In case you missed it on our Facebook page… We are thrilled to announce that Wilson placed #1 in his class for the 1st term of the 2016-17 school year! We would like to congratulate him on his hard work and commitment to school. We cannot wait to see his accomplishments in the future!
Monica, Iness, Frank, and Jenipher completed high school this past July 2016. They received their senior year exam results in October and started applying to higher education institutions shortly thereafter with the support of EKARI’s Higher Education Prep Program. In early February, they began their studies at Malawi’s Catholic University for their four-year degree programs! Monica, Iness, and Frank study Nursing and Midwifery, while Jenipher studies Special Needs Education. This may seem like ordinary news, but for these four students who grew up in extreme poverty, it is their dream come true. They are first in their families to attend university.
EKARI’s Higher Education Prep Program finances the costs associated with applications and interviews for higher education institutions in Malawi. Students who receive support from our program are first-generation college students who receive no aid from their families. In December, our partner, Center for Free Market Enterprise, met with EKARI’s recent high school graduates to speak about the importance of higher education and the opportunities that arise though academia. CFME shared pertinent information about university expectations and walked the students through the application process. As you can see from above, it worked! Moreover, the speakers addressed the necessity of dedication and a positive work ethic.
Since 2014, EKARI has offered classes to increase literacy skills among adults in Phalombe through our Adult Literacy Program. After we start working with a community, we conduct Chichewa classes during the first two years and then English during year three. In November 2016, all 11 classes concluded the year with exams. We will hold a graduation ceremony in late March to recognize the over 100 adults who completed English classes. Starting in March, we will continue five English classes and two Chichewa classes. We are excited to expand the program and start Chichewa classes in four new communities where our students come from! We will then expand our Sustainable Livelihoods Program into these communities.
We supported Flora throughout high school and the beginning of college where she studied Special Needs Education at Malawi’s Catholic University. During her third semester of college she became pregnant. The Malawi education system stipulates that students who become pregnant and their counterparts are required to leave school for one year. Following those guidelines, per our pregnancy policy, EKARI discontinued support of Flora. After one year Flora reapplied for assistance from EKARI and passed our rigorous acceptance process for the second time! She has been accepted to a local Teacher Training College and will earn her diploma there. Afterwards her hope is to gain her degree in teaching from Malawi’s Catholic University.
March 8 is International Women’s Day! In 2016, Malawi passed a law raising the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18, but a loophole existed which allowed children between 15 and 18 to marry – or be forced into marriage – with parental consent. On February 21, 2017, members of the Malawian Parliament approved an amendment to remove this legal loophole!