It’s now been six months since John, Jane and I visited Malawi and a good time
to bring you up to date with happenings at Nansambo.
Malawi is approaching the onset of the rainy season and, as we’ve mentioned, once it is raining every day Nansambo will be inaccessible until late March next year when the rains come to a stop. Francis told us when we were in Malawi that the Government has said they will build a proper tarmac road from the main Blantyre road through Nansambo and to the town of Chingale. I don’t think anyone is holding their breath that this will happen soon – or even in the foreseeable future!
2016 is the last year that the Junior Certificate of Education [JCE] will take place for Year 2 in Secondary School. They say it is not worth the cost of administering. The Government have said the only exam to be administered in Secondary School, in future, will be the Malawi Secondary Certificate of Education [MSCE] in Year 4 – their final year. Educationalists in Malawi have spoken out about this move but the objections have fallen on deaf ears. We pass no comment but think the move short sighted and detrimental to pupils who make it to Secondary Education who represent a mere 35% of those eligible to attend secondary school but do not continue in education beyond primary school.
With the full support of Mr Mulamba – the Headteacher – and the Staff of the Balamanja Secondary School at Nansambo, our sponsored pupils will still take a school set exam in Year 2. To show where more work is needed and to encourage them to work towards the Government set higher certificate exam in Year 4. The national pass rate this year for JCE was 70% and for MSCE 60%.Our sponsored pupils again achieved 100% passes in JCE and 75% passes in MSCE. They should all be proud of their achievement – as the Nansambo School Fund supporters should be for helping these young people to achieve their potential.. One photo shows Mr Mulamba and one of the new sponsored pupils.
Although we will not be visiting Malawi again until 2018, following our visit in May this year, we prioritised our projects for the coming year. Firstly, the bore hole and its continued maintenance. Secondly, sponsoring a further four pupils to attend the Balamanja Secondary School and lastly, the Library.
We anticipate a major bore hole maintenance task after the rains. The bore hole will be eight years old next year and the water supply is still viable all year round. Seals are wearing and there is a crack in the pump stand, however, it will still be cheaper to repair than it will to replace with a new bore hole. Having started the new Malawi School Year last month we have sponsored another four pupils. All have been kitted out with shoes, uniforms, scientific calculators, stationary, mathematical sets, pens, pencils, school bags, required text books and as many exercise books as they need. Currently, we are sponsoring fourteen pupils [having two leave the area during the last year] and will aim to take on four each year – funds permitting.
The Library was a cause of concern. It was completed in 2014 but in both 2015 and 2016 had suffered significant shelf damage by termites and we were concerned for the safety of our book stocks. We replaced shelves, treated the Library with anti termite chemicals but to no avail. We needed a lasting solution. It has taken four months but we hope we now have beaten the termites! We will protect the outside of the building annually with chemicals. During the last four months all of the wooden shelves have been replaced, where the shelves were keyed into the walls the walls have been repaired and the building repainted and made sound. Francis took a welder and metal worker to Nansambo in June and following agreeing prices we have had custom metal shelves built for the entire Library. These bookcases will protect the books having metal ends and metal backs. We had to hire a lorry to transport the bookcases to Nansambo because of the size and weight of the shelves but all have now been fitted as you will see from the photos.
We’re currently working on a supplies list for Francis to buy and deliver to the school as soon as it is possible next year. Included in the delivery will be eighteen leather footballs and volley balls for the older children and plastic footballs for the younger pupils. 5000 exercise books, 3000 pencils, 1000 pens and a number of erasers and rules and other items. At the same time Francis will contact the bore hole engineers to arrange for them to visit to see what work and what parts are needed for the service / repair of the bore hole.
So as 2016 draws to a close and 2017 is not too distant on the horizon, we look forward to being able to continue to support the Nansambo Primary School and the children of Nansambo.
John, Jane and I do sincerely thank all who partner us, share our hopes and aims for the children of Nansambo and who encourage us.
Wishing you a Blessed and Happy Christmas.
THE NAMSAMBO SCHOOL FUND