Educaring Africa was launched in 2012 off the back of an initiative to help more students in Malawi attend secondary school. While primary education is free, unfortunately for many families secondary school is not. Towards the end of primary school, it is a usual trend to see attendance rates drop in the latter years as students are faced with the very real prospect of not being able to progress to secondary school, which consists of four years in Malawi and three terms per school year. Students that do complete primary school must complete an examination, with their result a determinant for what school they can attend - government, private or boarding. Fees can vary between as little as US$7 a term for government to US$40 a term form boarding. This presents a hurdle for rural families in southern Malawi, many of whom are living below the poverty line.
What we have done...
Since 2012, Educaring Africa has raised funds to help provide as many students as possible in the Monkey Bay area with sponsorship to attend high school. Each school year (September - June), an average of 100 students across 12 schools have been supported with tuition fees and over the four year program, many of these students have managed to successfully complete their four years of school. Our waiting lists are compiled each school year with headmasters, community groups and our development partners MVO in consultation with families. Our efforts have helped to boost participation and completion rates in our local region, which has ultimately helped to improve literacy standards amongst students.
Having consulted with schools and community groups in 2016 about the future of this project, Educaring Africa and its development partners will wind back the program for the 2017/18 school year. With waiting lists growing yearly, we have sought a more sustainable long term solution to addressing issues around participation and affordability in the community. Many students supported under our program have either finished school or been given due notice to find places in other schools. From 2017/18 Educaring Africa will now offer 12 scholarship placements across the 12 schools it works with. While this is far fewer places than it is used to providing, funds formerly directed towards this project will now be put towards one of our most exciting proposals to date...
Our very own Secondary School!
The above pictured may not look particularly exciting now, but in the future it will house a new secondary school operated by Educaring Africa and Malawi Volunteer Organisation. If you look closely, you can make out the red brick outline of our new medical centre in the distance (to the right of the white brick feeding centre), which is currently under construction. As part of that project, we have acquired a piece of land in Chizula Village more than 350 metres in length and 150 metres wide. This proposal has been devised in conjunction with all key stakeholders including surrounding schools, local government and the community and has so far received unanimous support. The land has been donated by the Chizula Village chief as a project of community benefit and we will soon be calling on donor support to help make our vision for this site a reality. To find out more about this project you can read the proposal below.