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NEWS

  • Writer's pictureAmaya Woods

Empowering women in prison through education: Mzuzu Prison Girls Secondary School project

In the pursuit of equitable education, certain groups face distinct challenges. Incarcerated individuals, particularly women, often encounter obstacles to accessing education. An impactful initiative, the Stimulus for Transformative Development (STRADE), Mzuzu Prison Girls Secondary School, is working to address these hurdles by providing educational opportunities to female prisoners.

Empowering women in prison through education: Mzuzu Prison Girls Secondary School project 

The Prison Girls Secondary School in Mzuzu offers free education to female offenders. The government has already provided structures like classrooms, a library, a laboratory and all teachers are paid by the government of Malawi. 


Think Malawi funded a 6-month project, carried out by STRADE, aiming to provide educational support to women at Mzuzu Prison Girls Secondary School.


The end goals of the project collaboration between Think Malawi and STRADE are to support Mzuzu Prison Girls Secondary School with materials to support their education, to retain the 150 female students already enrolled in the school, and to enrol 500 additional female prisoners.


Group photo from project Malawi Mzuzu School Prison charity donation project improving access to girls education


Activities completed at the prison and impacts achieved


Procurement of sewing machines


With support from Think Malawi, STRADE donated sewing machines to the Prison vocation skills department to equip inmates especially Women with skills to earn their living once they are released from prison. Fabrics for use in school uniforms were also provided.



Sewing machines Malawi Mzuzu School Prison charity donation project improving access to girls education

Providing learning materials 


STRADE also used funding from Think Malawi to donate assorted learning items including note books, pens, and uniform fabric. These were provided to ensure students had the required learning materials to complete their studies. 


“We made an assessment last year and noted that there were some inmates who had intentions to continue with school but they lacked essential learning materials to do so. That prompted us to come in and help with the required provisions” - Masida Ziba, Director of Projects for STRADE. Public Relations Officer for Mzuzu Prison, Macbeth Wasambo applauded Strade for the donation, saying it will go a long way in facilitating reformatory behaviour among the inmates.


Various items funded by Think Malawi were donated to support the girls with access to learning materials, which included; notebooks, ball point pens, cartons of chalk, and cartons of pencils. 



Group photo students provided with donated resources Malawi Mzuzu School Prison charity donation project improving access to girls education

Girls education awareness campaign


An event was held at Mzuzu Prison Girls Secondary School where representatives from STRADE and the Government Ministry of Information were introduced to the inmates. Ten ex-prisoners attended the event as role models to motivate the girls who were enrolled in the school and those who had interest to go back to school. Despite being in prison for years, these ex-prisoners worked hard and passed their Malawi School Certificate of Education with flying colours. One of them who was invited to the function was Caswell Mapanje, a student who was selected to study at Malawi University of Science and Technology.



Role models shown to inmates Malawi Mzuzu School Prison charity donation project improving access to girls education


Girls education awareness campaign in progress at Mzuzu prison: role models were shown to the inmates.


Soap making training 


Students had previously been raising the complaint that it becomes difficult for them to get their laundry clean since the prison cannot afford to give them washing materials on a regular basis. To overcome this issue training was held for 150 inmates on how to create soap using locally available materials. This is also a skill that can be used by inmates when they are released from prison.


Soap making training Malawi Mzuzu School Prison charity donation project improving access to girls education

Soap making training session at Muzu Prison.


Extra classes for students 


Remedial or extra classes were organised for learners who were sitting for Junior Certificate Examinations and Malawi school certificate of examinations written in June and July respectively. The aim of remedial classes was to Improve academic performance of female inmates at Mzuzu Girls Secondary School, improve retention of learners and increase enrollment.


The remedial classes have led to achieving an 80% pass rate for those in form 1 and three, and all students have progressed to the next class. Students in forms 2 and 4 have had a thorough preparation for Government exams. They were given mock tests and they also passed with over 80%  pass rate. Prior to the project, 150 girls were enrolled. The remedial classes helped to retain all of them thus giving 100% retention of students in the program.



The Mzuzu prison project funded by Think Malawi


STRADE and Think Malawi have worked together to empower female students at Mzuzu Prison Girls Secondary School. In summary, the project has delivered sewing machines to equip inmates with job skills, they've provided learning materials like notebooks and pens, and inspirational ex-prisoners have motivated students to excel. Inmates have also learned to make soap, improving hygiene and offering post-prison employment skills. The extra classes run as part of the project have boosted academic performance. 


This project has offered incarcerated women a chance to transform their lives through education, benefiting not just them but also their families and communities. Think Malawi believes in supporting sustainable projects like this to help improve outcomes for young people in Malawi by improving their access to education.


Find out more about ongoing projects supporting young people in Malawi, and play your part in transforming the lives of yong Malawians by joining Think Malawi together.


Malawi Mzuzu School Prison charity donation project improving access to girls education




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