How is it all going over here?

August 5, 2014

In July I arrived back in Malawi and after months of fundraising activities, we have been able to turn the goals set out to improve Matandani Primary school into a reality. While I set out with many aims, there have been many changes since last year in Malawi. Part of being a 3rd world country […]

Teacher Training at Matandani

October 28, 2014

First Aid at Matandani If an accident happens at school then the teacher or first aider are called to help but imagine being in a school where no-one knows the correct procedures for even some of the simplest of accidents. Teaching first aid to the teachers at Matandani was an eye-opener as we explained what […]

Classrooms Transformation

October 28, 2014

With a class of 200 children, it’s not an easy task for the teachers to keep the children’s attention, so the first priority to improve the classrooms was to brighten them up to improve the children’s concentration. The fibre glass roof sheeting was cleaned so that natural light can shine through and the roof was […]

Guess who came to Malawi?

November 22, 2014

A poet, A politician, A writer and an orator. A teacher and lecturer. A promoter of the Irish language, and the person who set up the first Irish TV Station (TG4). A renowned humanitarian, an inspiration. ———————————————————————————————————— None other than Uachtaran na hEireann. (President of Ireland.) Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visited Malawi. […]

Water Water Everywhere!

November 27, 2014

“Water is Life” For many of the children attending Matandani, a daily trek for water to their local bore hole (pump) is a chore that must be complete before they go to school. They must fetch enough water for the household for the day.  Here, at Matandani school, the only water facility available was also […]

The CharChar Chest

December 2, 2014

  5th & 6th classes from Scoil Bhride have purchased a ‘The CharChar Chest’ reading programme for Matandani School.  They put considerable effort into fundraising which was well worth while as the programme has just been launched.  The 84 students in Standard 8 are now on the third book in the scheme and they really […]

Work…… What Work?

December 12, 2014

One of the biggest differences in school over here in Malawi compared to schools in Ireland is the manual labour that the children are expected to do. The schools here do not have paid cleaners, so the teachers and pupils are asked to do work to keep the outside of the school looking nice and to keep […]

A Day in the Life ……

December 17, 2014

What is a typical day like for a young girl in Malawi? We gave a camera to Esther Jackson, just turned 15, who is in Standard 8 at Matandani Primary School. Here Esther tells us about an ordinary day in her life through her pictures! – I wake up around four in the morning and […]

Electricity – A huge achievement!

December 23, 2014

Look around you and take in everything you need electricity for – to make a cup of tea with the kettle, your X-box for afternoon’s entertainment or to plug in your hair straighteners…now imagine not having electric. It’s amazing how much we use electricity and how much we take it for granted so this post […]

Girls Education

January 1, 2015

  Tsogolo langa- My future — This is the name of a radio program promoting girls right to education in Malawi. Matandani is one of 24 schools in the rural area outside of Zomba that have established a radio listening club for girls that listen to the program together and discuss the topics. This is an […]

Building the New School Block ……

January 11, 2015

Raising funds to build and finish the new school block was really important as the government here in Malawi are struggling to give out any funds/help to schools. With the Money raised from Scoil Bhride, and money  

Moving Forward with Electricity!

January 18, 2015

Now that we have electricity, we have seen some major developments. Due to some extra donations from family and friends, I’ve been able to buy a new laptop and printer for the school. The printer also acts like a photocopier which will come in very handy to print exam papers and to photocopy notes or […]

Starting School Meals!

January 25, 2015

Matandani School is in an area that is affected greatly by poverty. The World Food Programme are a major organisation in the area that help local government schools by offering a food programme to help feed the children and give them at least one good meal a day. The idea of a guaranteed meal also […]

Progress on New Classrooms

February 16, 2015

Check out the newest pictures of how the building is progressing at Matandani school. Over the last two months there has been lots of rain and flooding in Malawi but as you can see…. the school building has been progressing well. The roof is next to go on and then you will see it becoming […]

Update after the heavy rain / flooding!

May 1, 2015

After the heavy rains and flooding in Malawi in January and February, Matandani did not escape all of the damage. Thankfully, thanks to some quick action from the deputy head teacher, Kenneth and the local chief, a lot of work was done to limit the damage the flood water was doing to the school buildings. […]

The Gift of SIGHT!

