We have exciting news to share for several of our students!
Laston Chipagala was accepted to the Natural Resources College in Lilongwe (Malawi’s capital city) for a two and a half year diploma program in Animal Health & Production! Elias escorted Laston to Lilongwe in February for the start of classes on the 26th!
Aonenji Selemani was accepted to the Blantyre Teacher Training College!
Laston and Aonenji are the first students part of the EKARI Foundation to attend college. More importantly though they are the first members of their family to continue on with their education after secondary school.
Due to their hard work and excellent behavior at Phalombe Secondary School, Flora Manyungwa and Joseph Magona have been selected as Head Girl and Head Boy of their classes. This is an honored position at the school and comes with many responsibilities. We are very proud of them.
The students will be returning to school May 2nd after a three week holiday. 8th grade exams start at the end of May, sophomore exams start mid June, and senior exams start in early July. It is anticipated that the new school year will commence in early September 2011.
We have quickly realized that it is not enough to merely provide tuition assistance for our students; that the root cause of their poverty involves much more than a lack of education. Therefore, Elias met with the EKARI Foundation students and several faculty members at Phalombe Secondary School in January to discuss challenges that the students are facing regarding their education as well as obstacles the teachers are dealing with in providing an education. Issues discussed included the shortage of learning materials as well as the student’s lack of basic necessities and overwhelming family responsibilites outside of school. In order to address these issues we are currently looking into providing private student lessons on weekends and holidays, library books, and various learning materials such as exercise books, calculators, etc. This will be the main focus during Michelle’s visit to Phalombe this summer. More details to come!
Elias has formed a Board of Directors in Phalombe. The board consists of five members: Mr. Yohane, Mpasa Secondary School headmaster; Mr. Kaluwa, Phalombe Secondary School teacher; Mrs. Manyungwa, Flora’s mother; Aonenji Selemani, EKARI Foundation student; and Elias Makina, EKARI Foundation Malawi Coordinator.
The Board will meet monthly and will initially be responsible for overseeing the release of funds for the EKARI Foundation in order to increase transparency and accountibility as well as be responsibible for selecting new students to be part of the EKARI Foundation. Five new female students will become part of the EKARI Foundation this summer and we will be in need of new sponsors! Please watch for further details.