Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Emas Potolani
Nelson Mandela one of the greatest leaders who once lived on the face of the earth said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” In Malawi, we say that “maphunziro nchuma” meaning to say that education is key to unlocking or creating wealth. This is the reason why most parents in Malawi strive to educate their children amidst high levels of poverty. They believe and hope that someday their child will hold their hand after attaining a good future and that their lives will change for the better. Today, I will continue to write about education and I will thus share some stories from my classroom, from my standard 3 pupils in my village, Chitete.
To begin with, I have always believed that if we want to shape the future of our nation into a strong economy, where citizens are truly empowered, patriotic and also development conscious, then we must not despise the essential role education plays and that we also consider investing in the youth and children. Investing in young people as well as children will indeed help us to shape the next generation and systematically develop our nation. The question should now be, how do we then shape Malawi’s next generation? How do we invest in children and use it as a tool in reshaping our nation? The answers to these questions might vary from person to person but I personally think that you and me are responsible in taking part and playing an active role in educating the young ones. Yes, before we begin pointing fingers at the central government, policy makers and related agencies, you and me must be involved in doing something to change and improve the dilapidated and worsening conditions of education in our very communities. It begins with you, it begins with me.
On my part, I continue to advocate for better educational standards for the voiceless children in my community, who continue to hope for better education, better learning facilities and quality education delivery. I do not want to only advocate but to be an active doer. I believe in corresponding what I advocate for with my actions. This is why I always share with you respected readers.
Our schools here closed for a two weeks holiday and pupils have just come back to start the third term (we have 3 terms in the academic year for primary and secondary students, you can read more here).
During their two week holiday I deliberately arranged with my class to be teaching them after I noticed that most kids couldn’t read, write and handle math problems. I remember spending a lot of hours helping some kids to read, write and solve math problems, it was a great adventure altogether. One of the kids by the name Madalitso, 9 years of age had serious difficulties in both reading and math problems, but this day he went home a happy kid after hours of struggling to get a math exercise right.
I told him that we could spend the entire day teaching each other until he mastered some basic math skills. You see, kids like Madalitso inspire me, they motivate me to do what I do.
When school opened a week ago, I became so energized and looked forward to being with my kids again. I looked forward to teaching these kids, and helping them to read, write and anything else within my reach. Allow me to therefore share with you some of the things my kids and I did during the past week
Wednesday 20th April. Before I started my lessons for this day I went with my kids for some physical exercises and they teamed up into two teams in a tag of war sport where the boys luckily won.
After the sporting activity we went back to class and learned about accidents at home and how the kids can prevent such. To get more from the pupils I decided to group them into groups. The pupils then presented to their friends what each group discussed and this was again deliberately chosen as a way of enhancing their communication and public speaking skills.
I must confess that I was impressed by these kids during presentations and the way they debated in their groups, surely these kids will be great public speakers 😃😃.
The most disheartening thing for me, however, is that whenever I come to teach these kids, and I give them classwork to do, I keep getting different excuses from most kids. “Sir, I don’t have an exercise book to write on” and another one will tell me she doesn’t have a writing pen. You would almost think that they’re lazy and that they don’t want to write but then this problem is real. This is the reason why I decided to take some amount of money from my upkeep and purchase exercise books and ball point pens for all my pupils in my class to at least deal with this problem and Oh boy!
You should have seen the joy and happiness on the kids’ faces. They never expected that someone would give them such a gift. I am glad to see that even the class attendance has greatly improved over the week because there were some kids who kept being absent from school because they didn’t have writing materials. Like I mentioned earlier on, I am a doer to the core and that’s why I am already working on a sanitation and cleanliness project with my kids. We intend to turn wasted and used papers into waste bins/dust bins plus other handicraft materials which we will later find a market in other schools with an aim of using the money to buy books and soap for the kids so that they wash their school uniforms and bath before coming to school. I believe that my pupils and I are capable of creating long lasting solutions to these challenges.
Having shared some of the stories from my classroom, I believe that you are greatly motivated and encouraged to begin to take part in helping in shaping the next generation. You may actually consider sharing the little that you have with some needy kids in your community and like I have shown you in this blog post, the best way to invest in the next generation is when we invest our resources in educating the children in our community. When you and me take ownership of our children’s education, we’re investing in the next generation, when you decide to volunteer in your community and give out your heart to the people right in your community, know that you’re inspiring someone and this is how we transform our nation systematically. I implore you to join me in my noble cause as I continue to transform children’s lives in my community as well as the entire community at large. If you want to come to Chitete and inspire the kids or give your ideas on how we can do our cleanliness and sanitation project, or need to get in touch, please contact me via e-mail: [email protected] and let’s together transform Malawi as we invest in our next generation.
Tionana, see you later!