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Zimbabwe: Victims of forced eviction deserve education

    Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 00:00
    On October 3rd, World Habitat Day, people around the world will take a stand against forced evictions. In 2005, Operation Murambatsvina left approximately 700,000 Zimbabweans without homes, livelihoods or both. Thousands of children lost their access to education because they were forced to move away from their schools. The destruction of market stalls and other small businesses also meant that families could no longer afford to send their children to school.

    The Hopley and Hatcliffe settlements were set up as part of Operation Garikai, an operation intended to organize the many families left homeless after the forced evictions. Survivors living in these communities now live in dilapidated plastic shacks without access to basic services. Children are learning in makeshifts school houses that lack desks, books, stationary or trained teachers. Despite their grave inadequacies, this is the only form of education available.  The Zimbabwean government must immediately ensure that children in Hopley, Hatcliffe Extension and other Garikai settlements have access to free, compulsory, primary education.

    Take Action

    Please write to the Minister of Education, calling on him to:

    • Prioritize education for children in Operation Garikai settlements;
    • Take specific steps to support initiatives to provide education, including by minimizing legal and technical barriers;
    • Ensure that children in Hopley, Hatcliffe and other Garikai settlements have access to free, compulsory primary education;
    • Commission an independent study into the impact of Operation Murambatsvina on the right to education.

    Write To

    Minister of Education, Sport and Culture
    Senator David Coltart
    Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture
    Head Office, Union Avenue
    P. O. Box CY 121, Causeway
    Harare. Zimbabwe
    Salutation: Dear Minister

    Copies To

    Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Thokozani Khupe
    Chairperson of the Social Cluster
    Council of Ministers
    Munhumutapa Building
    Private Bag 7700, Causeway
    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Salutation: Dear Deputy Prime Minister

    More Background

    Sample Letter:

    Dear Minister of Education,

    I am concerned that thousands of children and young person who were resettled at Hopley and Hatcliffe Extensions under Operation Garikai struggle to learn in makeshift community schools because the government has failed to provide them with schools. I therefore urge you to prioritise access to education for the children in Operation Garikai settlements which were created following the mass forced evictions known as Operation Murumbatsvina in 2005. The destruction of homes and in some cases schools during the forced evictions caused immense disruption to education, depriving thousands of children of access to schools. For many children, the legacy of Operation Murumbatsvina continues to impact on their right to education.

    The government should take specific steps to support self help initiatives to provide education, including by minimising legal and technical barriers, ensure that children in Hopley, Hatcliffe Extension and other Garikai settlements have access to free, compulsory, primary education, and immediately commission an independent study into the impact of Operation Murambatsvina on the right to education.

    Sincerely,