May 17, 2015

Do you wear glasses?? How would you feel if you somebody took them off you or said you couldn’t use them anymore? Would you be able to see the board in school or even read a book? And even if you don’t wear glasses, put your hands over your eyes and imagine not being able […]

Building Blocks @Matandani

May 31, 2015

The new classroom block is nearly complete! The roof has been put on, the inside walls have been plastered, the outside walls have been finished (“pointed”) and the floors are starting to be laid. It wont be long before the children move in! Deputy-head teacher Mr. Kassam has been a fantastic project manager. He has […]

Good Vision – Good Life

June 3, 2015

The good people of Good Vision Glasses returned to Matandani last week to test students eyes. On their first visit they conducted initial screenings of over 800 children. During these latest two long, exhausting days,  they screened an additional 150 children, did full eye tests on 355 children, and provided 161 pairs of glasses to […]

The New Election

June 9, 2015

 Matandani School Management Committee Elections – May 27, 2015 On a busy day at Matandani a team of nine workers ploughed ahead on the new classroom block, plastering the inside walls, finalising the outside walls, and filling in the floors. Two workmen pressed ahead constructing a concrete drainage ditch to divert the next big rains […]

Free Internet from TNM

June 20, 2015

  TNM, one of Malawi’s biggest mobile-phone networks, gave us some great news this week. They are going to give Matandani free access to the internet! I sent a letter to TNM a few weeks ago and followed up with a visit to their local office in Zomba. The regional manager,  Allan asked me to […]

Moringa – The Miracle Tree

June 25, 2015

  I have learnt a lot of new things in Malawi. One thing I have learnt is that “moringa” trees are very special! I found out that it is one of the most nutritious plants in the world, and even better than that… it grows really well in Malawi! Moringas love Malawi’s hot dry days, […]

Sporting Progress

July 8, 2015

We are progressing amazingly well with our new grass, international-sized pitch. This week we had the metal netball posts made by a local welder and they look fantastic, but we are going to hold off on the installation of the metal goalposts until the grass has completely established on the courts. This is because once […]

Teachers V’s Kids

August 1, 2015

I know how much fun a teachers-against-the-kids game can be at the end of the school year because we have these games at Scoil Bhride. I thought the kids at Matandani would enjoy it as much as they do at home, so I wanted to set up these annual games at Matandani. Just before the […]

More I.T. Equipment for Matandani

August 18, 2015

I firmly believe that technology has the potential to improve classroom teaching. I’ve seen the benefits in my own classroom in Ireland, and it is clear to see the huge difference technology makes in Malawi . As you may remember from previous posts, we’ve started to introduce some of these modern tools into Matandani. But […]

September Update

October 19, 2015

Welcome back, Matandani!  With all the success of last year there is a real excitement around the place now. Although we were sad to say good-bye to two wonderful teachers who have since moved to teach at schools closer to their homes, we are thrilled to share the news of gaining two additional classrooms! I’ll […]

Life @Matandani – November

December 12, 2015

Matandani had a special visitor, Che Fidel, from South Africa. Che is a photographer and while he was travelling around Malawi, he decided he had a little time to spare to visit Matandani primary school. Its been nearly 6 months since Andy has been there and its great to see how well the school is looking […]

Year 1 – HIGHLIGHTS – 2015

December 31, 2015

– Thank you everyone for helping us accomplish the following in the project’s first year! – 1. Built two water taps that are connected to the main supply and fixed the water tower which now holds 2,500 litres of clean water. 2. Improved standards of hygiene by connecting water to the toilets. 3. Connected electricity […]

Plan of Work – 2016

April 18, 2016

  Currently, Matandani has two communal water taps connected to mains water by pipes that we installed in Year 1 of the project. This year, one of our priorities is to extend mains water to taps in each classroom. The two outside water taps currently cater for 1400 children, but with a tap in every […]

A New Era at Matandani

April 24, 2016

There have been lots of changes at Matandani over the last couple of weeks! There are two especially big piece of news for the school. First, our very own head teacher Mr. Limbe has retired after many, many years of being a teacher in Malawi. We are sad to see him go, but we wish […]

JULY – Update

July 19, 2016

The summer of 2016 started with ambitious plans for Matandani. The project has grown in strength from the previous summer, resulting in 10 new volunteers and a successful fundraising drive. The new volunteers arrived at Matandani and were eager to get straight in to one of the many projects identified for the summer.    The […]

Update: Number Two

July 25, 2016

Work continues at Matandani with numerous activity around the school. With 10 volunteers there’s plenty of willing hands around to help with all of the work. The volunteers are discovering skills they didn’t know they had, and the school is improving at a rapid rate. The main areas of activity are: Classrooms and Teaching Resources […]

Update 3 – Activity Heating Up!

