Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin visit Malawi

Elmhurst School for Boys

10th May 2019

Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin visit Malawi

As part of the celebration of Elmhurst’s 150 year anniversary, Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin travelled to Malawi to look at how the money we have raised as a school over the past 14 years has helped Joshua Orphan and Community Care provide teacher training and support a number of their current volunteering programmes.

Joshua Orphan and Community Care is a small charity supporting community-driven sustainable development projects in Malawi - one of the poorest countries in the world. Joshua believes that all communities should have the resources and assistance to ensure that all children can grow and develop free of hunger and with access to education and basic health care. Joshua has worked with communities near Blantyre to achieve the following:

  • Improved school facilities in primary and secondary schools by building classrooms, libraries and latrines
  • Set up 22 community-based childcare centres for children aged 2-6 years and continue to run 14 of these
  • Support over 1800 young people to stay in secondary school education
  • Run regular mobile health clinics reaching 1500 children every year
  • Distribute emergency food aid and support community rebuilding after flooding

Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin spent two weeks working in two community-based childcare centres set up and run by Joshua. During this time they worked directly alongside caregivers and children in the centres. Caregivers are local volunteers who are paid an incentive of £5 a month to manage and run the centres. Our Elmhurst teachers modelled effective practice and helped the caregivers structure their day to ensure the children were engaged in a range of play-led and explorative learning activities. Although they have not had any formal educational training to speak of, and some very little primary or secondary education themselves, the caregivers were eager and willing to take on board new ideas. Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin were able to see a shift in the mindset of the caregivers as they moved from rote teaching methods into delivering creative, fun and engaging lessons and tasks.

Whilst supporting Joshua, Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin helped caregivers hand out the food to children on a daily basis. Our teachers experienced the silence from the children as they sat in anticipation for their food (Likuni Phala; A staple peanut butter paste for babies and infants who are malnourished. ½ bag soybeans, ½ bag ground nuts, 3 bags maize meal).

Miss Kasza-Martin said: “It was heartbreaking watching the children slowly eating their food; it was as if they didn’t want it to end because they knew they wouldn’t be eating until the next day - a complete contrast from our lunch hall at Elmhurst”.

Child malnutrition is a major problem in Malawi.  Many children simply do not eat enough. Joshua is helping put an end to this by providing a daily nutritious meal as well as working on a long term solution to nourishing communities. Miss Kasza-Martin went on to say: “The Likuni Phala has a momentous effect on the children, their energy and concentration levels increasing dramatically”.

Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin were both shocked by the poverty that they saw. Many of the children they worked with spent the week in exactly the same tattered clothes, travelled barefoot (often long distances) to school and only had access to one meal a day. Madame Hargreaves said that “despite this, the children were always so grateful and happy to have the opportunity to learn and showed copious amounts of resilience. It is clear why people call Malawi the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’”.

The money raised by Elmhurst’s Staff Pantomime, the 2019 Calendar and individual donations was used to take over numerous resources to help the caregivers plan more exciting and imaginative lessons.

Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin were also able to build entire shelving units in two centres, to help them keep track of and store all the equipment the Elmhurst community has provided. These shelving units will play a vital role in how the teachers can access and use teaching resources and books effectively.

Joshua is incredibly grateful for donations of any kind, but the organisation also relies a great deal on regular donations, however small. This allows for long term planning such as sponsorship programmes that assist young people to get the education they deserve.

You can visit the Joshua website to make a donation.

A monthly donation of:

  • £4 can buy 5kg of Likuni Phala
  • £5 can buy stationery for students at secondary school
  • £15 could buy a 50kg bag of maize to feed a needy family
  • £30 could support a vulnerable child through one year of secondary school.

Alternatively, donate via text on 70085

  • To donate £5 text 5Joshua
  • To donate £10 text 10Joshua
  • To donate £15 text 15Joshua
  • To donate £20 text 20Joshua

And of course, please don’t forget to come to the Summer Fayre on 9th June. The founder of the organisation herself, Sylvia Avghineros will be there in person to talk to you more about Joshua and to answer any questions that you might have. Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin will also be selling the Malawian goodies that they brought back, with all profit going directly to Joshua.

View photos of Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin's trip to Joshua, Malawi.

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