Mission school alumnus gives students a boost

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Theocracy Tasweranadzo, 10, raises his hand in class at Munyarari Primary School in Mutare, Zimbabwe. A former student at The United Methodist Church’s mission school has created a scholarship program for the three best students in each class. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.  
Theocracy Tasweranadzo, 10, raises his hand in class at Munyarari Primary School in Mutare, Zimbabwe. A former student at The United Methodist Church’s mission school has created a scholarship program for the three best students in each class. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.

Key Points:

  • Now a prominent businessman, Isaiah Musabayana attended Munyarari Primary and Chinyauhwera High schools in the mid-1980s. Today he operates a fast-food business. 
  • More than 100 students at the United Methodist schools received scholarships. Many are orphans or vulnerable children.
  • Selection is based on student performance on midyear exams. Students must continue to excel to ensure that they remain in the program.

Jubilation erupted among the more than 100 beneficiaries of scholarships at two United Methodist mission schools as a local businessman and former student unveiled an assistance program for the top three students in each class. 

Isaiah Musabayana attended Munyarari Primary and Chinyauhwera High schools in the mid-1980s. Today he is a prominent businessman operating a fast-food business called Eat n Lick.

“I am unveiling a scholarship program for people who excel in their studies as part of my social corporate responsibility as I plow back into my community,” he said. “I am sponsoring outstanding pupils from the two schools to facilitate their education up to university level.”

He said many intelligent children fail to realize their full potential due to a lack of resources.

“It is my hope and wish that these scholarships will achieve their goals. In addition to primary and secondary student assistance, I will give full scholarships to enroll at any local university of choice for those who excel in their A-level final examinations,” Musabayana added.

“Let us be the change,” he said, “and change the world together. Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get.”

Expressions of joy and appreciation were evident as many received school-fees assistance.

Bonyongwa Rememberence, 14, was one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship in 2021 as the No. 3 student in his class for the third term. 

After his parents separated, his mother, Maria Marange, supervised him and his sister who studies at Chinyauhwera High School. They are from Mungwende village. 

“No doubt,” he said, “my mother is struggling to pay school fees for both of us. We have to look for piece jobs to raise money for school fees and our welfare.” 

He was relieved to receive assistance from Musabayana last year. That meant the part-time jobs would help with school fees for his sister and family expenses.

“For this term,” Rememberence said, “both my mother and I work in the school field in order to pay for our school fees.” 

Bonyongwa Rememberence does chores after class at Chinyauhwera High School in Mutare, Zimbabwe, to raise money for school fees. He received a scholarship in 2021 from local businessman Isaiah Musabayana, a former student at the school. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.  
Bonyongwa Rememberence does chores after class at Chinyauhwera High School in Mutare, Zimbabwe, to raise money for school fees. He received a scholarship in 2021 from local businessman Isaiah Musabayana, a former student at the school. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.

Marange said raising money for two children is not easy. 

“When he was assisted, we had to channel the money to other areas like stationery, food and non-food items. For this year, we are back to our usual approach until they excel.”

Selection is based on student performance on midyear exams. Students must continue to excel to ensure that they remain in the program. Those who fail their examinations lose the financial aid. 

Theocracy Tasweranadzo, 10, a student at Munyarari Primary School, was thrilled to receive the scholarship. 

“My aim is to become a medical doctor. I am intelligent and have the confidence that I will make it. I am hardworking and focused, but my dream was hitting a hard rock due to lack of school fees.”

Because his family farms on infertile soil with poor yields, Tasweranadzo said, getting adequate school fees was an uphill task. 

“Faced with fees challenges, I just primed myself to remain focused on my studies and leave everything else to God,” he said.  

“My efforts paid dividends when I was one of the top three students in my class to be selected for the scholarship. I was very happy. What a sigh of relief! It was just like manna from heaven.” 

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The Rev. Adam Mutemachani, pastor in charge of the circuit, said the mission has benefited from Musabayana’s scholarship program. The mission includes Munyarari Primary School, Chinyauhwera High School and a clinic.

He noted that every year, 60% to 70% of parents fail to pay school fees for their children on time. 

“Fees will be paid later, often in bits and pieces that cannot be invested meaningfully,” Mutemachani said. “Now with the bulk payment from Musabayana, both the church and schools are benefiting. The church will receive its 15% remittance, which helps a lot, especially in a rural setup.” 

Mutemachani said the scholarship has motivated learners to work harder.

“Coincidentally, some of the best students were orphans and vulnerable children who had no one to pay their school fees. Some used to work for their school fees, hindering their success.” 

High school headmaster Leonard Mutibu said since last year, the school has received at least $5,000 USD annually to clear unpaid student fees. 

In addition, the money aids infrastructure development projects, especially at the high school. 

“We constructed the 30-meter (32-yard) perimeter wall,” Mutibu said. “We also painted classroom rooftops and paid for the labor. This was a great facelift for the school.

“Through the payment of the school fees,” he added, “enrollment has increased, and there is substantial reduction in absenteeism. Everyone is aiming to be among the beneficiaries of the scholarship program.”

Mutibu expressed gratitude to Musabayana for bringing hope to the students at the misson’s schools and enhancing development. 

The Rev. Munyaradzi Timire, conference education secretary, said Musabayana’s efforts to plow back to the community are a step in the right direction. 

“A local assisting local children’s access to education is highly appreciated. May God continue to bless him and widen his territory.” 

Chingwe is a communicator for the Zimbabwe East Conference.

News media contact: Julie Dwyer at [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.


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