Qantas Tour of Zimbabwe
Aussies moved by Zimbabwe kids' plight
A humbling charity visit saw Australia's T20 squad donate their winnings to provide a community with much-needed supplies
24 July 2018, 03:19 PM AEST
Glenn Maxwell has revealed Australia's T20 squad were so moved by their visit to a poverty-stricken Zimbabwe community they donated all their prizemoney from their T20 tri-series to provide much-needed supplies for the local school.
Following a "pretty brutal" UK tour that saw them thrashed 5-0 in a one-day series by England where they also lost a T20 match, the Aussies finally tasted victory in Zimbabwe before falling short in the tri-series final against Pakistan.
But amid the hectic cricket schedule, the players took time out to venture some 45 minutes north of Harare to visit with some of Zimbabwe's underprivileged youth.
Located in the Hatcliffe Extension lies a makeshift school were hundreds of children are educated free of charge; some orphaned and all living below the poverty line.
Hatcliffe Primary caters for more than 800 children from the highly-populated community despite a lack of classrooms, furniture, toilets and textbooks, among other basic amenities.
They have one volunteer teacher for every 50 students, but endless smiles and optimism that touched the Australians. A planned one-hour visit turned into a three-hour stay.
"It was an amazing trip," Maxwell told SEN's Gerard Whateley today. "The place we went to was about 45 mins out into the wilderness and they were amazing these kids.
"They were stuffed into these tiny little classrooms and they just seemed so happy to be given the chance to have an education.
"We were able to go back there and help them out. After the series was done, all the man-of-the-match awards, sixes awards, match-winning awards, we were able to cash them in and go and buy a whole heap of things for their school and donate back to them at the end of the trip.
"It was an amazingly special thing for us to be a part of and just see the joy that it brought them.
A post shared by Alex Carey (@alexcarey_5) on
"After what was a pretty tough eight weeks on the road for us, to provide them with a smile at the end of it was pretty special."
The Australians' prize money bought hundreds of textbooks, pens, chalk, exercise books, clipboards and soccer and rugby balls, as well as all the cricket and team kit they left behind on their first visit.
Cricket Australia's charity arm Cricket Cares organised the visit to the school that is supported by Brisbane-based charity Grassroots Cricket, getting a look at the facilities and also running a cricket clinic and joining in games.
"It's incredibly humbling, the simplicity of the way these guys live in some really tough circumstances," Australia head coach Justin Langer said.
"But to see the smiles on their faces, to see their love of cricket has been a brilliant opportunity and we've loved every minute of it."
Australia allrounder Marcus Stoinis ran bowling drills before playing soccer with children on the adjacent dirt field in between rocks and with ageing goal posts.
"Just to come out here and have the opportunity to do this sort of stuff, and until you do it you don't realise how fortunate you are," Stoinis said.
"It puts things in perspective, and how happy these kids are, beautiful young kids just enjoying themselves.
"There's not many supplies or anything but they're still happy."
The children, aged 3-15, were particular taken with big-hitting duo Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch, Maxwell teaching them the lap-sweep and slog while Finch played British Bulldog with hundreds of the younger kids.
"Maxi had them all lined up, playing the sweep, the reverse sweep, switch-hit, lap, a hit over the head for six, in 10years' time there's going to be some bloody good cricketers," Stoinis said.