These are our Current Programs:
- Homework Centre Program
- Christmas Party
- Vocational Training Centre
- Student Sponsorship Program
- ‘Speak English Chileka’ Program for local Secondary Schools
- Volunteer Program
Homework Centre Program
Outline of the program
Most primary schools in rural areas in Malawi have large class sizes e.g. 1teacher:100+ students and few resources. In such an environment there are many children who have difficulty completing their school work and do not receive appropriate support. As a result they fail their exams and have to repeat. Many then, drop out of school.
The Homework Centre Program assists these ‘at risk’ learners through enlisting the help of secondary school students and school leavers as volunteer Peer Educators under the supervision of Patrons (teachers volunteering) from both the primary and secondary schools.
Each secondary school asks for volunteers from their student body or from recent school leavers to give some of their time to act as Peer Educators. These volunteers are then trained in: how to create a positive learning environment, tutoring, peer support, good teaching practices and other relevant skills. At the same time the participating primary schools identify children who would benefit from receiving assistance in a homework centre.
We are now operating Homework Centres in six primary schools three afternoons a week after school for one and a half hours each session. Each centre is catering for approximately 20-40 learners.
- Chigumukire Primary School
- Michiru Primary School
- Chilangoma Primary School
- Andiseni Primary School
- Chikuli Primary School
- Dzunga Primary School
A Resource Box is provided to each Homework Centre which includes items such as: balls, exercise books, stationery, teaching resources, educational games, monitoring sheets, novels and curriculum documents.
Our goals are to:
- Create a positive supportive learning environment which assists, struggling ‘at risk’ learners
- Facilitate a climate of peer support and cooperation between primary and secondary schools, learners with Special Educational Needs and youth
- Meet the special educational needs of the identified learners
- Increase attendance and the number of learners who complete primary education
- Reduce the number of repeaters in local primary schools
- Strengthen a culture of helping others within local communities
- Facilitate local youth developing social skills and good citizenship skills
Identified primary school learners attending a homework centre will benefit in the following ways:
- Identification of educational needs in areas of mathematics, English, Chichewa and life skills
- Assistance in school work resulting in increase skills and knowledge
- Increase in self esteem/ self concept from successful educational and social experiences
- Develop a positive attitude towards school and learning increasing attendance
Secondary school students who volunteer for this program will receive the following benefits:
- A Certificate of Community Service which can be included in their Curriculum Vitae (CV).
- A written reference to potential employers or supporting application for a tertiary course i.e. teacher training
- They will also be given training in peer support and tutoring techniques which they will be able to include on their CV. These skills will be useful throughout their lives.
- Advanced standing in accessing programs in both the Vocational Training Centre and Mwayi Community Radio once established.
- Incentives will be provided to Peer Educators who demonstrate a real commitment to their work and show progress for their participating learners.
Teachers volunteering to be Patrons in the Homework Centres receive the following benefits:
- A certificate of community service
- Participation in training workshops to develop their skills as Patrons in areas such as special needs education, leadership, mentoring and peer support
- Advanced standing if they wish to volunteer with Mwayi Community Radio once established.
- Incentives will be provided to both individuals and Homework Centres demonstrating significant progress for the participating learners
Children’s Christmas Party
One of Mwayi Trust’s initial activities is a Christmas Party held each year for 500 children from five villages. Different villages are chosen each year.
The aim of the party is to bring together all sections of the community in order to provide an afternoon of fun and laughter for the children of TA Kunthembwe or Kuntaja. This is often the first party that the children have ever attended.
A local volunteer committee of young people and adults organises:
- the list of names of children to attend the party from the selected villages,
- the concert,
- the making of over 1000 donuts by local women,
- the putting together of lolly bags,
- group leaders for one of 10 groups of children
- games leaders for the games component of the party
- one community member from each village for the security team.
The program for the party includes: a concert by local drama, music and dance groups, and performances by children from participating villages, a series of games, refreshments and a bag of lollies for each child.
Mwayi Trust solicits donations from local businesses to supply the ingredients (for the donuts, biscuits and lollies for the goody bags and lunch for the approximately 60 volunteers and local Chiefs who work to make the party a success.
Student Sponsorship Programme
Primary education is free in Malawi but Secondary School is not. For many large rural families or child headed families it becomes difficult if not impossible to pay school fees and for all the other necessary requirements for school. This is one reason the enrolment rates for Secondary Schools are so low. Many youth who should and want to attend secondary school cannot.
Currently we are sponsoring 9 girls from four local Secondary Schools
This program asks sponsors to donate only $15 per month which will pay for: school fees, a uniform, shoes, stationery, scientific calculator and a school bag.
Vocational Training Centre
This year we have been lucky enough to receive a donation of $50,000 from IASE (International Association of Special Education) and added to $13,000 raised in Australia for this project we have decided to begin construction of our Vocational Training Centre.
We are still in need of over $70,000 to enable us to complete construction and equip the centre.
We are also negotiating partnerships with the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of People with Disabilities and the Elderly, Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Education Science and Technology. These partnerships will provide vocational instructors, specialized equipment, curriculum assistance, scholarships and access to specialist teachers enabling us to become inclusive and sustainable.
Our goals are to:
- Enhance skill development, for youths including youths with Special Needs, in the areas of education, life skills and vocational training which increase potential for gaining employment and developing positive lifestyles.
- Provide relevant vocational training for the youth of Chileka, including youth with Special Educational Needs
- Improve the life skills of the local young people through HIV and AIDS prevention, gender equality, social skills and human rights programs
- Facilitate the establishment of income generating activities for local young people
- Facilitate the development of quality relationships between youth, parents and community
- Empower youth to embrace positive lifestyles and become independent participants in their community and nation.
- Youth who have been volunteers in one of our programmes or who come from a village that has assisted us by making bricks will have advanced standing if applying for a course and if selected will be given a scholarship.
- Courses will operate due to local demand and after consultation with relevant stakeholders. We propose that four to five courses will be operating at any one time.
The initial courses on offer will be:
- Room stewards for Hospitality
- Basic IT
- We embrace the concept of inclusive education, as such children with Special Educational Needs will be encouraged to participate in all Programs of the centre.
- Life skills, literacy and numeracy and entrepreneurship modules will be included in all courses, thus ensuring that graduates develop personal, social and economic empowerment.
‘Speak English Chileka’ Program
Meetings with Head Teachers of the Secondary Schools participating in our Homework Centre Program indentified the low standard of English both spoken and written demonstrated by their students. Often teachers revert to explaining concepts in Chichewa which only adds to the problem. Most students do not speak English at home so lack the practice necessary to master English.
Mwayi Trust initiated a program called ‘Speak English Chileka’ to encourage both teachers and students to use English more frequently. There are two aspects to the project:
- A prize will be awarded at the end of each term to the student and teacher identified as making the best effort in speaking English in class and within the school.
- A program has been written and implemented in the four secondary schools with the assistance of a volunteer ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher from Australia which complements the Malawi English curriculum.
- A workshop was held with the English teachers from the four local Secondary Schools to familiarise them with the activities in the program.
We welcome individuals to visit us or volunteer their time and expertise to assist in the development of Mwayi Trust. We can provide accommodation, partial board and internal transport to site. We guarantee you will have an experience to remember and in the process greatly assist the children and youth of Malawi.
We need assistance in the following areas:
- Education: teaching skills, adult education, peer support, cooperative learning, resource development, assessment and monitoring tools,
- Fund raising: proposal writing, fundraising strategies – development and implementation
- Vocational Training: assistance in the workshops of carpentry, tailoring, baking, room steward for hospitality, basic IT.
- IT: curriculum development