Access to education is a basic human right but many young children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Zimbabwe still struggle to get access to learning opportunities because of many barriers. This inspired Lisa Chiriseri (30), a young activist to take action on this issue, creating an education fund called FACEZ (Fund a Child’s Education Zimbabwe), to assist underprivileged children to get access to education. The organisation currently supports over 90 pupils.

“FACEZ started in 2012 after I had been running a soup kitchen, feeding homeless teens since 2007. I realised prevention was better than cure. Education better more effective than any rehabilitation effort would ever be,” Lisa explained.

This organisation has gone beyond funding education and also provides mentorship sessions for the underprivileged, partnering with a number of charity organisations in some of Harare’s low-income suburbs, such as Epworth.

The organisation is also involved in other activities to address the barrier to education. Lack of classrooms and school fees are not the only problems many children have to contend with, but also basic facilities such as running water and toilets are a major problem. Some schools are still using pit latrines, which is a major disincentive and barrier for girls to come to school.

FACEZ partnered with ZIMNAT, an insurance company, to remove pit latrines and build flashing toilets at Chizungu Primary School in Epworth.

“We need to put a stop to children as young as 4 years using pit latrines,” said Lisa the founder of FACEZ.

FACEZ is currently building toilets for girls at the school, and phase two of the project will include construction of toilet facilities for boys, and for young learners living with disabilities as well.

To encourage ownership of the project by the community, FACEZ involved parents, and community members. The parents and community members were involved in digging of trenches for the sewer systems, raising money for roofing and in the construction of the block.

“This assures us that the parents and the school will take care of the toilet block and not let it deteriorate,” explained Lisa.