Determined to Develop’s largest area of work is the Youth Sponsorship Program, which covers school fees for over 120 students. While most of our sponsored youth attend secondary school, we also sponsor several students attending primary school and university.
How does the Malawian School system work?
In Malawi a child starts school at the age of six, when they enroll in primary school. There are eight years of primary school, and upon completion they can progress onto secondary school. Most of those that continue with education will attend a Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in their local area; but the highest achievers from primary school will be selected to attend government boarding schools. There are four years of secondary school and upon graduation, students receive their leaving qualification – known as the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE). Depending upon the grade awarded, a student may then continue onto University to study for a Bachelor’s degree or another form of continuing education.
Why does Determined to Develop run a sponsorship program?
In Malawi, there are many challenges associated with poverty, which prevent numerous young people’s access to education. Only primary school is free in Malawi, and the costs associated with secondary school are often unaffordable for many. Even if a student manages to secure the funds to cover their school tuition, there are further costs, including the purchase of a school uniform, basic school materials such as pens, books and a backpack, and examination fees. School dropout rates are also high, because of other issues associated with poverty, such as illness; early marriage; pregnancy; and family obligations.
That’s why Determined to Develop covers the school fees, and other associated costs, for over 120 students in our local area, through our Youth Sponsorship Program. We believe that education acts as a tool which allows a student to gain invaluable knowledge and skills, to take forward with them in the future.
Going beyond school fees
As well as paying for school fees and upkeep, we also invest in the personal development of our youth though a range of non-formal education initiatives. We currently run two girls groups – one with the girls at secondary school and the other for the older girls at primary school, aged 10 – 14. These groups provide the girls with a platform where they can openly discuss the common challenges they face and come together for peer-support and group study.
We are also preparing for a Leadership workshop that we will be holding from April 2nd – 4th. All of our sponsored youth will attend the three day workshop where we will be discuss ‘How to Become a Successful Leader’, covering an array of both practical and life skills, from effective study skills and careers options, to sexual reproductive health and peer-pressure.
We invest in non-formal education because we feel it widens opportunities and provides our youth with more confidence and communication skills to give them a voice to make informed decisions about their futures. We are excited to run the first Determined to Develop Leadership workshop and are positive it will be a great success!
Tawonga chomene (We thank you)