Learner from small mining town wins first prize in climate change essay contest

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Head of Midlands Office

WHEN the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education issued a call for content on climate change, Tadiwanashe Rufasha (17) knew he had to submit an essay on his feelings for a healthy planet and prosperity for all.

Rufasha from the small mining town of Mvuma is taking advanced level courses at ACEBS College.

He wrote an essay titled, Urgent need for a healthy planet and prosperity for all, and at the end of it all, smiled all the way to the bank winning US$500.

Rufasha, president of the college’s environment club, said he was inspired by the climate change events unfolding in the country and around the world.

The essay focused on ways to mitigate the challenges of climate change prevalent on the global stage.

Mangaliso Ndlovu

“I am a 17 year old boy studying at A level at ACEBS College Mvuma. I wrote an essay on the urgent need for a healthy planet and prosperity for all. Reading books, following news around the world, I knew the negative effects of climate change on the economy and people’s lives,” he said.

Rufasha said it took her a week to find the subject and ask her teachers for advice.

He said witnessing the effects of climate change in Zimbabwe made it easier for him to bring up the subject.

Rufasha said a healthy planet is a balanced planet in terms of supporting humans, the environment and animals.

“An unhealthy planet is caused by us people destroying the environment through activities that cause the emission of gases that destroy the ozone layer,” Rufasha said.

“We have challenges when it comes to having a healthy climate, we have emissions from industries, vehicles; we have illegal mining, felling of trees around us and it affects the balance of the earth and it affects us a lot as humans.

He said that after submitting his essay, he never thought he would win.

illegal mining

“I was shocked when I was called to the principal’s office and told the good news. I couldn’t believe it at first, but here I am, a proud winner,” he said.

Rufasha attended the award ceremony hosted by the Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ms. Åsa Pehrson.

“It was an honor to travel to Harare to get my prize money. I call on more students to take essay writing seriously because it’s not about doing geography so to speak, but passion for writing. I do business stuff,” he said.

Rufasha said he still doesn’t know what to do with the 500 US dollars.

“I think about spoiling myself, you know. I also plan to pay my school fees and buy books. I’ll see what to do with the money,” he said.

Principal of ACEBS College, Mrs. Irene Rufasha, said she was happy that her student won the price.

“This achievement signifies that the learner has gone through all levels from school, district, province to national level,” she said.

Ms Rufasha said her college flag was raised higher.

“It reflects the good work we are doing even though we are a new school in Mvuma. We have a total enrollment of 78 students and we hope to benefit more from the success of one of our learners,” she said.

“Winning is a measure of standards, so we’re ranked even higher than we would have expected.”

She praised the college teachers for their dedication.


“All teachers show great commitment and are always punctual and accurate, which also boosts our learners’ eagerness to participate in learning. Strong work ethic is the lifeblood of our school,” a- she declared.

Ms Rufasha said the college had also benefited from the learners’ success as they were provided with bins to put rubbish in, among other benefits.

Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu congratulated Rufasha on the award and invited him to Harare.

Minister Ndlovu met with Rufasha who was present at the belated National Environment Day commemorations held Monday at Msasa Primary School in Shurugwi District.

“This is a welcome development as we see school children engaging with climate change issues. Climate change affects us all and so there is a need for everyone to be involved, be it through essay writing and advocacy, because we want the message to get out,” he said.

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