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Britain Donates $10 Million for Poor Children's Program

Some pupils were sent home at the beginning of the school year for not paying school fees as schools opened for the third term
Britain has donated $10 million towards the government’s cash-strapped Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).

The money, donated through the Department for International Development (DFID), will see Zimbabwe sending at least $250,000 vulnerable children to school.

Under BEAM, the government needs $73 million to pay school fees for orphans and disadvantaged children.

But last month the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Ngoni Masoka, told a parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, that only $15 million was budgeted for BEAM this fiscal year, a figure he said was grossly insufficient.

The UK government, through DFID, will target 5,415 primary schools and special schools countrywide.

“The funding will contribute to higher attendance and completion rates among orphans and vulnerable children,” the British Embassy said in Harare said.

The head of the DFID office in Zimbabwe, Jane Rintoul, said “the UK is very pleased to be able to provide this additional support which I know will make a huge difference to the lives of the children who will benefit along with their families and wider communities.”

The money was released in response to Zimbabwe’s request to DFID last month to support BEAM.

Education Minister Lazarus Dokora told Studio 7 that he wrote a letter to the parliamentary committee on education, which met Thursday to discuss BEAM and related issues, assuring them that the government will not send children who fail to pay fees home.

Former Education Minister David Coltart said the money is a welcome relief.