Five of Jacaranda School of Orphans students awarded full scholarships to study Bachelor of degrees in four prestigious African universities

Jacaranda School of Orphans has become the first school in Malawi to be awarded full scholarships to five of its students to study Bachelor of degrees in prestigious African universities in Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

The five Bachelor’s degree graduates from Jacaranda are: David Mandiwa (in Biological Sciences at University of Botswana); Katie Kaonga (Social Sciences at Africa University in Zimbabwe); Harry Goliyo (Computer Sciences at African Leadership University in Mauritius); Idah Geoffrey (Entrepreneurship also at African Leadership University in Mauritius) and Franklin Rashid (Applied Computing at United States International University in Kenya).

Founder for Jacaranda School of Orphans, Marie da Silva says she feels like a proud mother that after 18 years of of keeping orphaned children in school her dream has come true today.

“When I started Jacaranda School in my family house, I knew that the children would one day go to college,” she said. “And yes, we have sent more than 100 of our graduates to colleges here in Malawi.

“Today, we have students in colleges such as Catholic University; Malawi College of Accountancy; the Polytechnic; Malawi Institute of Tourism; Malawi Adventist University; Malawi Assemblies of God University — just to mention a few.

“But I never thought that our students would be receiving full scholarships to international universities in Africa. These students have come a long way with some of them starting school at Jacaranda at 6 years old in Standard 1.

“And all were coming from very underprivileged homes. I am very proud of them. Those are amazing scholarships.”

She told the kids that when she was growing up, her family “could hardly pay school fees on time and dreams of going to such colleges were not realistic to me or my siblings”.

“But today these five students even get to visit their families once a year with all their expenses paid including food, lodging and a comfortable monthly stipend.”

She disclosed that Mastercard Foundation has awarded them with a community service grant and they are coming back home this year to set up projects in their home villages.

“They have chosen projects such as building a preschool, addressing issues faced by girls and women in their communities, and training the youth in information technology (IT) and graphic design.

“Mastercard will monitor their projects and make sure they are successful and serving the needs of the youth in Malawi.

“I have always told the students that just because they are orphans they are not imperfect — they can achieve anything as long as they work hard, have faith and follow their dreams.

“This is what is happening at Jacaranda School. I am thankful to my husband Luc Deschamps — who is Jacaranda Foundation Executive Director — and our teams of head teachers, teachers and staff members who work together towards Jacaranda’s success.”

In 2020, two of Jacaranda’s 2017 Malawi School’s Certificate of Education (MSCE) graduates, Clement Kammwamba and Reuben Salima, were sent to the USA for a semester Accelerator Program at Watson Institute in Boulder, Colorado where they were to develop social entrepreneurship skills.

This is not their first time to travel abroad as in 2016 they attended the Otis College Summer of Art program in Los Angeles and in 2017, they also travelled to Shanghai, Beijing, New York City and Los Angeles.

Deschamps, who is also the French Embassy attaché to Malawi, manages Jacaranda Outreach program of public and school libraries — under brand name Mr Luc’s Library — that has so far reached out to close to 50,000 children in Blantyre

Beneficiary primary schools include St. Pius; Misesa; HHI; Kapeni; Bangwe Catholic; Nkolokoti; Makata; St. Maria Goretti; Limbe Primary; Kanjedza at at their base in Chigumula, which is open to the surrounding Chemboma Village community.

The other Mr Luc’s Library community project are at Patsogolo Education Center (for special needs children); Queen Elizabeth Hospital Paediatric Ward; at Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre (Stand 82); at Jacaranda Cultural Center (Blantyre, Top Mandala) and at Wandikweza Health Center (Dowa).

Jacaranda Foundation operates free primary and secondary schools for over 400 orphaned learners in Newlands, Chigumula.

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3 years ago

So you call those universities presitigious, really? I think journalism has gone somewhere in Malawi. Can those universirties match the class of such institutions as University of Cape Town or Stellenbosch University or University of Pretoria?

3 years ago
Reply to  Kamchiputu

To him its prestigious. Remember someones food is someones poison.

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