The School

The school is in a very remote area and getting building materials into these hills is a real challenge. The muddy roads are strewn with boulders and full of gullies, and are really meant more for use by donkeys.

The school, which one sees in this photo, is at an altitude of 1200 meters and the surrounding mountains are at 2600 meters.

Building work on the first school block was started in 2010 and the first pupils started school in the autumn of 2011. A new building has been constructed each year resulting in 3 classroom blocks and 1 teachers' house completed in 2015. Building work can be sporadic as workers need to tend to their own gardens in planting/harvesting seasons. In addition, continous rains have at times held up the work for weeks.
There are desks for the pupils in each classroom (with different heights for varying child sizes) as well as a desk for each teacher. A blackboard has been installed in each classroom.

 

 

There is a water tap on the property but no electricity. The buildings were designed with 6 windows each to ensure plenty of natural light in the classrooms.


The teacher’s house has an outdoor kitchen and there are 4 pit latrines on the property. Trees have been planted around the school property.

As of spring 2016 there are 185 pupils at the school, the distribution of boys and girls being roughly equal. Due to the fact that many of the children have not been attending school earlier and are catching up there is often a disparity of age in each class level. The children come from 6 nearby villages.

At present there are 5 teachers at the school.

The local community has appointed a School Committee consisting of 10 members. All 6 headmen from the nearby villages attend the committee meetings as well.

The Committee has begun construction of a small administration for use by the teachers.

The nearby hospital will also be able to use this building as an examination room for primary health care in the area.

 

Background for building Mwanani School: Mr. Wedson Chisambo, headman of Mwanani village became a friend of ours while we lived in Malawi in 2006-2008. We talked about the problem the children in his village were having due to the nearest school being 5-6 km away. In 2010 we decided to begin fundraising to support the building of a primary school in Mwanani village so that the children could attend a school close to home. Primary Education in Malawi is free and the Government is providing salaries for 4 of the teachers at the school, 2 directly and 2 through funds allocated for the school administered by the local community.

I think that we can confidently say that the money which has been donated has been well spent. We have had the good fortune to work with industrious and motivated people.


  The teacher's living quarters under construction