Meet the students of Phulanya!
The last weeks have been busy for us in Malawi. Many things have happened. Especially on the part of education. We have handed out second hands clothes to around 600 students who actively joined our educational intervention during the school closure due to covid-19. They were beyond exited to receive a new set of clothes!
Since almost all the children of Phulanya are registered with One Hope Malawi, we have a better idea of the problems and challenges these children face. We have discovered their strengths as well. For instance, Kumbukani Rodrick (20 years) walks daily over five hours to go to school, since he has no money to rent a small bedroom closer to his secondary school. We got to know Lawrence Mahata (17 years) who showed some difficult behaviour. We talked to him and found out his father just died a few weeks ago. We followed him up at his secondary school and he is performing very well now. Some students have reached adult age already, but are just starting with secondary education, a very common problem here in Malawi. We are very pleased to see that some are still going to school even though they are much older than the rest of the students.
The nursery schools in Phulanya are not yet organized. The teachers often don’t show up and if they show up, they mostly sing some songs and send the children home. There is a lack of proper training and commitment from the teachers side. One area in Phulanya has no school building and is teaching outside. Other areas are using a church or an official school building. We had meetings with the teachers and nursery committees to organize nursery education in a proper way in Phulanya. Slowly but surely, we are making some progress. We will set up a small office inside the nursery school to make changes possible. During our observations in the nursery schools, we have met Hannah M’mamiwa (5 years) who always goes to school. Even if the teacher is not there, you will find her at the veranda of the school. She is so eager to learn! We also met Maria Rodrick (2 years) who is so small and yet goes every day to school, outside without any classroom available. We are so proud of her and her parents for sending her to school at such a young age.
The primary schools are affected by teacher strikes for the last two months. Teachers want more support to protect them and their learners from covid-19. The schools are more closed than open. This affects the students of Phulanya a lot. Since it is so unpredictable when schools will be open and when they are closed again, we haven’t been able to provide any type of education to the children during the moments the schools were closed. This is hard for us as an organization. We wish to help, but when plans are made how to help, schools are opened again. We just pray that God will protect all the students and keep them motivated to continue to go to school when they open again. Since we meet many students in the village, we have gotten to know them better. Brian Phizani (9 years) is suffering from bilharzia and open wounds over the whole body. He goes to school when possible, but it is very painful for him to walk this far distance with his open wounds. We met Salome Chilewe (9 years) who is a very committed student. She loves to go to school and is sad that the schools are often closed for the past months.