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Mary I College Limerick, Volunteer

Shannon Dijkhuizen

Why did you come to Malawi?

To gain an insight into education in another country, their challenges and achievements. I also wanted to experience another way of living.


First impressions (Positive, Negative)

At first I was amazed by everything, the markets, landscape & lifestyle of Malawi but I quickly grew accustomed thanks to the friendly, inviting & welcoming mannerisms of the people that we were working closely with.


Visit to Farm – Experience

The visit to the farm was one of the highlights of the trip. It was so nice to see such a well run system in place. The people were lovely & our tour guide Matthews was so good at explaining each element of the farm to us.


Katoto Primary School Placement (Highlights, Challenges, How did you support the teachers)

The placement in Katoto National School was the most worthwhile experience of this trip. The highlight for me was hearing that the attendance had gone up so much while we were there. A challenge I found was the size of the classes, it was difficult to assess the children’s understanding of the lesson when there was such a large group. We supported the teacher by showing him songs & activities to support the children’s learning.


I will never forget / I will always remember…

I will never forget the last day in Katoto NS. The feeling that we may have inspired the teachers even just a little bit & supported the children’s learning gave me a sense of pride. They were so appreciative of the work we did & grateful. I would advise all teachers visiting Malawi to take a trip to Katoto NS.


Saturday Classes, how did you contribute?

Me & Jane were in Future’s class. We taught the students the human respiratory systems & then played sports with the students outside. It was a great opportunity to get to know them and their inspirational and harrowing stories.


Any other experiences – positive or negative that will remain with you from this visit?

MICA pre-school was a great experience. While having few resources the pre-school was so well run. It was clear that the children enjoyed being there and were very good at English and knew so many songs and rhymes. It really is a great place for children to start their educational experience!


Pre Planning:
What would you do differently?
Or what would you advise students coming on placement in the future?

I wouldn’t do anything differently, I’ve learnt so much through the wide range of experiences that we got to partake in. I would advise future students who are coming here to experience as much as they can from the pre-schools to the primary schools, to the well installations, the Saturday school and the farm.


Final thoughts?

This experience has been one of the best in my life and one that I will never forget. I have met some of the most inspirational people that I probably will ever meet. I would advise everyone to volunteer at least once in their lives. I feel that I have grown so much as a person as a result.

Visited Malawi

June 2016

Student of

Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

Duration of visit

4 weeks