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Run by the Carmelite Sisters with the support of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Carmel Phathutshedzo Special School is a facility for mentally challenged children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Currently, approximately 40 children attend both the preschool and the primary school in Madombidzha, with the demand for places growing at a great rate.

The children who attend this school become part of a nurturing, caring community, while receiving a comprehensive education in a disciplined, well-organised school environment. With a fully-rounded curriculum and an excellent support system, these students are given the freedom and encouragement to grow and develop on both an academic and a personal level, while parents can rest assured in the knowledge that their children are being cared for and educated in a safe space.

Developing new skills

In addition to the standard school curriculum subjects, pupils here take part in a variety of different courses and modules, including art, local culture, sports, computers, gardening, and needle-work. A very active Vocational Group design and sew clothes, and cook and bake daily, which fosters a great sense of satisfaction and pride in the students. Physiotherapy and speech therapy are also provided for those who need them, ensuring that students’ physical, intellectual, and emotional needs are all amply met.

The school endeavours to adopt new and useful technologies as they become available, and have recently installed computers to facilitate the learning of new skills and abilities. These have proved to be a huge success, and are in great demand within the school community. The impact of this new technology is extremely promising, as even younger pupils in the pre-primary group have been able to work past previously established learning challenges with the help of the computers. Not only has this new technology proved to be enormously beneficial, it has also been a source of great fun for both staff and students as they embrace new types of learning together.

In 2015, 18 pre-school learners graduated from their class group, ready to move forward in the school with a new sense of confidence and purpose. The Vocational Group designed and made dresses for the pre-schoolers’ graduation ceremony, complete with gowns, belt, and caps. The graduation ceremony truly was a joyful celebration of what the group have achieved – a real triumph for both students and teachers.

Building blocks for the future

Carmel Phathutshedzo Special School works to create and encourage a sense of self-sufficiency in their students, fostering useful skills and abilities along with self-confidence as they prepare the children to move out into the world and into mainstream education. Fundraising is ongoing, as the older school buildings have fallen into disrepair and are in desperate need of renovation, while physiotherapy and speech therapy facilities are also urgently needed to enable the children’s full development.

With continued support from MSC benefactors, the school hopes to be able to continue their invaluable work in the social and educational development of children who need an extra helping hand as they find their places in the world.

“It is the happiness and achievements of these children which motivate us to work even more for them. Because of your compassionate support, dear benefactor, much of these achievements have been made possible. There is no doubt about it. We always think of you with our hearts filled with gratitude. Extending far beyond our words, our deep love and sincere prayers rise from deep inside our hearts and our good God will be generous with His Graceful Blessings upon you!”
Sr Rose Kusumam CMC
Principal of Carmel Phathutshedzo Special School