One adult in 5, one child in 10 tests positive for HIV.
The only correlate of remaining disease-free is staying in school.
Exams in English in Standard/Grade 8 eliminate all but a few from attending secondary school.
Few schools and teachers. Many schools still under the trees.
Because teachers are in short supply, some have little more than a Standard 8 education, themselves.
Their pupils must pass high-stakes tests at the end of every Standard in order to continue in school.
Typically one textbook for every 5-6 pupils. Most lack paper or pencil, pen. Class size 100+.
Many starve when the rains don’t come, or come at the wrong time. Hunger is hardest on the young and the sick.
To respond to these needs, a number of collaborative projects have been negotiated:
Libraries established and maintained in 3 schools.
Presentation of 2 laptops to the one school that has electricity has allowed for regular email contact to supplement postal correspondence between Malawian and U.S.-based colleagues.
A child feeding program establised for one school.
Permaculture maize farming written into curriculum and enacted to provide sustainability for this child feeding program.
Bilingual English/Chichewa teaching using commercially-produced and teacher-authored big books (poster-sized books for classrooms of over 125 children), books on tape, books translated into local languages, and correspondence with U.S.-based elementary school penpals and Book Buddies.
A sister school relationship established with a U.S.-based elementary school.
Scholarships provided for 10 new pupils per year to attend secondary school.
Scholarships for 3 candidates to complete bachelor of education degrees in critical needs areas of literacy, science, and mathematics. Upon their graduation, these individuals will serve as teacher educators in their areas of expertise.
First aid kits provided & maintained as appropriate for rural schools.
Medical supplies provided by a U.S.-based sister hospital for a village facility which sees over 500 mothers and babies as patients per day and provides anti-retrovirals.
Teacher development of culturally congruent HIV/AIDS instructional materials for Standards [Grades] 1-8.
Maintenance of school facilities: blackboard-painting, curriculum charts painted on walls, repairs to holes in concrete floors and broken glass windows, padlocks for library doors.
Establishment of career education curriculum for Standards 6-8.
Malemia Primary School Child Feeding Program, now sustainable through pupils’ farming a school garden.
In 2009-10, children at Malemia School grew maize to provide 60% of what was needed to cover their child feeding program, and are working toward 100% sustainability.
Teachers at Domasi Demonstration School want to start 2 projects to help work toward making their starvation months feeding program sustainable:
1- Raising chickens, both for eggs and roasters.
2- Sewing and selling school uniforms.
Farming, raising chickens & sewing are all part of the Malawian curriculum from Std. 1-8. If the kids kept the accounts for both projects, would they be better prepared as entrepreneurs after Std. 8, when most end their formal schooling? Tailoring is a respected career for a man in Malawi; running a shop is respected for women.
Now we are seeking a chickens person, a sewing person, for 2011.