Determined to Develop recognizes that its mission of empowering youth through education would not be possible without the tireless efforts of our local schools and their staff. Educators in our area confront several challenges to education, with limited resources at their disposal and large numbers of students in their classrooms. Primary schools must confront these challenges head-on due to their dependence on government funding, which is often insufficient. Secondary schools, however, meet these financial barriers through student school fees, to provide classrooms with necessary and adequate materials. Primary schools in rural areas such as Chilumba struggle to propel their students forward but have proven themselves resourceful and dedicated to their students’ success.
The Chilumba catchment area has several primary schools, all of whose students feed into D2D’s Tuition Sponsorship Program. Upon completion of standard 8 (8th grade), all students must take the Primary School Leaving Certificate Exam (PSLCE), which determines their secondary (high school) school selection. This year, Sangilo Primary, located within a mile of D2D’s campus has done exceedingly well, with a record-breaking number of its students passing the PSLCE. Sangilo Primary has outshined all other primary schools in our area and has the highest passing rate we have seen in a few years.
To acknowledge the accomplishments of Sangilo Primary, D2D hosted a teachers’ appreciation luncheon for all of Sangilo’s educators and staff. The day began at Sangilo Primary, where speeches of recognition and gratitude were given by our Group Village Headman Mtowerayifwa, Sangilo’s headteacher (principal), Mr. Munthali, and D2D’s Tuition Sponsorship Program Manager, Geoff Mzembe. Members of the community’s mothers group provided refreshments and cookies. The speeches not only thanked the teachers for their hard work but reminded them of their role in the development of Malawi, by way of educating its future citizens.
Following speeches, all teachers were accompanied by D2D staff to Maji Zuwa, where everyone enjoyed a delicious full buffet meal together. Teachers and D2D staff discussed the successes of Sangilo and D2D’s partnership, noting the improvements they have seen in the performances of students who attend D2D’s various extended learning programs. D2D’s executive director, Matt Maroon, then said a few words of praise to our teachers, who’s commitment and impact often goes unrecognized. The luncheon was a celebration of those who raise up our youth to be passionate and driven agents of change.
After lunch, each teacher was presented with a gift of dinnerware set for their homes. They were then given a tour of Maji Zuwa’s campus and the residential youth house. The teachers left thanking D2D for a wonderful time and the opportunity to come together to embrace the value and importance of education. In turn, D2D was incredibly grateful for the occasion to celebrate its neighboring school and to deepen its relationship with those who share its vision for a brighter Malawi.