How a UK charity helps provide quality education to Malawian girls
Quality girls’ education in Malawi is a big problem, particularly in rural areas. There are many barriers to girls completing their education, including lack of government funding, poor access to menstrual products, and the prevalence of child marriage. As a result, many girls in Malawi can end up stuck in a cycle of limited access to quality education, poverty and low quality of life. Think Malawi is a UK charity that works to combat these issues. The charity works hand in hand with Malawians to improve access to quality education for children and young people, giving them the support and resources to help fulfil their ambitions, improve their quality of life and ultimately contribute to Malawi’s development as a country. Think Malawi has worked on a range of previous projects to support girl’s education in Malawi, as well as sustainability focused projects and literacy development projects in Malawi. This article looks at some of the charity’s key programmes that have supported girls education in Malawi, what the initiatives involved, and what they were able to achieve in terms of support for young Malawians.
Her Education Matters
In 2019, Think Malawi launched the Her Education Matters project to improve access to menstrual health products and to help end period poverty for girls in Malawi. Many school girls, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to the right tools or products to manage their menstrual health. In addition, many schools lack the facilities for girls in Malawi to deal with their periods in a discrete and hygienic way. Aside from the embarrassment, discomfort and sometimes infections that result from this, it also often means that girls stay at home for up to five days a month instead of going to school whilst menstruating.
We partnered with African Vision to help tackle period poverty in Malawi and successfully raised over £2,300. Ultimately, we ended up providing 360 girls with reusable sanitary packs over a period of one year. COVID-19 had a huge impact as we struggled to get donations for pants and fabric, as well as a month’s delay in the initial distribution of the packs due to school closures. However, things got back on track and all the packs were distributed.
Umodzi Youth Organisation (UYO) Think Malawi also partners with Malawian charity Umodzi Youth Organisation (UYO) to help support and fund girls’ education projects, and tackles similar issues such as period poverty. The lack of sanitary products continues to be a huge challenge faced by many girls living in Malawi. As a result, girls in Malawi end up receiving 25% less education than their male counterparts, or worse, they drop out of the education system completely.
Her Education Matters was a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise £5,000 urgently to enable and transform the lives of 700 female pupils of Ntenjera Primary School (near Blantyre, Malawi). The project also promoted girls’ rights to education by providing menstruation management lessons from trained members of mothers’ groups and female teachers.
As a result of this project, new changing rooms were completed at the school, which was marked by an opening ceremony back in May 2021. This gave the girls of Ntenjera Primary School in Malawi a discrete and hygienic place they can access at their school when menstruating.
This project helped to combat period poverty and reduce school time missed by girls due to lack of access to menstrual products and facilities when at school.
Think Malawi Together Think Malawi Together is a special club for donors of our charity who wish to support causes that help Malawian children’s access to quality education on a regular basis.
We launched Think Malawi Together for our regular donors to enjoy a range of special benefits such as newsletter updates, early-bird access to our events and the opportunity to attend our annual general meeting.
Regular income is vital to enable our charity and our partner organisations in Malawi to plan for the needs of learners there. Learn how you can support children’s education in Malawi with Think Malawi Together.
Hope for Relief
In August 2021, Think Malawi provided a grant of £3,000 to Hope for Relief to support deaf schoolgirls and blind schoolgirls with their menstrual health. Schoolgirls in Malawi encounter a myriad of hurdles to finish their education, including forced child marriage, working to support their families and a lack of period products. The dropout rate among the 900 female pupils at Karonga Primary School of Deaf and Blind is estimated to be a shocking 87%.
At Think Malawi, we have worked with Hope for Relief, a youth-led non-profit in Malawi, to provide underwear, soap, sewing machines and other items. This helps to ensure that the girls at Karonga Primary School of Blind and Deaf are able to complete their education, and build better lives for themselves and their families - without being held back by limited access to essential sanitary products.
Think Malawi will continue to support girls education through projects such as Her Education Matters, Umodzi Youth Organisation, Think Malawi Together, and Hope For Relief - and will prioritise girl’s education as one of the key pillars in our Malawi programmes strategy. Find out more about supporting causes in Malawi and get regular updates through Think Malawi Together on how your donations are improving access to education and quality of life for young Malawians. Over 90% of donations go directly to causes in Malawi due to our all-volunteer team, so you can be sure your donations are going directly to the causes that need it most. With your help we can continue to help more girls and young Malawians to get better quality education and achieve a better quality of life and a brighter future. Donating your time is also a fantastic way to support better access to quality education for children in Malawi. New volunteers are always welcome at Think Malawi and the charity has worked to achieve these existing results from a network of dedicated volunteers. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.