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Mabelreign High Pupils Cite Poor Food, Sexual Abuse Among Protest Issues

Mabelreign Girls High pupils Wednesday downed pens and demanded improvement in the school diet as well as appropriate action against their head who they accuse of running down the school.

Some male teachers have also been accused of sexually harassing students, and no action has been taken by the head.

“If we complain about the poor food, the head tells us chikuru kudya (so long you’re eating. How can ten people share four pieces of meat?” said the headgirl Miriam Kusvayi.

She said the head, Mrs Bertha Kusena, does not give any feedback or communication when they raise complaints.

“We complained about poor service long back but she acts as if everything is fine. She’s not free to us. We also want motherly talk with her.

“There’s poor quality food here. We understand that the economy is tough but the school must try to give is basics.

“The toilets are always dirty with sewage flowing all over. There are water problems and we use swimming pool water to bath, wash our teeth and the water is very dirty.

“We also need to be allowed to bring laptops just like other schools. Now can we research if we do not have resources?”

The school sports prefect Paidamoyo Banda complained that sports are not being supported at the school.

“We’re no longer partaking in sports and this is disadvantaging those of us who are talented. If we ask her, we’re told the school has no sporting budget.

“If we go for sports, we’re offered dog biscuits (loose biscuits) the whole day. This is so very unfair.

“All the coaches were fired. We are no longer able to put our school on the map.”

Junior MP for Harare West Vanessa Chivizhe said pupils were being physically abused.

“A certain male teacher is also under the influence of alcohol, and when students complain, they’re told that’s how he is. When he’s under the influence, he uses anything to physically abuse pupils.”

The demonstration started at the school with pupils marching to Mabelreign police station where they implied police to investigate their complaints.

The girls forced their way out of the school through Ellis Robins School.

Meanwhile, general workers at the school said they have not been paid for months. Last month, they only got $40 each.

“Things are hard, but something must be done. The school must take the welfare of its workers seriously,” said a general hand..

“We’re not offered lunch or food allowance yet they expect us to work all day at $40 per month. I am thankful to the students who protested. I really hope something is done to address the issues.”

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