WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT: WHO ARE ZEST?

The Zimbabwe Education Squash Trust (ZEST) was established in Harare, Zimbabwe, with the aim of developing the talents of underprivileged children from vulnerable areas through squash and academic support.

The programme mentors young boys and girls from under privileged backgrounds in Zimbabwe to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor by introducing them to squash and propelling them to reach new heights in academics as well as sport.

The academy invests in the futures of the juniors by providing mentorship in all facets of life, not just squash. The guidance, as well as scholarships that are provided by ZEST, are key to helping these juniors lead successful and fulfilled lives and also helps to create a positive impact on their communities and beyond.

The founder and trustee of ZEST believes that the juniors have not yet got adequate opportunity to improve and showcase their talents. ZEST embodies its principle at the heart of this mission and is a strong force in fuelling positive change in Zimbabwe. They believe that education is key to teaching skills and thereby enhancing productivity and creativity.  

The programme trusts that the more juniors get interested in the sport, the more they aim higher in education through the support from the trust. ZEST help to nurture talent and uses squash as an angle to approach young minds and help reduce poverty in the area.

ZEST is one of the best programmes at nurturing talent and promoting diversity by being great champions in mentoring a squash programme which encourages juniors from all backgrounds, no matter their race, colour, ethnicity, religion or economic status and helps to shape characters to bring out the best in the individual and communities as a whole. ZEST fosters the empowerment of their youth in training, nurturing and skill development initiative currently at the Belgravia Sports Club.

Currently, the programme is trying to establish a sports centre that will give the juniors a place to train and guide the youth of Zimbabwe towards national and international squash, as well as other sports.

ZEST is also currently seeking to source funds and resources to expand the programme, with the objectives of the proposal seeking to establish an exchange visit programme between ZEST and sports institutions.

The coming together of young people from all parts of the country reinforces friendship ties and unity amongst young people, who can be vulnerable to crime and other factors. ZEST have been able to show that their juniors are capable of world class performances and continue to provide a stepping stone towards a professional career. As well as the academy providing an opportunity to students to pursue their sporting aspirations, they also encourage and guide towards academic qualifications.

A message from ZEST:

First of all we would to thank friends of ZEST from all over the world for the support they are giving us. The support was in form of squash equipment and ideas too. We would like to thank the PSA Rebound programme for the support and being the pillar of the programme. 

The opportunities that are hard to get for ZEST has been made easy by PSA, such as PSA membership, coaching tips from SquashSkills YouTube free account and many more. Since the beginning of the trust we have managed to change children’s lives through formal employment, some are coaching in both schools and clubs, professional players and they are also role models in their communities where they live. 

An example of this is Ishmael Mubure, a pioneer player who is now based in the Netherlands as a professional player and coach. There several others who are based in different parts of the world because of ZEST squash. We are expecting two girls both U19 to obtain squash scholarships next year and they are Zim 1 Polite Mubure and 2 Langa Manyika GU19.

ZEST has the following players ranked in Zim BU19 no. 2 Roy Jambo, BU16 no. 1 Talent Jambo & 2 Rukudzo Midzi, BU14 no. 1 Elton Mukumba, GU14 no. 2 Delight Nyakabawo that shows good progress at zero budget.

We need equipment and we need sponsorship so that we will be able to pay our stuff and costs of running day to day in the programme. At the moment we are two volunteers who are coaching at ZEST for free and the programme is growing fast. We are targeting to build a better community through ZEST squash and academical help. We need to change people’s lives more than what we did earlier.

You can find out more about ZEST and how you can support them here.