FUN AND GAMES AT MATANDANI
Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers for bringing out lots of new sports equipment. We were able to fix new netball nets for the girls and bring out lots of new footballs, netballs and volleyballs! Two parachutes for the younger children were also brought out and Emma and Clare showed the teachers some of the games that can be used with it.
Last week we had two visitors to the school; Beth and JC from South Africa. Beth and JC specialise in sustainable approaches to making the most of your surroundings. In other words, ‘Permaculture’. They ran a 3-day course at the school for all teachers. The course included advice and tips on saving and reusing water, ways to use plastic bottles, (including making bricks and air-conditioning units!) And a very practical guide to making your own fertiliser, teachers were astounded and amused to find that animal and even human waste can be put to use in the garden!
Clare did an amazing job with the Standard 3 garden. Over two days she put JC and Beth’s advice to excellent use, creating a layer of mulch using dry and green leaves, and then installing a watering system using plastic bottles. Finally all the children got to paint a rock to add as a decoration for the garden.
We have all been working together to organise the school supplies, from important administrative documents to classroom resources. A shelving unit has been built and installed in the storage room – Kenneth’s office. This unit will be used to store many things including textbooks, teachers’ guides and important school resources. The Head Teacher and Deputy’s documents have also been ordered and filed away in a brand new filing cabinet. With the huge amount of paperwork that the management need to produce… basic computer lessons have started for the management team! Each of them will also have a 10 inch netbook (from donations from Andy, Finola and Aoife) so they can practice their computer/typing skills!
The class sizes at Matandani are very big. With an average of 130 children in each class, it can be very difficult when it comes to testing. We tried a new way of testing the children in Standard 1 by bringing 6 children outside at a time, with 6 children waiting their turn. The children had a table, more space and privacy to do their test. It also enabled the teacher to observe how the children were getting on when being tested on their own. It required a considerable amount of organisation and co-operation but hopefully it can be introduced properly next year.
Tailors came to Matandani to do some much needed repairs on the children’s uniforms. Children in Malawi are very proud to wear a uniform so they were delighted with the improvements. They were also fascinated watching how the sewing machines works! We even found out that one of our very own teachers is an excellent tailor!
NEW CLASSROOM BLOCK
This week saw the near completion of one of the new classrooms in the new block. The classroom has now been plastered and painted, a lovely new red concrete floor has been put down, and the benches around the room have been fitted with custom made cushions. The windows will be fitted with glass pains and curtains, a first at Matandani!
Last year saw the introduction to the mooncups at Matandani with 3 students in standard 7 and 8 receiving them, as well as every female member of staff. Now one year on we are reflecting on the difference the mooncups have made.
14 year old Bahati Chitaya in Standard 7 has been using the mooncups this past year and said, “The Mooncup means that I can join in with any game at school and I don’t need to miss any school when I have my period. It is important for me to be able to attend school because I want to work for the government later as a doctor.”
The trial at Mantandani School has proved to be a great success and will be rolled out to even more students this year. The school has been able to purchase 90 mooncups for students and 10 for teachers, thanks to the generous support of Mooncup Ltd. Hopefully this will go a long way to help tackle the problem of inconsistent female education in the developing world.