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How can I support a child in Africa? Here’s how: Sponsor a student in Malawi in 2024.

Back in 2022, we wrote a blog post about sparking joy in a students heart- by sponsoring their place in secondary school. 



Mark, Malawian Sponsored Student sitting in front of a school laptop


Here are the facts again to give us a good reason to run a sponsorship programme and if you’d like to, a good reason to sponsor a child through secondary school in Malawi.


- Primary school is free in Malawi, yet around 30-50% of young adults haven't completed primary school. Only 41% finish.


- In year 1, the teacher-to-student ratio can be 1:120. Learning anything as a 6-year-old in a class this size is a colossal feat.


- Malawi faces the world's worst teacher shortages.


- Classrooms are overcrowded. There are not enough toilets, no books, no desks, and minimal resources in nearly every rural school.


- The Government have made cuts to funding for secondary school fee support.


- Only 16 in 100 children in Malawi get the opportunity to attend secondary school.


- 1 in 3 students dropped out of secondary school between 2020 - 2021. According to our data and conversations with schools, this is usually down to lack of funds or early pregnancy. 





Reports say Malawi faces drought and hunger in 2024. News to dash Malawian students' hope of extra money for school fees.


We don’t want to sensationalise or come across as pushy. This is really just to give you the facts and some context as to why we are so passionate about keeping Horton CDSS students in school, with financially secure, worry-free places.


“Malawi is heading towards a severe food crisis later this year. Drought brought on by the El Niño weather pattern has affected the harvest of maize, the staple food grown by nine out of 10 farming households in the country. 

The government declared a state of disaster in March as the country entered its dry season with very low food stocks. Malawi consumes around 3.5 million tonnes of maize every year, but only 2.9 million tonnes will be harvested according to government estimates – a shortfall of 600,000 tonnes.”



Every year we see families squeezed, as parents struggle for food, young people's dreams flicker and often blow out.


Esnat reported in a meeting on the 16th June, that parents are struggling to pay into primary school funds. Primary tuition fees are covered by the government, but schools request a school fund fee- equivalent of approximately 90p per term, for purchase of additional school resources). 


Two primary schools have scrapped the contributions. 


Historically, if a family cannot contribute to the school fund, the child(ren) cannot attend school - until the money is found and paid.


One headteacher told Esnat, “if we don’t scrap the school fund, we won’t have a child in school. Right now providing education and a cup of phala is what is most important”.


In school children receive phala porridge from you, Fisherman’s Rest supporters! With much of the area struggling, it’s likely the porridge will be many a child's only meal of the day.



 


Each school year we commit to ten sponsorships in Malawi. 


However, last year we were awarded 16 places, as the families were all too in need to separate out. 


We anticipate this year being similar. 


Here are this years final year students ready for examinations!



Form 4 students in Malawi in green uniform wearing examination ID lanyards in front of brick wall





So what can you do about making access to education in Malawi stress-free and achievable for young people?


Well, secondary sponsorships come directly from you, our community of game-changing supporters. 


Without your commitment, we couldn't dream of embarking on any of these programmes. So we are eager to be as transparent as possible with your support and donations.


Here is the small print to sponsor a student in Malawi in secondary school:


It costs £150/year for 4 years to sponsor a student. 


£12.50 a month.


School fees cost £10-15* a term, plus examination fees of £15 & £30* in Form 2 and Form 4. 


Approximately £45* a year goes to the student to cover new uniforms, shoes, bags, exercise books, pens, and soap. 


*All numbers are approximate, due to fluctuating exchange rates


The balance of the money then covers pastoral support and administration. 


Esnat checks in with the students at least once a term. She also works with families to motivate the students in their learning and commitment to school attendance and work. 


Once a year (in January), we send letters from the students to you, including an updated photograph. 


You are welcome to write letters of encouragement throughout the year. 


Some people choose not to correspond, that’s also fine. 


But we do encourage writing, as the students get to know a little about you, the person who has relieved immense financial pressure from their family! 


All communication is via email, as the postal service in Malawi is somewhat challenging. 


Your commitment is for four years. 


The new school year starts in September. 


As soon as you let us know that you'd like to support a student, we can begin to work with the school to grant the award to a learner in need. We will then send you an email with their details and a letter of thanks early next year!





For updates about our work in Malawi - sign up to our newsletter or follow us on our social media channels.



 

Still got five minutes? Here are our top blog posts about projects in Malawi






 


Fisherman’s Rest Community Projects (FROM  Wales is our UK chairty) is committed to setting up projects as need and concern is raised by local community members. 

Each project is a partnership between the project team and communities. Funding and support are granted with full participation and commitment from both parties. We are not working to gift aid, but to find sustainable and innovative ways to empower families and communities to improve access to health, wellbeing, education and wealth. 

As a Christian organisation, we are fully committed to peace, justice, equality, love and respect in all our work and outreach.


Matthew 25:35-37

'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'



If you pray, pray for… 


  • the schools who have been unable to collect funds, that the children attending will learn and flourish, despite a lack of resources. 

  • ten sponsors for September 2024 - always a slightly anxious time for us as the school relies on the places we offer for poor students. 

  • A good summer of school trips and groups.Several are coming to experience projects and Malawi in  July and August.

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