Malawi is known as the “warm heart of Africa,” because of the stunning friendliness of its people. However, Malawi also is amongst the poorest countries worldwide. It has a total area of 120,000 km² with a population of around 16 Million - and far too few schools. Unfortunately children in this country don’t have the privilege to go to school. Conditions in public schools are disastrous in most cases: Many things are lacking - in most cases even school buildings. Schools have to carry most expenses themselves, as the government is only giving a meagre support. In addition most children have to walk very long distances to schools, which means that children are not enrolled in school until the age of 8 to 10 instead of the recommended age of 6. And class sizes of up to 100 children are not uncommon in Malawi due to the general lack of schools. During the rainy season, for most of the children it is impossible to cross the swelling rivers and can't go to school for long periods of time. As a result, achievements in class are poor. Girls from the community are particularly vulnerable to the unscrupulous behavior of some men on their way to school. Sexual abuse in turn often leads to early marriages and pregnancies. Therefore the level of education among girls is very low in particular.
The goal of building a school
The construction of the new elementary school will help the children of the village to access education within their reach. This will reduce the illiteracy rate in the region and along with it solve other problems: In the long run higher educated people from this village will become self-confident contributing members of society who will help in the development of the country.
The school supported by LINEAR comprises eight classrooms, a principal’s office, a teachers' room, a veranda, four toilets, school furniture and textbooks. In addition LINEAR is financing a solar system to provide the school with light and electricity, even in the dark. Start of construction is scheduled for March 2021, after the rain season ends, and the school will open its doors as early as October, just in time for the new school year.
Correct handling of food supply
A mango plantation will also be established next to the school. Mango is a basic food in Malawi and it’s used in many different ways. Each child will have the opportunity to take care of his or her own mango tree and learn about the importance of nature and food. However, water is needed to build a mango plantation. Water supply can be secured by a fountain on the school grounds. For the construction of the fountain including the mango plantation called “One Child One Tree”, donations were collected in-house. Thus, another important element was contributed to the school construction through the help of the LINEAR team. Many thanks to the generous donations from the LINEAR staff!
The abc-Gesellschaft is engaged in Malawi since 2008. For the 82-year-old founder Franz-Josef Kuhn this is a matter close to his heart - as has been the case with numerous educational projects in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, as well as in Sri Lanka and Nepal, which he has been supporting with the abc-Gesellschaft since 1984. The former publisher has already built 35 schools for around 17,000 students in Asia, South America and Africa, including 26 in Malawi, one of the five poorest countries in the world. In Malawi, the abc-Gesellschaft cooperates with the Tsogola La Ana organization, which is run by two retired social workers who take care of the entire organization on site.
Bücherbörse Köln e.V. has also set itself the goal of providing well-directed and sustainable education to students in educationally disadvantaged regions. For this purpose, Cologne’s largest book exchange, launched in 2012 by students of the Technical University of Cologne, takes place once a year. All proceeds from the book sale go to educational projects in disadvantaged regions. The book sale already has the character of a true event: In addition, the book and record sales, there is an extensive supporting program. Since 2012 this has enabled the construction of a total of 10 in Kenya and Malawi.
We are very happy that we found these partners for our project and are already looking forward to the progress of the school
02.03.2021 Visit & preliminary planning
After the donations have been received, the first preparations for the construction of the primary school start in Malawi. The site was visited by the master builder and the two supervisors and the preliminary planning was organised. The first construction works will follow in mid-March.
10.03.2021 Planting of the mango plantation
Despite the challenges posed by a pandemic, the school construction in Lesteni in Blantyre rural district continues to progress. The first sods have been cut on the very hilly terrain and the mango trees have been delivered. Before the end of the rainy season, the small trees will be planted so that they can form strong roots and nothing stands in the way of good healthy growth.
21.03.2021 Start of construction
The rainy season in Malawi is long underway and brings unstable weather conditions. Nevertheless, construction continues diligently. The foundation of the school is already in place and the first walls have been built. Now the future pupils on site can already see where their new classrooms will soon be.
26.04.2021 Topping-out ceremony
After 15 site visits, there is great news from the LINEAR fundraising project:
The school is about to be roofed. To mark the occasion, a big party was held. With frenzied dancers and a giant on stilts that rose about 3.80 metres into the air. Children recited poems, performed sketches and the drummers kept the spirits high.
29.06.2021 Construction work almost completed
The roof has been completed and the well financed by LINEAR staff has also been built. The project is in the final stages of completion. We are happy about the fast progress of the construction work and the soon opening of the school.
01.09.2021 School books & furniture delivered
All school equipment and textbooks have arrived. The children have already collected their books. Now the first day of school is approaching in leaps and bounds.
15.09.2021 Classrooms completed
All classrooms have been freshly painted and equipped with benches and blackboards. Nothing stands in the way of the start of school and everyone is looking forward to the first day.
15.10.2021 School starts
After the opening ceremony on 15 September, school started and hundreds of children were able to attend classes in the new premises. We are proud of the fast and smooth implementation of the project and thank you for the manifold support!