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2,200 textbooks purchased for schools in rural areas of Zimbabwe


Oxford University Press Southern Africa has been working closely with Imvelo Safari Lodges (Zimbabwe) and The Camelthorn Foundation (UK) to raise money to purchase local curriculum textbooks for learners in Zimbabwe.

We partnered with the Camelthorn Foundation last year. The organization supports both people and wildlife by helping communities that live with or close to nature to take part in conservation efforts. An essential part of this is providing these areas with the right materials to teach students about the surrounding wildlife, in order to protect it. Unfortunately human-wildlife conflicts are a challenge in these areas, with animals sometimes spilling into communal lands, adding to poverty and hunger, and increasing the risk of poaching. Education plays a key role in both poverty alleviation and conservation.

Many schools in Zimbabwe based in remote and disadvantaged areas have limited support for resources and experience difficulties accessing textbooks to support the country’s new academic curriculum. To help with this, we joined up with the Camelthorn Foundation on its ‘Textbooks for Conservation’ initiative, which raises funds to purchase new curriculum textbooks from Oxford University Press Southern Africa, for the cost of just £1 each. Through this initiative, we are also working with Imvelo Safari Lodges, who distributed thousands of books to schools across Zimbabwe last year.

In December 2020, the first 1,400 textbooks were delivered to 14 schools across Zimbabwe facing pressures such as poverty, drought, and conflicts amongst humans and wildlife. Derek Ballantyne, Marketing Manager for OUPSA says, ‘The people we are supporting are very poor. Many don’t have proper schools and classes are often taught under trees. They may not have desks, chairs, stationery, textbooks, or even food to eat. Seeing that glimmer of excitement in their eyes when they receive their Oxford textbooks is an amazing sight to see. The possibility of hope, and that things may improve.’

The textbooks—which are all specific to the Zimbabwean curriculum—were distributed to the schools by Imvelo Safari Lodges as part of the Smile Roadshow, where 14 schools along the southern border of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park were visited to learn about the importance of conservation. They also received donations of toys, toothbrushes, footballs, netballs, school supplies, and food. The delivery took place just in time for the end of the academic year, meaning that students will start 2021 with the right materials to empower them for the future.

Derek adds, ‘It’s an overwhelming experience to have such a significant effect on the lives of individuals. We often ask ourselves what legacy we will one day leave behind. I hope that my legacy will be playing a small role in transforming lives through education in Africa, possibly even the next great leader or visionary!’

To find out more about the ‘Textbooks for Conservation’ and the Camelthorn Foundation, visit its website. 

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