As the Higherlife Foundation celebrates its 20th Anniversary, the foundation has taken this opportunity to share with the world how it has used the Learning Hub model to impact children with education as access to quality education is a global challenge, especially for children in Africa’s rural communities, who are more likely to be out of school than urban children, as they focus on finding the next meal.
Higherlife Foundation’s Co-Chair Mrs. Tsitsi Masiyiwa had this to say: “Through Higherlife Foundation we have been advancing the cause of education in sub Saharan Africa for the last 16 years and to-date more than 100,000 students have received scholarships and over 250 000 children have been indirectly impacted. Despite all our efforts we have realized that not all education received by our students is equal, not every child of school going age is in school and not all children who have access to education excel in their academics”.
While on the other hand school children in urban areas have access to education, the quality of education is of great concern as African schools still suffer from text book shortages, large class sizes and demotivated teaching staff. The use of technology to provide ‘Digital Education’, Smart learning, in some cases called e-Learning is one one way of enhancing the learning experience and exposing children to new things places and cultures. A blended learning approach that addresses all aspects of education are brought together to deliver greater learning outcomes both inside and outside the classroom.
In an effort to address problems in access to quality education in African communities the Learning Hub model was born. The Learning hub project is the brain child of the foundations Co-Chair Mrs. Tsitsi Masiyiwa and it kicked off in 2010. The 7th of October 2011 marked an epoch in the Foundation’s history as the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Finance Director, Mr. Chirairo officiated the launch of the first Learning Hub in Vainona, Harare, Zimbabwe at a launch ceremony attended by representatives from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education among others. This launch marked the beginning of a life changing initiative as three more learning hubs were opened in Harare in three months that followed and 38 learning hubs have been built in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi to-date.
The purpose of Higherlife Foundation’s Learning Hubs is to equip and empower students through providing access to technology and 21st century learning tools. Fully equipped with computers, LED screens and Internet connectivity, the Learning Hubs have and continue to improve access to education and provide technological learning tools for children in rural and urban communities.
Since 2010 Higherlife Foundation has established 35 Learning Hubs across all the 10 provinces to date. Below is a list of where you can find a Higherlife Foundation in Lesotho.
Vainona Learning Hub
Zengeza Learning Hub
Muguta Learning Hub
St Judes Learning Hub (Mutare)
Nhedziwa School Learning Hub (Chimanimani)
Forward in Faith Children’s Home (Mutare)
Manhinga Children’s Home (Nyanga)
Chitenderano Children’s Home
Danhamombe Learning Hub
Chikombedzi Primary School
Gwindingwi Secondary School
Alpha Cottages Children’s Home
Mutondwe Learning Hub (Bindura)
Tsungubvi Learning Hub
Mutumba Learning Hub
Ponesai Vanhu Children’s Home (Shamva)
Donkwe Donkwe Learning Hub
Mpambe Learning Hub
Kambarami Secondary School
Macheke Primary School
Gumbonzvanda Learning Hub
Sizane High School Learning Hub
Joshua Nkomo Learning Hub
Kensington Primary School
Hope Fountain Primary School
Thuthuka Children’s Home
Mhangura High School Learning Hub
Chinhoyi Primary School
Vimbainesu Children’s Home
Glory to Glory Children’s Home (Murombedzi)
Zimbiru Primary School
Mavuzhe Learning Hub (Gweru)
Chizhou Secondary School Learning Hub
Manjolo Learning Hub (Binga)
A total of 2 Learning Hubs established in Lesotho since 2014. One of the Learning Hubs is located in Maseru, Mazenod and the other one is at the National University of Lesotho (ROMA).
One Learning Hub has been setup in Burundi since 2014 and it is located in Bujumbura.
The Learning Hubs record a monthly average reach of 3,000 visits per hub, servicing beneficiaries, community members and teachers. Learning Hubs also come with a traditional library section to ensure that students have a well rounded learning experience. Learning Hubs are also used to offer basic ICT skills, Career guidance, Life skills training, Counselling and mentorship to local youths and community members.
Since the opening of the Learning Hubs, teachers have reported that the children in their classes have improved academically and have knowledge that goes beyond what is disseminated in the classroom. At one instance a teacher at St Jude’s Secondary School in Nyazura expressed how she was astonished at the academic progress her students have made as a result of having access to a Learning Hub.
Higherlife Foundation targets to impact 2 million children with education by 2020 and the Higherlife Foundation learning hubs are geared to contribute greatly to this big goal.