Empowering Women in Malawi
March 7 – Ganet’s Adventure School, a primary and pre-school located in in Mkondezi, a village located in Northern Malawi, celebrated International Women’s Day with the official opening of a new Teacher’s House which will be used to host the school’s Standard 8 girl students and help them prepare for the national exams required to enter secondary school.
Founded in 2004 by Gertrude Banda, a widowed mother of four children, Ganet’s Adventure School currently has an enrolment of 234 pupils including 126 girls aged between 4 and 16, who walk up to 4 miles each day to get to school. The school is supported by The Ganet’s Adventure School Fund, a UK-registered charity fully staffed by volunteers. Through innovative teaching techniques and an entrepreneurial approach to education, Ganet’s school contributes to girls’ and women’s empowerment in the region.
With a Gross National Income of US$320 and 74% of the population living below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day, Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in Southern Africa. With a literacy rate of only 62.7%, the country rates 28th on the list of literacy rates in Africa. Rural regions such as Mkondezi are most affected by poverty and the lack of education.
Classes and revisions required for Standard 8 students are extremely intensive and typically last for more than 10 hours a day. In addition to walking long distances to reach the school, female pupils particularly struggle throughout this time as they also are required to look after their siblings, work in the fields and take care of household chores. Thanks to the opening of a new Teacher’s House supported by The Toy Trust, a UK charity supporting disadvantaged children, Ganet’s Adventure School’s Standard 8 girl students and their teachers will now be able to stay, eat and sleep at the boarding school from February to June every year.
The new Teacher’s House is very important for our girl pupils as it will enable them to be fully focused on their studies for the final six months leading to the exams”, Joyce Simkonda, a teacher at Ganet’s Adventure School, explains. “As a former student from the school, I remember how precious homework time could be. My education has enabled me to get a great job, and I hope that being able to stay and study at the teacher’s house will help other girls follow a similar path.”
“Malawi is one of the few African countries governed by a woman and today is a special occasion to celebrate women’s rights in the region,” Gertrude Banda, the school’s founder, adds. “At Ganet’s Adventure School, we strive to strengthen the connection between education for girls and economic empowerment for women and are very proud to see our female students grow and develop more skills over the years.”
In 2011, Ganet’s Adventure School received a Pan African Award for Entrepreneurship in Education which celebrates the achievements of social entrepreneurs who understand the role education can play within their communities. The school doesn’t receive any government funding, and relies on donations from supporters around the world.
To learn more about Ganet’s Adventure School, the UK-registered charity Ganet’s Adventure School Fund and to donate please visit http://www.ganetsadventureschool.org/.