Bob and Jan Baxter have been working with Alba Aid alongside the Raven Trust for many years in Malawi. We asked them to tell us more about their work.
Following the successful establishment of a library and resource facilities for teacher development and pupil use in Mzuzu it was requested that a similar provision be provided for the Lakeshore schools below Livingstonia. This cluster of 12 primary schools is centred at Luwuchi under the auspices of a Primary Education Advisor [PEA].
Amazing generosity from Scottish schools from Ayrshire to Caithness has enabled a central library/resource and development centre to be opened in 2012 at Luwuchi serving as a centre with hubs at Chitimba and Mlowe at the extremities of the zone. This enables easier accessibility for the other 9 schools that are geographically further afield. The current project is to ensure that these schools will also have some library provision but can draw on the larger units for a wider range of material; the idea being to maximise availability for as many as possible. The excitement on the faces of staff, children and community leaders, as the boxes of games, books and stationery, are opened is an absolute joy. The new lakeshore electricity supply has allowed us to initiate provision of computers, including laptops which can be charged at the clinic and then used by pupils in the schools. Support for teachers and pupils in the even more remote lakeshore schools at Tcharro & Zunga continues thanks to Good Hope (marine ambulance).
Without the thoughtful and enthusiastic support of schools, churches, groups that gather together for constructive fellowship and the myriad of unsung heroes this would not be happening. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our local Morrisons Supermarket for their unstinting supply of banana boxes and to the Raven Trust for helping them arrive safely where they are so badly needed. Our friend, Baldwin, the storeman at DGM Hospital, Livingstonia does a great job in shuttling the boxes to Luwuchi, whenever he sees any space on the ambulance.
Where education is perceived as the way out of poverty the least we can do is to try and provide support. To date more than 100 boxes of supplies have been distributed, and we plan to spend more time in 2013 continuing to live in the villages and consolidating this provision.