Teaching children is one of the most popular ways of contributing to the community here in Malawi. The idea of teaching is very rewarding, and to think you are making a difference to a child’s future is incredibly inviting. Alice and Josie have always had a passion for teaching children, whether it is in the classroom or out in the gardens, they were originally volunteering in teaching before they bought Butterfly in 2007.
“In my work at Butterfly, children are the heart centre of my efforts. I have built two nursery schools in and around Nkhata Bay: Gulugufe Nursery and Dindano Nursery. Both schools run Monday to Friday mornings and a fortified bowl of porridge is provided for all children aged two to six daily. I am constantly approached by parents in the community with requests for their children to attend the nurseries. The entry requirement is two years old and I often laugh kindly at the parental efforts to convince me their tiny toddler is of age. Our reputation is well earned as Gulugufe has been running successfully for eight years and Dindano for three years. As mentioned earlier, it is common practice for children who attended Gulugufe to be advanced one grade when they enter the local government primary school.”
Gulugufe Nursery is a two block classroom with an office and store room. Upwards of sixty children from the town of Nkhata Bay attend daily. I employ two Malawian teachers and a chef and they are supported by international volunteers. The funds to build the nursery were a joint effort of the people of Thornbury, near Bristol in the UK, and my mother’s private fundraising. The cost of the initial build was £3000. The Rotary Club of Wareham has supported the salaries and porridge for three years.
Dindano Nursery is situated in a rural village and has a constant flow of volunteer teachers from an UK-based organisation called Project Trust. Ninety children, three Malawian teachers and one chef make up the school body. The initial build cost £2000 plus a large contribution from the community in the form of bricks and labour. The monthly running costs are much more than Gulugufe because of the larger size and rural location. The nursery is sustained mainly through private donors at a cost that approximates £150/month, which covers the cost of porridge, salaries, upkeep, and some learning materials.
VOLUNTEERS CAN CONTRIBUTE IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
- TEACHING – We always value volunteers teaching alongside our established teachers. This is a great way to pass on new ideas and different teaching techniques. The children would benefit from having more supervision and the teachers would benefit from new ideas and motivation. Having a strong level of English would also advance the children’s language skills.
- BRINGING RESOURCES WITH YOU – We really appreciate anyone coming over from your home countries to bring any resources with you. Whether you have some lesson plans or new games to bring over, the children would benefit greatly with new ideas which will carry on well into the future. Please see our Wish List for new ideas.
- PAINTING – Whether you are creative or a builder at heart, painting the walls around the schools always keeps them looking fresh and inviting for the children to learn in. There are also many other community mural projects going on which would benefit creative individuals to help out with.
- COOKING – If you are a chef by profession or have a passion for cooking, we are always looking for volunteers to cook nutritious meals for the children. If you also have some great recipes to offer, please feel free to make them known to us.
- BUILDING MAINTENANCE – We could really do with someone to help with this at the moment as we are looking into building new toilets for the schools and there are always a few bits and bobs that need touching up.
- SPORTS & ACTIVITIES – It would be great if you have any ideas to pass on to the teachers to organise a structured playtime for the children. Learning P.E. will help the children further in team building and playing together.
- MANAGEMENT – We could always do with a hand in managing the schools in terms of school fees and making sure everything is running smoothly.
- MARKETING – We write news letters about the school’s activity to ensure the community involvement which we keep up on a monthly basis. If you have good writing skills, this would also help us out.
If you are interested in volunteering, please see our Volunteer Package page. If you would like to contribute to this project but you are unable to make it over to Malawi, please see our Make A Donation page.