July 29, 2016

As the weather heats up here in Malawi the pace of activity at the school is also heating up! It is the final week for 8 of the 10 volunteers so it has been a busy week getting everything in place for the school, before they head off.   The main activity for the Irish […]

Update 4 – Flushed with Success; Water Everywhere

August 29, 2016

Throughout the summer the two main activities at Matandani have been the construction of new toilets and the installation of sinks in every classroom. The work required to connect all of the classrooms to a piped water supply has meant the creation of a new system of plumbing and it has been a long process, […]

NEW Children’s Toilets!

November 3, 2016

The biggest project of 2016 was the building of new toilets at Matandani. We completed the teacher’s toilet block last September and the brand new toilet blocks for the children are now complete as well! There are 4 new toilets within the girl’s block and another 4 in the boy’s block. These toilets are built […]

Storm Damage at Matandani School

November 22, 2016

It is the beginning of the wet season in Malawi. Usually this is a welcome relief for the people of Malawi and the community of Matandani, as everyone is keen for it to rain again after 9 or 10 months since the last long lasting rain! Unfortunately, the wet season started with a storm this […]

Year 2 – Highlights 2016

December 27, 2016

Thank you to everyone for helping us achieve the following this year! ——————————————— — 1. Installed a tap and sink in each of the 10 classrooms so they can have clean water     and be able to wash their hands. — —————————— —- 2. Built a new toilet block for the girls – four […]

PLAN of Work – 2017

February 16, 2017

Matandani School Plan – 2017 Complete the new block with two classrooms and a multipurpose room – €5000 This new block has commenced and is being constructed with the fundraising efforts from last year. We have enough money to get it to roof level, but more money is needed to complete the roof and complete […]

Progress of New Classroom Block

March 27, 2017

We are delighted that work has commenced on a new classroom block at Matandani. To date, this will be the biggest building on the school grounds. It will comprise of two classrooms and a multi-purpose room/staff room. Construction is ongoing and stage one of the build has being successfully completed. This includes foundation works and […]

June Update

June 10, 2017

It is great to be back at Matandani! While getting the tour of the school with Kenneth, I am so impressed with how Matandani has kept the school looking great, fully maintained and working well! Popping my head into some of the classes, I watch as the teachers are busy teaching their large classes. Again […]

The Volunteers Arrive!

July 15, 2017

These last two weeks have seen the arrival of 6 new volunteers from Ireland and the UK- Bernie, Tara, Maura, Clare, Emma and Klara! After a few days at the school to observe some lessons. We even played some sports like badminton and volleyball. The children have really taken to volleyball with the school team […]

Lots of Progress!

July 29, 2017

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 […]

Classroom of the Future

August 19, 2017

 One of the biggest challenges in Matandani and most schools in Malawi is huge class sizes with many children coming to school for the first time at the age of 10 or even 12!  At Matandani alone… we have an average of 165 in a class with the youngest class,  Standard 1, having the biggest […]

New Term, New Improvements!

September 28, 2017

School is back in session at Matandani, and a new term has brought fresh changes. One of the biggest improvements has been teacher’s commitment to keeping their students in the classroom during class, and transitioning breaks with other classes. Rather than 1000+ children thundering into the courtyard for a 15 minute break, classes have created […]

Life Changing for 6 Special Students!

December 3, 2017

After the success of the eye testing and glasses for the children who needed them, I have decided to attempt a new child centred medical project at Matandani! It was always very frustrating to see some of the children with a condition called “clubfoot”. I recently found out that this condition is treatable! There is […]

So Much Progress During Term One!

January 5, 2018

For the first time in Matandani’s history, the plan to have student teachers from the nearby Machinga Teachers Training College has finally been realised. In October, 6 student teachers came to stay at Matandani, living together in one big house very close to the school. They have made a hugely positive impact at the school […]

New Exciting Project!

February 28, 2018

A new and exciting project has been given the go ahead to start at Matandani! Through my work with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), I have been able to build my very own version of a mobile solar powered projector! This little invention has caused quite a stir in VSO and anyone who I’ve shown. With […]