Dillard student runs school in Africa

Most Dillard University students aim to complete 150 hours of community service by the end of their junior year simply because it is a college requirement. Siphilisiwe Ncube, a graduating senior and computer science and mathematics major is involved in community service on a global scale, and she’s not asking for credit for her efforts.

Ncube came to Dillard University from Mutare, Zimbabwe lured by the concept of life in the United States, a great education and a tennis scholarship. Ncube says she considers herself lucky to experience life outside Zimbabwe and that she wants to help gives others in her country the opportunities she has been given.

"America is a very fast moving, technological country. Zimbabwe is very slow and poor," Ncube said. Ncube founded Trendset Preschool in Mutare in August 2003 to help needy children in her community.

"I just want to help kids learn some of the things that I only learned when I came to America. I don’t believe we should have to travel so far from home to get a good education," Ncube said. Trendset Preschool opened its doors to 23 students for classes in January.

In December the school’s enrollment is at 45, the maximum legal capacity for the three roomed building that houses it. "Students are being turned away. We just don’t have the facilities to take more students at the moment," Ncube said.

Three teachers run Trendset Preschool that Ncube pays personally and a $30 term tuition fee barely covers electricity, water, lunch expenses and the cost of school supplies. Pencils and paper are a bare necessity for the preschool but Ncube would like to provide her students with new toys and learning tools, which she just can’t afford on her own.

"I would like to give them so much more but I just can’t," Nucube said with a sigh. Ncube hopes to find sponsors offering financial support for Trendsets continued expansion and improvement.

"I’m going to set up a web page so that potential sponsors can see where their money would go. I want to be able to take more students. I would ultimately like Trendset to become a high school," Ncube said.

While she continues to strive for improvement Ncube can enjoy the current success of the small school that she has created. "We had our first graduation from Trendset on Friday. Twenty students graduated to grade one which is exciting. I’m told the graduation was really beautiful," Ncube said.

Ncube is due to graduate from Dillard University in December and she plans to continue running Trendset Preschool from the United States as she attends graduate school. Anyone interested in donating to Trendset can contact Ncube at 214-235-1677.