Rural Zimbabwean student wins first prize in national essay competition

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  • Tadiwanashe Rufasha, an Upper 6 student at ACEBS College competed against students from various TOP schools in Zimbabwe and won first prize - USD 500 in cash, in the Stockholm +50 essay writing competition.
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WHEN the Zimbabwe Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education made a call for content on climate change, Tadiwanashe Rufasha (17) knew he had to submit an essay to relay his feelings with regard to a healthy planet and prosperity for all.

Rufasha from the small mining town of Mvuma is doing Advanced Level at ACEBS College.

He wrote an essay titled, Urgent need for a healthy planet and prosperity for all, and at the end of it all, smiled all the way to the bank as he won US$500.

Rufasha who is the chairperson of the Environment Club at the college said he was inspired by climate change events taking place in the country and the world over.

The essay was on ways to mitigate climate change challenges prevailing on the global arena.

“I am a 17-year-old boy doing A-Level at ACEBS College in Mvuma. I wrote an essay on the urgent need of a healthy planet and prosperity for all. From reading books, following the news from around the world I knew about the negative effects of climate change on the economy and people’s lives,” he said.

Rufasha said it took him a week to come up with the topic and seeking guidance from his teachers.

He said the fact that he has witnessed the effects of climate change in Zimbabwe made it easier for him to come up with the topic.

Rufasha said a healthy planet is one which is balanced in terms of sustaining humans, the environment and animals.

“I was shocked when I was called to the principal’s office and was given the good news. I could not believe it at first but here I am, a proud winner,” he said.

Rufasha attended the prize giving ceremony hosted by the Ambassador of Sweden to Zimbabwe Ms Åsa Pehrson.

“It was an honour travelling to Harare to get my prize money. I call upon more pupils to take essay writing seriously because it’s not about doing Geography as it were but passion for writing. I am doing commercial subjects,” he said.

Rufasha said he was not yet sure of what to do with the US$500.

“I’m thinking of spoiling myself you know. I’m thinking of also paying for my school fees and buying books. I will see what to do about the money,” he said.

ACEBS College principal Mrs Irene Rufasha said she was happy that her pupil won the prize.

“This achievement means the learner sailed through all the levels from school, district, provincial to national levels,” she said.

Mrs Rufasha said her college flag had been raised higher.

“This reflects on the good work we are doing even if we are a new school in Mvuma. We have a total enrolment of 78 pupils and we hope to get more riding on the success of one of our learners,” she said.

“The victory is a measure of standards thus we are ranked even higher than we would have anticipated.”

She commended the teachers at the college for their dedication.

“All the teachers show a lot of commitment and are always punctual and spot-on which also drives the eagerness of our learners to partake in learning. The strong work ethic drives our school,” she said.

Mrs Rufasha said the college has also benefitted from the learner’s success as they have been given bins to put litter, among other benefits.

The Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu congratulated Rufasha for the prize and invited him to Harare.

Minister Ndlovu met Rufasha who was present during the belated National World Environment Day commemorations held at Msasa Primary School in Shurugwi District in Monday.

“This is a welcome development as we see schoolchildren participating in climate change issues.

“Climate change affects all of us and therefore the need for everyone to be involved be it through writing of essays and advocacy because we want the message out there,” he said.


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