Most children in sub-Saharan Africa walk to school. Sometimes the distances are substantial. This is true in Malawi as well. The walk is that much longer for young girls. They usually wake up earlier than most, fetch water, get the fire going to heat water for bathing, help feed the other children, and then dress and go to school – sometimes a very long walk. Visit this link which tells the story of Sylvia, who is in primary school, and who has to walk almost 3 miles to school, one way, every day.
The Nzeru Foundation wishes to help mitigate this by building schools in rural areas to enable as many as possible to have access to excellence in education.
Yesterday on the 25th of June, 2013, Lester Chikacha, a Form 3 student at Emmanuel Private Secondary School, was buried. He was killed in a traffic accident on the 24th of June. On the day that he was buried, Zione Masamba, a Form 4 student, was severely injured in a traffic accident. They were both pedestrians walking along the road. Please keep Lester’s family in your prayers and thoughts as well as Zione and her family as they deal with these tragedies.
32 refurbished computers are now at their new home at Emmanuel Secondary School in Salima, Malawi. All of this was possible because of a generous grant from the Wyn and Carol Laidig Foundation. I was able to purchase software that will be used by three of the teachers to instruct the student on the basics of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. They are excited and are patiently (maybe!) the installation of a transformer on the electrical pole by the school which will then lead to the school being hardwired into a rather shaky Malawi electrical grid. Thank you so very much to the Wyn and Carol Laidig Foundation for making these smiles happen.
Funds have already been transferred and construction is already in progress for this third and final phase of the initial building of Emmanuel Secondary School. A lab and two teacher homes are being constructed. The teacher homes will assist with greater security and more immediate responsiveness to school matters. It also shows the community that we are serious about education. This could not have occurred without the generosity of the Antioch Foundation. We sincerely thank you. I will be going to Malawi in March and I will be posting pictures and video on the construction, both past and present. As we say in Malawi, zikomo kwambiri.
Just a little bit of really good news….The Minister of Education has signed the paperwork officially recognizing Emmanuel Secondary School as a certified school. Secondly, we are now an official examination site, again, recognized by the Ministry of Education. Director Patrick Magombo has worked tirelessly to make this happen.
The computers are almost at their destination. Patrick and I will be communicating in the interim to make things ready and to insure that everything is up and running by the time I arrive in Malawi in March. Again, this is all completely due to the generosity of the Wyn and Carol Laidig Foundation. What a blessing.
As of last week we were at 176 students and counting. We have also received multiple requests to receive boarders. Patrick has made some temporary shelters to accommodate the boarders.
Director Patrick Magombo texted me today with some more good news! A group from Sweden will be sponsoring 10 orphans to attend Emmanuel Secondary School. The orphans are from Mangochi, a lakeside town in the Southern Region. Patrick’s radio advertising, newspaper advertising and maybe the 8 hours of driving around with a bull horn might have just paid off. What a wonderful gift – to have the privilege of the opportunity to help change the lives of ten orphans. A dream come true.
Where to begin? The Independent School Association of Malawi (ISAMA) has officially recognized Emmanuel Secondary School as a member and as proof has sent them a formal certificate of membership. It is already framed and hanging on the wall in the school administration block.
Due to the generous Laidig Foundation grant Director Patrick Magombo was able to purchase extra land adjoining the school property!
Patrick Magombo received a visit from the British High Council who requested that Emmanuel Secondary School participate in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education and that Emmanuel Secondary School be a testing site of the IGCSE examinations! All of this and the classrooms are not yet in session. This is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of Patrick and his new staff.
Patrick and the school staff will be interviewing the students individually and ascertain where each is scholastically. The aim will be to properly place them and position them for success. This process will be starting this week.
Patrick will be meeting with Ministry of Education officials this weeks to receive his formal registration with the Ministry!
Director Patrick Magombo recently met with the new staff members of Emmanuel Secondary School. Here are some of them preparing for school!
We have been receiving gifts locally from people here in Greeley, Colorado and from across the country including Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin to mention a few. A huge thank you to everyone who has given. It is truly appreciated. The money goes directly to Malawi to get Emmanuel School up and running. The new Headmaster was speechless with tears when he saw that each of his teachers will have a text book and work book for each subject. Not only that, there are also books for the students! Again, thank you all so very much for your generosity!
The above is the title of a book on how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and self. A popular movement in the United States is the short term mission trip. The short trip to a foreign country to help build a structure or to teach a short lesson or give a seminar on what is thought to be the cure for the ills of the country being visited.
I think that this quote from the book demonstrates the ills of this type of poverty alleviation. This is a story told to a Western poverty alleviation specialist by an African friend:
Elephant and Mouse were best friends. One day Elephant said, “Mouse, let’s have a party!” Animals gathered from far and near. They ate. They drank. They sang. And they danced. And nobody celebrated more and danced harder than Elephant. After the party was over, Elephant exclaimed, “Mouse, did you ever go to a better party? ‘what a blast!” But mouse did not answer. “Mouse, where are you?” Elephant called. He looked around for his friend, and then shrank back in horror. There at Elephant’s feet lay Mouse. His little body was ground into the dirt. He had been smashed by the big feet of his exuberant friend, Elephant. “Sometimes, that is what it is like to do mission with you Americans,” the African story teller commented. “It is like dancing with an Elephant.”
The same book gives a participatory graph.
Coercion – Local people submit to predetermined plans developed by outsiders – Doing To
Compliance – Local people are assigned to tasks and outsiders direct – Doing For
Consultation – Locals’ opinion are asked. Outsiders analyze and decide on action – Doing For
Cooperation – Local people work with outsiders. Responsibility still lies with outsiders to direct – Doing With
Co-learning – Locals and outsiders share knowledge/wisdom/nzeru to create, plan and execute plans – Doing With
Community Initiated – Locals do all without outside initiatiors and facilitators – Responding To
At the Nzeru Foundation we aim to DO WITH and to RESPOND TO. We begin with sharing nzeru – wisdom - with the goal being that the locals will soon do all without outside initiators and facilitators. That means when we go to a country we must first go to learn not to do. We must go to listen not to speak. We must go with two hands open not filled with tools and ideas. This kind of poverty alleviation, no matter the need, must be, is and will be long term and will require patience. It will also show the greatest long term results. That is what has guided us as we have undertaken Emmanuel Private Schools as a project.