Marist Brothers of the Schools in Malawi have secured K200 million for the implementation of a three-year project targeting 15, 000 underprivileged students in Balaka, Zomba, Dedza, Salima and Lilongwe.
An Irish charity organization – Mission Support from Ireland (Misean Cara) – has provided the funding, which will see the religious brothers providing tuition and educational support to the needy students in the selected districts.
The National Provincial Councillor for the Marist Brothers in Malawi, Brother Francis Jumbe, told Nyasa Times last week the project is mainly targeting students who are attending non-boarding schools and have problems with fees.
“The project aims at addressing barriers that underprivileged students, especially girls, face especially to access education. We are mainly focusing on students that do not have support from different organizations or individuals so we just come in to listen to them, to chat with them and where ever possible we try where we can, in order to respond to challenges that they face whether at school and also at home,” he said.
Added Jumbe, “Ultimately, this project seeks to remove barriers that the students face; barriers that prevent them from continuing with their education; barriers that lead to drop out from school and challenges that young people face especially, girls.
“And it is coming particularly at this time of the pandemic when all over the country, we hear increased number of challenges that young people are facing such as teenage pregnancies, abuse in the homes, as well as in the society.”
Speaking at the launch of the project at Mayaka Community Day Secondary School in Zomba on Tuesday, the project coordinator, Patrick Siwinda, said the initiative will be implemented in seven open secondary schools.
They include Likuni Boys Secondary School in Lilongwe, Champhwanya Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) and Marist Secondary School in Dedza, St. Charles Luwanga Secondary School in Balaka, Zomba Catholic and Mayaka Community Day Secondary Schools in Zomba and Msalura and Mafco CDSSs in Salima.
Siwinda said the project will run for the next three years.
Head teacher for Mayaka Community Day Secondary School in Zomba, Patrick Kaliwo, welcomed the innovation, stressing that it will provide underprivileged learners with a lifetime opportunity through access to quality education.