Hope Africa is an international Christian charity that was set up in 2004 with a mandate to bring hope and empower the people of Africa, as well as to put an end to systematic poverty.
Earlier in the year, we were contacted by Andrea, the founder and UK Director of Hope Africa, who introduced us to the charity and their current project. Andrea would soon be visiting Africa and the two schools that they were setting up - the Mempha and Matindi Primary Schools in the Blantyre Rural districts in Malawi.
Andrea told us about how Hope Africa were funding 8 UK trained teachers to deliver phonics and early maths to the schools. The schools have over 1500 students, and around 100 - 150 pupils in a single class.
Schools in Malawi are massively underfunded, and there's a lack of qualified teachers and classrooms available. Only 10% of primary schools have some form of electricity, and only 5% have clean water for drinking or washing hands. But primary school is so important for Malawians, as it's the only education most of them will get.
The resources we sent included some of our Rapid Recall Whiteboards for Years 1, 2 and 3 as well as some drywipe pens and erasers, some laminated number lines and other learning resources, dice and counters, and more.
Where did the resources go?
Mempha Primary School and Matindi Primary School are both village schools set in the districts around Bantyre, Malawi's centre of finance and commerce.
The schools look nothing like we expect to see in the UK - the size of the classes are huge and the classrooms are plain or completely outside to make space for the amount of students attending.
An outside classroom
An indoor classroom
What did the schools think?
The new resources arrived in Africa and were used in training for a couple of days before Andrea left. Mr Mchiza, Standard 1 Teacher and Education Specialist for Hope Africa, said:
"These resources are new to teachers and so each class has a pack of age related games that they can play with each age group, and resources are carefully stored in plastic boxes for safe-keeping.
The children love the whiteboards and pens. The lessons are much more fun and children are more involved. We have started playing games with dice, and the children's enthusiasm is amazing to hear. There is a buzz of excitement in our lessons.
We ALL, that is 105 children in Standard 1A and 104 children in Standard 1B, want to shout a massive thank you to Propeller for donating these amazing things to help us."
Some facts about Malawi
- Malawi's average GDP is £264 - that's 72p a day to survive
- Malawi has a population of 16 million, and 90% of them live below the poverty line and rely on subsistence farming
- The region is vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather conditions, particularly floods and drought
- Life expectancy in Malawi is around 53 years old, whereas we expect to live to around 82 in England
- The country has been badly affected by the HIV and AIDS epidemic and roughly 10% of the population are infected, and there's an estimated one million children orphaned by the disease
How can you help?
Just £365 pays for one teacher, for one year, but it doesn't have to be all about money. Hope Africa look for book and resource donations, and fundraising events to help them out too
Their next objective is to build the schools their own classrooms, so that learning can take place indoors as well as out.
You can find out more about the charity, how you can contribute, and their contact details on their website here.