BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe – A group of young volunteers, working from their small office in Gwabalanda Central, Ward 15, continue to demonstrate their commitment towards improving living conditions in their area.
Cooperating closely with the local Councillor the group has met with reasonable success in their endeavours.
The youngsters, who are members of Creative Community Projects in Zimbabwe (CCPZ), hope to achieve their goals through the restoration of children’s playgrounds that abound in the neighbourhood. There are 32 of these, 5 of which have had work started on them.
All these entertainment zones have fallen into advanced stages of neglect and the equipment is in disrepair or missing. This is due to a decade of serious national economic failure.
Utilising voluntary labour and scarce resources which they were able to scrape together, the determined youths have managed to get the worked grounds graded with the use of Municipality equipment. The next stage, according to CCPZ Chairman Vusa Siziba, is the removal of glass fragments and other harmful obstacles from the graded surfaces. This will be followed by application of top soil and levelling. It is then hoped that playground equipment will be added as resources become available.
Most of these play areas are similar in size, a factor that has allowed the group to opt for a standard design in terms of configuration. Mr. Siziba explained that on completion, each entertainment zone would ideally have a sports area comprising football and netball fields. A basketball court would be added, while adjoining these would be space reserved for drama performances, designed to contribute towards building children into well balanced members of society. Such performances will generally be conducted by the children themselves, but youth and adult teams would also be encouraged to participate. The CCPZ Chairman said that a playground equipped with swings, slides, see-saws and the like would be incorporated into each plan. He added that the entire entertainment zone would have a sports track wrapped around it. This, he pointed out, would add a fitness aspect for beneficiaries.
Speaking about the safety features offered by these plans, Mr. Siziba said; “ The grounds are within close proximity to surrounding houses, but it is intended that beneficiaries will be small children, who will not cause structural damage, such as breaking windows, when kicking balls around. Currently, such offspring endanger their lives by playing in the streets, because proper facilities are not available,” he indicated an area in the road close by, where stones have been fashioned into crude goal posts, and went on to say; “These grounds will ensure a safe, supervised environment for the children concerned.”
In order for the playgrounds to become functional, the important element of water will need to be introduced.
This will call for at least one borehole to be drilled and equipped at each site. In addition there would be need for ablution facilities. The entire area will also have to be secured with an enclosing fence.
Asked how his organisation hoped to get funding for such an ambitious project involving, not just one, but several restored and equipped playgrounds, Mr. Siziba remarked; “While we are not averse to showing gratitude to well meaning donors, it should be remembered that every community can, under normal circumstances, be considered as a reservoir of resources. Our intention is to tap into these through the Community Cohesion Concept, by which the combined skills and resources of a neighbourhood are exploited, to achieve desired results. In this way, communities would have the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of their concerted efforts knowing that they have contributed towards improving living standards.”
The relationship that exists between CCPZ and ZDDT is not merely coincidental. The two were brought together by a shared desire to enhance standards of living through community restoration initiatives. To this end the former trusts its Community Cohesion Concept, while the latter swears by the SEBENZELA / Work for… Programme. Though these initiatives appear to be different in character, the overall objective remains the same –giving dignity back to communities, by encouraging self-reliance and taking ownership over their circumstances.
The noble vision cherished by CCPZT, and those who share such sentiments, has become a reality. However for its successful completion the assistance of well-wishers is necessary. Should you wish to make a contribution for this worthy cause, please use the following contact details.