Tobacco buying and processing company Alliance One Tobacco Malawi Limited says it has spent over K126 million on construction and renovations of some classroom blocks in a number of primary schools in Dowa and Mchinji Districts through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program dubbed FY21 School Renovation Initiative.
Through this CSR initiative, Alliance One has managed to construct a two classroom block at Mpita primary school Mchinji as well as renovating some two other classroom blocks at the same school that were in dilapidated condition costing around K61 million. In addition, the company has also renovated two classroom blocks each at Katengeza and Msukuwala primary schools of Dowa and Mchinji respectively at a combining total cost of about K65 million.
Speaking during the official handover of the school blocks at Mpita primary school in Mchinji recently, Alliance One Tobacco Malawi Corporate Affairs Officer Ben Kawonga said his company decided to renovate the school blocks as part of its corporate social responsibility program which primarily focuses at reducing child labour especially in those areas where tobacco is cultivated in the country.
According to Kawonga, through its CSR program his company always complements government’s efforts in a number of sectors including education by ensuring that children across the country are learning in better schools that are conducive for academic studies so that they can become reliable future citizens this country.
“In most circumstances children always shun to go to those schools that in dilapidated conditions because it’s the desire of every human being to learn at good conducive environments, hence our company thought it wise to spend all this money in renovating as well as constructing some classroom blocks in some schools in the country including here at Mpita,” said Kawonga.
Kawonga further explained that Alliance One does not allow the use of children as a source of labour in tobacco production levels in all the countries where it is operating globally and therefore call upon parents in the country to desist from using their children in any tobacco production.
He however urged pupils and teachers at the school to take care of the renovated school as well as the 240 desks which his company has also donated to the school.
According to Kawonga, for the past 16 years his company has been complimenting government’s efforts in improving the living standards of people across the country particularly in the areas of education, water and sanitation, environment, health and social-welfare among others.
In his remarks, Head Teacher for Mpita Primary school Patrick Chichitike commended Alliance One Malawi for renovating the school which was first built in 1972 and has never renovated since then.
According to Chichitike, before construction of the six classroom blocks at the school, pupils who reached standards seven and eight were forced to travel a distance of about ten kilometers to learn at either Khweri and Fanuwelo full primary schools because his school did not have these two classes.
“Let me commend Alliance One for constructing as well as renovating the other existing classroom blocks that were in bad condition here at our school which has enabled pupils who reach standards seven and eight to learn here unlike previously when they used to walk a long distance to other schools since here we didn’t have those two classes,” said Chichitike.
Chichitike further disclosed that most children in the area were forced to drop out of school upon reaching standard six as majority of them could not manage the long distance to learn in other full primary schools especially during rainy season.
According to him, since the renovations were completed, enrollment at the school has increased from 511 some two years ago to about 697 pupils this academic year, adding that all the 26 pupils who wrote standard eight last year were selected to various conventional as well as community day secondary schools in the district.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :