Our Trustees have had a busy week in Malawi. With Mercy, our Malawian manager, they visited three schools. They are not used to setting off before breakfast and working right through till lunch, if they are lucky. ‘Let’s grab a coffee’ is simply not part of the schedule – not until the weekend anyway. Every term Mercy visits each of the schools we support. She always addresses the whole group, encouraging them and ensuring that they know to come to her with any problems.
In the first term Mercy also speaks individually to each of the girls who are newly on an MMF bursary. This is an important interview as it establishes the relationship which will last for all of that girl’s schooling and often beyond.
These are long working days; at one school we had 14 new girls this month and 12 in another school. Mercy also manages our small discretionary fund, out of which she gives money for the small necessities which most of the girls lack. They need soap and notebooks; they often need school uniforms and sometimes shoes or schoolbags.
Angie and Moira took the opportunity to chat to the girls when Mercy was conducting her individual sessions. That is always interesting, humbling, shocking (in terms of the hardship and poverty disclosed) and inspiring – all at the same time.
At one of the schools there are new buildings adjacent to the old school but no seats yet. The girls are used to sitting on the ground as there is no alternative outdoors. However, some of the classes are awaiting desks and chairs and sitting on a concrete floor is not good.
The girls are also eagerly awaiting the new hostel which is due to be built in the next year. The present one is so overcrowded that they need to sleep two to a bed. We look forward to seeing that new accommodation on a future visit.