St James is a rural Church of England Mission boarding school set in the Matabeleland bush 50 miles from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, providing education to secondary school-aged girls from all around the country. Zimbabwe remains economically battered and struggling to provide for its own people despite changes in the leadership, and there is no discernible positive development in the challenging circumstances that girls are facing.
The Friends of St James Mission and School, (FSJMS), is a small UK-registered charity (No. 1017217) that supports the school. Its main areas of support is providing bursaries for needy girls. As all secondary school education in Zimbabwe is fee-paying, inevitably, the costs are usually beyond the financial reach of most people in rural areas. A full year’s bursary costs £1,200, which covers all boarding and education costs.
The other essential work that FSJMS supports at the Mission is the supply of a cooked mid-day meal to 200 pupils at the local primary day-school, many of whom often walk up to 8 miles per day to attend and for whom this is their main meal of the day. Since FSJMS took on this role about 15 years ago, the health and growth of the local children has been improved enormously, as monitored regularly by the clinic at the Mission, and this aspect of their work is something that cannot be allowed to stop.
Initally, after receiving an appeal for funding from FSJMS in 2021 Children First International (CFI) provided a donation of £1,200 to fund a bursary. This was well-received. Following contact with friends of CFI who live in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe who were aware of the Mission and School, the Trustees offered FSJMS a London marathon place. By this time the 2021 marathon would have come too soon to allow for sufficient training so a place was taken for the 2022 mass event by Ms Catrin Komor, the niece of one of the FSJMS Trustees.
Catrin ran her first marathon in October 2022. In the words of her aunt, Christine, who was at the finishing line to watch her niece, “Catrin finished in 5 hrs 37min 20 sec, so that was VERY good and we were very close to her in the grandstand as she came up the Mall! She wasn’t exhausted, amazingly, and is very appreciative of the opportunity she was given.”
Catrin raised £1,900 for FSJMS. Well done!