The more we work in remote villages the more we discover the problems; like children going to school at six when they are sometimes established workers, lack of stimulation, not learning Chichewa or English, or just never going to school at all and continuing the cycle of no education, no food, no water thereby perpetuating the downward spiral.
We support communities in the building and running of preschools, but they are the people who do it.
As part of the Self Help programme, the Cluster Association invite us to help, because, after clean water, the women see preschools as the next need. The communities provide the land, make the bricks, provide sand and stone and all the labour. We provide the cement and metal sheets for the roof. We now have a building blueprint and know the material quantities needed.
Our people sensitize the community, train the caregivers and provide some materials. Our travelling head teacher visits each school once a week to continue the training and encouragement, give support, and note issues, and checks on the pumps.
We now have six such schools and the system works very well. Of course there are problems, but the constant monitoring enables us to find solutions quickly. Village women value education and with just a little help they become wonderful preschool carers, and with whole-community involvement, this rapidly develops sustainability.
The Self Help Women’s Groups support the school management teams, ensuring that the provision of food for porridge is adequate and sustained.
The results are astounding and when W4Z helps negotiate changeovers to primary schools – having introduced the students to their new schools – children just make a seamless changeover.
Everyone can make a difference with even the smallest donation, even €10 a month would make a huge difference in the life of one of these voluntary caregivers.
Children are surrounded by role models instead of critics. They receive emotional support that they sometimes don’t get at home. The school gives every child the chance to make the most out of their childhood days by encouraging them to express their feelings freely without any criticism or discrimination. Children take ownership of their lives and rise above their obstacles. Children are allowed to be children, even for a while each day.
Water is an essential part of life that no human being can do without. W4Z Preschools have pumps with clean water and better sanitation. Every day thousands of African children die from diarrhea, so clean water, pit latrines and a wash bottle, close by, make a real difference. Children also develop good habits at an early stage.
Food helps keep Malawian children in school. Providing a meal at school is a simple but very essential way to give children a chance to learn on a full stomach.
A Preschool gives hope to children affected by AIDS and helps to protect many more children from AIDS. Since the school doubles as a venue for Adult Education, talks on nutrition and health issues within communities
Because children are expected to work at such a young and impressionable age, the scars they gain from experiencing the effects of poverty carry on into their adult life. Our schools lay the foundation for positive abilities, interests, and motivation. The schools protect children from daily dangerous activities that interfere with their education, proper development, social, spiritual and mental health.