Following the refurbishment of Ndorwe Bridge that was destroyed by Cyclones Eline and Idai, life has returned to normal for learners at four schools in Mutare Rural District.
The students had been forced into ‘bush boarding’ as their schools had become inaccessible during the rainy season.
With the help of Youth Alive Zimbabwe and Ndorwe community members, Mutare Rural District Council successfully reconstructed the Ndorwe Bridge in a move that will see more than 1 000 students having easy access to their respective schools.
The bridge was first affected by Cyclone Eline in 2000. It was then completely destroyed by Cyclone Idai in 2019.
Speaking at the commissioning of the bridge last week, Mutare District Development Co-ordinator, Mr Wilson Boore said students from Mambwere, Ndorwe and Manzununu Primary Schools as well as Manzununu Secondary School had been disadvantaged for the past one and half years as most of them were failing to cross the flooded Murare River on their way to school.
He said the development had resulted in an increase in absenteeism, especially for young learners as parents could not allow their children to cross the flooded river.
On the other hand, older school-going children had turned to bush boarding.
“Ward 22 was the hardest hit by the devastating Cyclone Idai in the district. The impact affected key crossing points, including the Ndorwe Bridge and the Chipendeke Footbridge. This resulted in most learners becoming bush boarders,” said Mr Boore.
Ward 22 Councillor Kumbirai Kanyikwanaka expressed gratitude to those who contributed towards the reconstruction of the bridge.
“The destruction of the bridge affected the children’s right to education. Most children from Manzununu Secondary had resorted to bush boarding and were exposed to all forms of juvenile delinquencies. This was now a cause of concern to most parents,” he said.
Ms Mary Machiwa of Ndorwe Village, parent to a 15-year-old bush boarder said: “I am so grateful that the reconstruction of the bridge was done before schools reopened. As parents, we no longer have sleepless nights thinking of what our children will be exposed to in the bush boarding schools. Some were staying in shacks where they were co-habitating with boys.”