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Fundraising

TRANSFORMING SCHOOLS IN MALAWI

Thanks in part to the Fundraising at Petersfield in the Summer term 2017, Karen was able to purchase equipment for her 'life changing' Malawi visit during the summer holidays.

Malawi 1

Having travelled the 12 hour flight over night to Johannesburg in South Africa we then took another flight to Lilongwe in Malawi. There we were met by our drivers ready for the 7 hour drive to Rhumpi the village in the North of Malawi that was to be our home for the next week. We arrived safe and sound if not a little exhausted 30 hours after leaving home. Malawi 2 The next morning we were awoken at around 5.30am by a very loud cockerel heralding the dawning of a new day. By 6.30am it was already hot and dusty. We unpacked the equipment that you had kindly donated towards and met the visiting teachers to show them how to assemble and use it to deliver lessons. In the afternoon we took the kit and the teachers to the individual schools.

Malawi 3

We drove through villages with what can best be described at mud huts with holes for windows and palm or banana tree leaves for roofs. Goats, pigs, cows and children some as young as 18 months old mixed freely and roamed free range along the sides of the roads. People on bikes sometimes as many as 5 people on one bike or men with 4 metre long tree trunks strapped to them riding along the road oblivious to any cycle or road safety it was definitely a free for all. Malawi 4 Locals selling their produce at the side of the road mostly tomatoes, cabbage and pawpaw, laid out on the dirt floor. Woman with babies strapped to their backs and huge containers of water on their heads miles from anywhere, happily waved as we drove along.

The schools were up in the mountains so we had to leave what I have loosely referred to as roads to edge slowly up the dirt tracks which resembled dried river beds with huge cracks, bumps, and vertical drops. I will never complain about the pot holes on our British roads again having got beached on one which was so deep and the width of the road making it unavoidable and stuck in another the length of the car.

Malawi 5

The next morning and the Cockerel alerts us that we should arise. Once again we make our way to the village schools to watch the teachers set up the equipment in their own classrooms, ensuring they would be able to confidently use it when we were gone. We had been asked to watch the delivery of a lesson and give feedback. We were not sure if this would be possible as we had learnt that it was school summer holidays in Malawi and thought no children would be around. How wrong we were. Malawi 6 Malawi 7 The Head Teachers had sent out word that we were coming and asked for children to come along and come they did, by the dozen, many having walked two –three hours to get there. We met local tribal chiefs, church ministers, education inspectors, teachers and even members of the PTA who all welcomed us with open arms. I have never met such a friendly group of people anywhere. We had been told that many of the locals, in particular the children had never seen white people before and were a little shy to begin with but soon warmed to us.. We were taught a few local phrases and learnt a lot about local customs and ways of life. We played games with the children, they taught us some of their games and we taught them some of ours, 'Simple Simon' was greeted with much hilarity and raucous laughter. One of the primary schools we supported had 1134 pupils in 7 classrooms with 1 teacher per class, meaning there were 7 teachers for the whole school and that included the head and deputy head. Some of the classes had 180 pupils.

We were taught by some local trades people how to chop fire wood and plaster the walls of the schools. The village woman made us food and gifts of bags of popcorn as their main crop is maize and ground nuts. We felt humbled that these people who have nothing would do that for us. In general the Women in these small rural locations do not work and the minimum wage is 75p a day. It is not unusual for parents to have 7/8 children. This means a labourer earns 75p a day to feed his whole family, therefore most people grow their own produce in huge fields to help feed themselves this is done by hand as there is no farm machinery.

This was my first experience of doing anything like this and we met some amazing people who told us we had changed their lives and the educational opportunities for their children. I certainly know they have changed my life, I plan to go again maybe when I go again next year we will find a group of children playing 'Simple Simon' and we'll be able to donate more equipment and change more lives.

To view my photographs you can find me on Instagram – karen.grieves. For further information please feel free to email me at karen.grieves@sky.com or for latest updates about the work that is being done check out http://www.bwenguprojects.co.uk/.

Thank you once again for your generous support.
Karen

Latest News

12th Dec - CANCELLED - it is with regret that we have cancelled tonight's Carols at Wimpole due to ice and sickness.

12th Dec - Thanks to Mrs Norie and our French club for their wonderful presentation in assembly.

12th Dec - Thanks to the Johnson Matthey team for analysising and presenting the results of the salt experiment in this afternoon's science session.

11th Dec - Year 6 were delighted to be invited to the Methodist church to join in with rousing renditions of Christmas carols today.

11th Dec - Thanks to our school staff and our local knight in shining armour (with his own snow shovel and energy!), school is open for learning and all the paths are clear.

11th Dec - Snow update: 7:30am School is open. Please follow staff instruction about the route to enter school safely and bring coats, hats, gloves etc for outside.

10th Dec - Thanks to Pine class for sharing their learning with pupils, parents and staff in their Class Assembly.

7th Dec - Our pupils were treated to a Panto paid for by FOPS (PTA). They laughed and joined in with the classics panto lines. After the panto, some classes had workshops learning more about the characters and ideas used in pantos.

6th Dec - Our children responded to the wonderful GenR8 assembly by saying: 'I learnt that Christmas is not just about presents, stockings and chocolates', 'It was good that the little ones can understand the true meaning of Christmas' and 'The puppets were great fun!'.

6th Dec - Pine class were the first class in KS2 to enjoy and learn from REactive church thanks to Rev. Felicity and the volunteers.

4th Dec - Today was a day of fabulous tales for each class as our Norfolk Children's Book Shop storyteller read extracts of interest to pupils. This was followed by a fabulous book fair which raised commission to buy some of these high quality books for our school.

1st Dec - At the Christmas Fair, there were many amazing things to purchase. The children enjoyed making secret gifts for their loved ones and a good time was had by all whilst making much-needed funds for the school. Thank you to FOPS committee for all their hard work.

1st Dec - The Christingle Service, held at St Andrews church, was beautiful; the light reflecting from the candle flames into the children's faces left us with a feeling of awe and wonder.

30th Nov - Thank you to the parents who joined us during the morning to make Christingles with their children.

29th Nov - Our school hosted Ed Williams, from Elite Swimming Academy, to talk in assembly about his recent solo swims across the English Channel, Gibraltar Straits and the Irish Channel. Ed spoke about the importance of courage, perseverance and resilience.

24th Nov - Exciting investigation today at the first science club lunchtime session.

24th Nov - Thanks to all the donations for the FOPS Christmas Fair on 'Non Uniform' day.

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