Some Zimbabwean teachers say they are struggling to make ends meet in the country currently facing serious social and economic problems.
Most teachers, who can hardly survive on monthly meager earnings, have resorted to selling various wares in an attempt to supplement their income.
Teachers are paid almost $500 per month but some take home about $100 after salary deductions, including loans and credits with departmental stores and other entities.
Realizing that this is affecting their families, some are now engaged in various activities like buying and selling goods in order to supplement their income.
Edwin Mukute, who is a teacher at Chirowakamwe School in Dangamvura suburb, Mutare, says owing to the hard times that have befallen them, most are conducting extra lessons for local students.
He says these extra lessons are held over weekends and school holidays where they charge varying amounts of money.
“As teachers we are struggling at the moment. We are now conducting extra lessons at home and selling some vegetables derived from small gardens that we have as a means of supplementing our salaries. We also sell some ‘stuff’ at school to children.”
Another school teacher, Peter Pariyani, says he has diversified into selling second-hand clothing and engaging some other income-generating projects.
Pariyani says there is never a time, especially around now, where a teacher would only rely on their monthly salary to survive.
“As you know the salaries we get are too little to sustain our families we are now into selling various items to survive. I go to Mozambique to buy second-hand clothing for resale here and at school I do sell some snacks to school children as well.”
Julius Mangezi, a teacher from Chipinge communal lands, says he plays hide and seek with school authorities since it is forbidden to sell anything at school.
He too is now into vending at the school grounds.
“We are now into vending most of us because of the meagre salaries and as you know it is not allowed. We do it clandestinely to keep families going in these hard times.”
Text: Another teacher from Nyanga, who only identified himself as Edwin, says he is now engaged in illegal activities in order to survive. He says some of his female colleagues are now engaged in prostitution in order to supplement their income.
He says all this is happening due to the current economic problems bedeviling the country.
“As teachers we are struggling as our salaries are not enough for our needs; and you may be aware we did not get our bonuses as well. And this month our salary date was changed, we are now selling clothing among other things to get more money. We are also into selling some (illegal) stuff that we cannot name as they are illegal and we have no choice about this.”
The plight of teachers cuts across many civil servants as they are being paid by the same employer; the government of Zimbabwe. All are crying foul over the deepening economic crisis in the country.