VISITING VICTORIA FALLS OVER CHRISTMAS WITH THEIR PARENTS, CHANGED THE HEARTS OF FOUR YOUNG AMERICAN GIRLS. 

The Sheth and Anetsberger girls, who visited Victoria Falls River Lodge with their families from 24 to 26 December 2018, were so touched by the socio-economic conditions many children grow up in, in Africa; that they decided to do something about it.

The four girls – Maya, Reese, Sarah and Hayden – fundraised and collected school supplies when they returned back home to the USA and donated all of the collected items to Zambezi Crescent Preschool, situated in the Zambezi National Park.

Katie Anetsberger, the mother of two of the girls, found out about the school after enquiring about visiting a local school in Zimbabwe so that the children would be able to get an idea of the socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe.

The school, which opened in January last year, was built by the owners of Victoria Falls River Lodge to provide free schooling to all pre-schoolers living in the National Park’s Staff Village. It currently offers classes for children in the Early Childhood Development phase, aged 3 to 5 years old, who previously were unable to go to school due to the distance to travel to Victoria Falls Town.

“We live in a typical well-to-do suburb in the USA, and these children have not had the experience of seeing how fortunate they are with the simplest of things in life. Granted that the Zambezi Crescent school is absolutely fantastic and this particular school does not face all the hardships of a school in rural Zimbabwe, we still wanted to give the kids an opportunity to be selfless and give back to those who could benefit from their own generosity,” said Saumil Sheth, the father of two of the girls.

He said both the Sheth and Anetsberger children realized that such an opportunity to give would be a great way to pay forward the values that they had been taught.

“We work hard as parents to teach our children that all that we are able to provide for our children is done through hard work and sacrifice.”

What really impressed us was how the kids took these lessons and pushed ahead to get these donations. The perfect example is Sarah and Reese Anetsberger, who asked that instead of birthday gifts for their birthdays, that the kids bring items such as crayons, markers and school supplies so that the group could donate these items to the school in Zimbabwe,” said Sheth.

The other girls – Maya and Hayden – also worked hard to collect donations for the children of Zambezi Crescent Preschool and learnt a great lesson in giving.  “We live in a society that tends to forget that some of the simplest actions can derive some of the greatest results. I am so proud of these girls and their initiatives,” said Sheth.

The other girls – Maya and Hayden – also worked hard to collect donations for the children of Zambezi Crescent Preschool and learnt a great lesson in giving.  “We live in a society that tends to forget that some of the simplest actions can derive some of the greatest results. I am so proud of these girls and their initiatives,” said Sheth.

Both families fell in love with the continent and would love to return to Africa one day. “The stay [at Victoria Falls River Lodge] was magnificent. The individuals at the lodge were so kind and helpful. They went out of their way to make this a trip of a lifetime. We had our guide, Casper, who really took care of us in a way that made him feel like family. Tara and the crew were amazing, and we could not have ever thought there would be a better beginning to our amazing trip,” said Sheth.

“The parents of the children deeply value education and feel that “By giving children education, they have the tools to forge through life and be in charge of their futures.”