book donation

Our charity is currently not a registered one, as registration takes a lot of time, it also requires money and is greatly affected by politics in the country. We are currently working very hard towards the charity registration but while this is going on we feel that we cannot stop doing the work towards our vision. We realise that time perpetuates suffering, so if we stand by and do nothing we are wasting a lot of time during which children still need to study and poverty still needs to be fought off.


We would therefore like to appeal to you for donations of books that are modern and up to date. Preferably books that will appeal to children, those that will be relevant to teens and young adults. The need is very great and your assistance would be greatly appreciated. The importance and advantage of having books is that they remain a recyclable source of knowledge. One book can change thousands of lives.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us with any information about any form of assistance that you may be able to offer and ideas thereof.


Yours Sincerely,

Derek Mafohla and Rutendo Tigere

Contact Details

Phone: +263772370634 or +263963531