Zimbabwe: Invest for the Long Haul

Dixon, 9, in his classroom with new desks, pens and notebooks

2013: Because of generous funding for desks, pens and notebooks, Dixon’s class is now well supplied.


Dixon 4, having to use chalk on the floor due to the lack of desks and school supplies

2009: Due to the lack of desks and school supplies, Dixon had to use chalk on the floor of his classroom.

It’s a privilege when I get to document the work of an organization from its initiation and then return to see the good fruit of their labor. These before and after portraits capture the improvement and forward momentum of students that have, or still are attending a small, rural school in Zimbabwe sponsored by Africa Development Mission and its partner SCC Global Outreach. Making long term investments in the education of children is one of their major goals.

Both natives of Zimbabwe, Denford Chizanga, and his wife Shingirirai, began ADM in 2002. “As we were helping the children to go to school (by paying school fees) we also began to realize that yes, it is one thing to pay school fees … but it is another thing for that child to be in an environment in which they can learn and make the most of the opportunity for education,” says Denford who attended one of the schools ADM now supports.

“So, one of the things we decided to do at that time was, not only should we sponsor children to go to school, but let us work at creating a conducive  environment for learning, an environment that gives that child an equal opportunity to learn.” To that end, ADM has helped build desks, provided textbooks, stationery and pens. They also help by providing school feeding programs and give both funds and labor to fix broken down buildings.

He adds, “The future of Zimbabwe is in the hands of these children. I believe what we are doing is creating an opportunity for the children to have a better future.”

Call to action: If you would like to invest for the long haul, please contact ADM or SCC Global Outreach.

Clinton, 14, who has moved on to secondary school, visits his old primary school with new windows.

2013: Clinton, now in secondary school, visits his old primary school that has been refurbished with new windows.


2009: Here, Clinton and a classmate wave through the broken out windows of their classroom four years earlier.

Pelagria, 17, is about to finish secondary school and move on to college. The investment made in teachers and facilities for her primary school helped prepare her for higher education.

2013: Pelagria is about to finish secondary school and move on to college. The investment made in teachers and facilities for her primary school helped prepare her for higher education.

Pelagria in 2009 in her last hear in primary school.

2009: Pelagria in 2009 in her last year in primary school works math problems at the chalkboard.

All photographs ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman


(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @66mm, 1/1600 sec, f2.8, ISO 3200)

(Canon 5D II, 35mm f1.4, 1/80 sec, f2, ISO 640)

(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @36mm, 1/1000 sec, f5.0, ISO 1000)

(Canon 5D II, 50mm f1.2, 1/4000 sec, f1.4, ISO 800)

(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @50mm, 1/160 sec, f5.0, ISO 2500)

(Canon 5D II, 35mm f1.4, 1/100 sec, f2.2, ISO 400)






9 thoughts

  1. So much to love in this post! Love the work being done by these folks to invest in education!! Love this kind of a photo documentation, returning to the same spots and same people to illustrate change.

    And I love your images. I tend to forget that photographers of your caliber grow over time. While I appreciate your images from 2009, there is a marked difference with the current images. This is so encouraging.


  2. Hi,

    My husband and I have had the privilege to serve with Denford and Shingi twice in the past three years. They are the REAL deal. Thank you so much for shining a light on their ministry!! If anyone here in the States would like more information about supporting a student or donating to a school’s upkeep and/or the other ways ADMT does in terms of community development, please point them in our direction…we are his forwarding agents. We would love to share more about their ministry! 🙂



  3. Gary – I enjoyed seeing the different pairings – the sense of passing time and development is encouraging. Nice idea, and glad you had the opportunity to follow up!

  4. Love the pictures..
    Very powerful..
    Can I steal one for a presentation I am doing to show the state of education in Zimbabwe
    Nothing captures that as these vivid images

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