Before 2013, Olivia Muhehe, 14, thought her life was doomed. She almost gave up on school as her friends, for reasons best known to them, discriminated her on grounds that she was an albino.
“The most extreme even threw stones at me,” narrates the Standard Six pupil at Goliati Primary School of Thyolo. “The thought of going to school started waning because of the experiences I always had to go through.”
In fact, the experiences explain why she has had to repeat her present class for three times in a row.
“Most of the times I did not go to school because doing so meant accepting to be tortured,” she says.
But since the arrival of Development Aid from People to People (DAPP),an organization which sells clothes and does a number of projects in her district since some three years ago, Olivia can afford a smile – and is now free and happy to interact with others.
DAPP, which celebrates her twentieth anniversary this year, is implementing various projects in the fields of agriculture, health, child aid and education in Olivia’s region.
For education, a branch which Olivia and several other pupils in the districts of Thyolo, Chikhwawa and Mulanje are beneficiaries, DAPP basically focuses on what they are calling “enjoy learning.”
According to Charlotte Dankert, DAPP-Malawi Partnership Manager, their goal is to make sure that children enjoy the learning process.
“Our teacher training colleges, for example,” explains Dankert, “emphasize on the need for teachers to fit in well in various communities. Our teachers are also trained in other areas of significance such as agriculture and in other vocational fields.”
Dankert says in addition the project also provides for girls user friendly toilets that are crucial especially when girls are undergoing their menstruation periods.
“The impact has been overwhelming since we’ve been able to keep girls who otherwise might not have been coming to school because of the earlier lack of such which is friendly toilets,” she says.
Enjoying vegetable gardens
The school has been able to provide especially for so long requisite knowledge for smallholder vegetable gardens.
Teachers, in collaboration with their students, have been able to start their small vegetables which are only beneficial to them but also to their whole families.
For example, Victor Maone – 12 year-old and Standard Four –, thanks to DAPP, has a small vegetable garden that is not just able to support them financially but also able to support them monetary wise.
“I’m able to get nutritious vegetables for me and my family,” says Maone. “In fact, my parents are able to prepare for me and my siblings each day before I go to school. That makes me happier and good to go.’
Dankert adds that, for the ‘enjoy learning program’, the hustle has not just been investing in human resource, but also in monetary advances.
“We would wish if more people and institutions and individuals invested in the ‘enjoy learning project’,” she opines.
But to sum it all, Olivia agrees that for her to get to her dream job – which is to become a nurse – “the future must belong to the organized like us.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :