Construction for the footbridge began in July 2015, during the dry season in Zimbabwe, and continues today. The bridge's columns are expected to be completed by June 2017.
At its core Rotary is focused on building bridges across an array of obstacles, whether they are physical, cultural, philosophical, or emotional. No club takes this idea more seriously than Dupont Rotary (RI District 7620).
Currently, Dupont Rotary is partnering with the Rotary Club of Harare City (RI District 9210) to build a footbridge in Murehwa, Mashonaland East Province, Zimbabwe (approximately 65 kilometers from Harare) and is lending its financial, technical, cultural, and international expertise to aid in the project's success. The bridge will connect local students to their school, which is located on the opposite banks of the Shayanhowe River, allowing for continued access to education during the rainy season (December to April). The idea for the footbridge resulted from a discussion with the Headmaster of the Chemhondoro [Primary] School. "Some of my pupils have been swept away and drowned as they try to cross the river to and from school in the rainy season," Headmaster Nyandoro stated. In the last five years alone, 14 students and five adults drowned in the river, which regularly floods during the rainy season and is known for its exceptionally strong current. Approximately 550 of the 4,200 primary and secondary school students enrolled in the Chemhondoro School cross the river daily.
Successful completion of the footbridge project will result in increased safety for children crossing the river to attend school, improved attendance in the classroom, and greater access to education, in addition to lessening the burden on parents, who often are forced to take time away from paid employment in order to supervise their children's safe crossing of the river. Engineers at Sirston Consultants in Harare estimate that the bridge will cost $68,000 USD and can be completed by June 2017, though construction can only occur during the dry season (April to November). Harare City Rotary is working with local government authorities to approve the project's implementation and to ensure local guidelines and safety standards are met. All materials and labor needed for the project will be locally and competitively sourced, contributing to the local economy and the sustainable maintenance of the footbridge.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you are interested in contributing to this worthy cause, please click here. We have approximately $20,000 left to raise to complete the bridge and welcome your tax deductible donation(s). Rest assured knowing that your generosity will contribute to a greater quality of life for schoolchildren in Murehwa, enabling them to focus their energies on success in the classroom instead of their safety en route.
Construction on the footbridge began in July 2015 using available funds. Work stopped briefly due to the rainy season in November, as expected, but picked up again shortly thereafter. The columns, which will ultimately support the footbridge, are now well above the water line in construction. Builders expect to complete the project by the end of June 2017. In the meantime, Dupont Rotarians continue to raise funds to see the project through to completion.
Click here for photos of the progress and below is the video.