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CState graduate leads educational outreach project in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Farirai Berejena, a 2001 Cincinnati State graduate of the Electronics Engineering Technology program, has established the non-profit organization World Big Family, headquartered in Ft. Thomas, KY, to promote education and provide technology to rural schools in Zimbabwe.

Faculty member and co-op coordinator Sue Dolan, who is retiring from CState this month, said she has stayed in touch with Farirai over the years.

"Farirai refers to me as 'his American mom,'" Sue explained.

"Farirai excelled as a student," Sue said. "After earning his associate's degree he continued at NKU and earned his bachelor's degree in Computer and Electronics Engineering."

"He told me when we first met that he wanted to be able to take his knowledge of electronics back to his home country, Zimbabwe, to help others," Sue added.

Sue said the World Big Family initiative provides donated computers to schools in Zimbabwe and also supports leadership training workshops (photo below) and other activities and resources to assist South African students.

Farirai shared an update with Sue recently, after spending three weeks in Zimbabwe distributing computers and visiting schools that World Big Family has assisted. Farirai reported:

I visited a number of schools we have already donated computers to. I was amazed with the impact so far. We're changing the community at large, and the computers are transforming students and empowering them to learn beyond their wildest dreams.

Students' grades have gone up, and some schools experienced a 100% pass rate for grade 12 and broke the national record of rural schools' pass rates and beat even private schools.

I watched students dropping everything and running into the computer lab. Many of the kids told me that everyday they look forward to using the computer lab; it gives them a new hope and energy to attend classes. Teachers said that the attendance is no longer a problem because of the computer access at the schools.

In all the school visits (106 schools) I realized the need is great, and we must cover more schools and also send more computers to reduce the student-to-computer ratio.

Farirai said World Big Family also is starting an e-learning platform with an e-learning library to help students in Zimbabwe who can’t afford to buy books.

If you have a computer to donate or would like more information about other ways to support World Big Family, you can reach out to Farirai directly at fbere@yahoo.com.

(Photos from WorldBigFamily.org)

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