Project starts: Monday
Location: Mangochi District, Malawi
Minimum duration: 2 weeks
With more than half of its population living below the poverty line, Malawi is considered one of the world’s’ poorest countries. The infant mortality rate in Malawi is extremely high, due to the poor health care and malnutrition. In most cases, children in Malawi start primary school at the age of 6 years old. At the moment a preschool system is non existent. This means that for children under the age of 6 there is little access to any form of education. There are several private nursery schools throughout the country, mostly located in large towns or cities. However, parents have to pay for their children to attend there and most of them cannot afford this. A number of rural communities have set up groups to provide children basic care and an education. These groups are run by local volunteers. However, in most cases they are under qualified, understaffed and the resources at these groups are very low. Previous research has proven a strong link between a good preschool education and the performance at primary school. Furthermore, learning basic English at a young age is very important when preparing children for the lessons that are taught in English at primary schools in Malawi. However, most teachers that run the groups don’t speak very well English themselves. This is why, you can provide vital support by improving the level of education and helping the current teachers improve their English and way of teaching.
The preschool groups that we support exist of about 30-150 children and are run by one or a small number of local volunteer teachers. On this project you will be helping to keep the children entertained, assisting with basic education and helping with the daily feeding program. Volunteer tasks will vary from:
•Teaching basic English, including the alphabet, counting, days of the week, shapes and songs
•Serving porridge to malnourished children daily as part of a feeding program
•Recording children’s weight to monitor their improvement
•Teaching the children all the benefits of good health and hygiene (e.g. washing hands, brushing teeth) Mornings will be spent assisting in the nursery.
In the afternoons there are various extra-curricular community projects volunteers will assist with such as:
The library workshops we organize are composed of activities such as arts and crafts and reading. Volunteers will assist with this as well as providing extra English and Maths tuition.
Wildlife and Environment Club
This includes educating the children about the environment, conservation and the importance of preserving wildlife in Malawi.
Volunteers will assist in helping the teachers learn the skills on the computers that they will one day teach the children.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to coach a variety of sports, including football, netball, volleyball, and rounders. Other games such as parachutes, obstacle races and skipping are also played with the children.
Volunteers will stay in a comfortable, shared house in a rural village in the Mangochi District. The volunteer house is located on the shores of the stunning Lake Malawi. The area in which volunteers are based (and Malawi in general) is very safe. However, the house is fenced and gated for additional security and privacy.
The bedrooms in the volunteer house are large shared rooms (2 – 4 volunteers per room), generally with single or bunk beds. Mosquito nets are provided and the rooms either have en-suite facilities, or an adjacent bathroom. The bathrooms all consist of western style flush toilets and showers.
Three meals a day are provided.
Breakfast usually consists of french toast, eggs, porridge or pancakes, and tea and coffee.
Lunch usually consists of sandwiches, pasta, soups, wraps, or similar; or a packed lunch can be provided if you are not returning to the house in the middle of the day.
Dinner will be a hot meal prepared for you by our cook.
In Malawi there are three school terms each year, the longest holidays are during the summer, with shorter breaks around Easter and Christmas. The exact dates vary each year and often arent confirmed until last minute.
During the school holidays, volunteers are involved in additional classes that are usually held in the mornings.
The volunteer house is right on the edge of Lake Malawi in the Mangochi District. It’s approximately a 40-minute drive from Mangochi Town, which is a large village where 6.500 people live.
School life in Malawi if you have not spent time at a school in Africa before, you should be prepared that schools in Malawi are certainly not like those you will be more familiar in your home country. There can be very little structure and time is often not a priority (although this does not apply to you, as we expect you to set an example and be punctual). Resources are extremely limited at most schools, so you will need to be creative in planning your lessons. You may have little more than chalk and a blackboard and if you have this you’re off to a good start. Do not expect all of your students to have exercise books and pens, or pencils either. The initiative, motivational skills, flexibility, patience and a positive sense of humor are all useful traits to have as a teaching volunteer in Malawi. If you don’t have them already you probably will do by the end of your volunteer programme. If you come prepared for this it will not take you long to get used to how things works, you will enjoy the experience and will find teaching the children very rewarding. If you would like to bring any teaching aids or educational materials with you these will be gratefully received and useful. Please speak to the project coordinators about anything you have brought as a donation on arrival to ensure that it is given in an appropriate manner.
During free time, volunteers can relax at the volunteer house, swim in the sparkling waters of Lake Malawi and explore the local area.
Weekend trips can be organised by the project staff enabling you to visit:
Liwonde National Park, offers a variety of wildlife and large herds of elephant, where you can enjoy the combination of a vehicle safari, walking safari and boat safari in search of the numerous hippo in the rivers.
Cape Maclear, a popular tourist village at the edge of the lake. Enjoy snorkelling, boat rides on Lake Malawi, exploring the craft stalls and sunbathing on the beach during the day. In the evening there are a couple of lively bars to let your hair down.
Zomba Plateau, is a cool forest where you can relax, take in the great views, trek and even go horse riding if you wish.
Although organised weekend excursions are not included in the program price, we do recommend doing a couple of these groups trips during your stay. This way you will be able to see a little more and make the most of your time in Malawi.
- Assist in a rural community nursery school
- Work with disadvantaged, orphaned and vulnerable children
- Help to teach preschool aged children basic English to help prepare them for school
- Provide porridge daily as part of a feeding programme to reduce malnourishment
- Teach the importance of hygiene
- Organise and run afternoon sports sessions with older children
- Help run extra English, reading other extra-curricular activities at a library club
- Police clearance
- Basic level of competency in English
- Copy of return flight itinerary
- Acceptance subject to availability