Building Education in Dowa
Leyre and Paula trained to become useful and respectful international volunteers at DRH Lindersvold in Denmark. They travelled to Malawi in December, where they are based at the DAPP Teacher Training College in Dowa in southern Malawi.
They spent two months learning about the reality of rural Malawi, getting to know people, speaking with community leaders and liaising with existing projects. Now, they have identified how they best can support the ongoing efforts of the communities in Dowa who are running pre-schools for their pre-school- aged children. They are ready to act.
Listen to what they have to say:
“We arrived in Malawi two months ago, two Spanish girls who wanted to discover other realities and who wanted to bring energy around us. In the first couple of months we started to understand how Malawian society works, through observation and with much patience. At this moment, and since we arrived, we are running a project in the organisation HPP* in DAPP** Dowa, as volunteers.
Our aim is to improve the structure of the education in pre-schools for children between two and five years in the communities around the Teacher Training College where we are based.
We are inspired by the motivation of the teachers, the energy of the children
and the enthusiasm of the people of the community
to improve the situation for their children.
Preschools with few resources
We are working with 14 preschools but not all of them are active. Two of them don’t even have a classroom, so they have to use the church of the community. The other preschools are in a really precarious situation, some of them without toilets, others without windows and none of them with proper teaching materials for the development of lessons.
Each preschool takes care of around 100 children, but the reality is that because of different reasons, only 20% attend the school daily. Some preschools are far from their homes, so it is difficult for the children to attend. In some cases, the parents don’t realise the importance of early childhood education and don’t bring the children to the school. Others lose motivation to go to the school because the teachers don’t have materials nor good resources. This makes it difficult for the children to pay attention, and they lose motivation to go to the lessons.
Dedicated care givers run the preschools
Our partners and allies are the teachers – or “care givers” as they are sometimes called. They are volunteers from the children’s own communities. These are dedicated people who worry about their communities and who understand the importance of education in the first years of early development.
Education is key for… everything
Early childhood education is a really important tool in the development of the lives of the children. In the preschools the children are in a secure space, where they learn, play and start to understand basic notions: Rules of behaviour, hygiene, education and respect. They are also introduced to English, a fundamental tool as it’s an official language of the country. Yet, in most communities they speak only their mother tongue, Chichewa.
An enthusiastic community
All of these preschools have something in common, they work hard every day and don’t lose the hope of having a proper education. In all the visits that we do, we are inspired by the motivation of the teachers, the energy of the children and the enthusiasm of the people of the community to improve the situation for their children.
Our goal is to support them and together try to BUILD THE EDUCATION that these children deserve.”
*Humana People to People
**Development Aid from People to People Malawi
See the video that Paula and Leyre have made about their project:
Development from People to People was established in Malawi in 1995.
DAPP Malawi believes that poverty can be overcome through adopting a coordinated, community wide approach to development.
A combination of projects within education, adult literacy, improved livelihoods, increased production, health, women’s empowerment and environmental protection is implemented.
You can donate money to support the building of preschools around Dowa via this GoFundMe initiative.
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