BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Statistics of students performing poorly in school due to long distance to and from school are alarming in the country, especially in rural areas. The ordeal has not spared Madziabango Zone in Blantyre rural bordering Chikwawa district where nerve-racking performance is not the only result but also large number of drop outs.
Concerned with the situation, 2 Wheels to School project in partnership with Airtel Malawi, has rescued 10 needy students with school fees and learning materials at Madziabango Community Day Secondary School (CDSS).
The ten students, five boys and five girls, were on cloud nine on Thursday after receiving items including bicycles, school bags and notebooks during a prestigious ceremony graced by parents and chiefs around the community.
According to 2 Wheels to School representative, Colby Mughogho, the project is aimed at easing challenges facing the students in accessing their education.
“As youths and concerned citizens of the country, we felt duty bound when we realized that students in rural areas are facing challenges in accessing their respective schools mainly due to long distances and poverty. In fact, this project started in August last year. We toured Sapitwa on Mulanje Mountain to raise funds for the project.
“Our initial budget was K5 million in the first year but Airtel Malawi supported us with K6.4 million which will go towards the initiative meant to address various challenges facing the students in accessing their schools but also financial problems. We planned to start with 50 students but Airtel Malawi compelled us to raise the number to 100 students,” explained Mughogho.
Taking her turn, Airtel Malawi Corporate Affairs Manager Norah Chirwa, lauded Mughogho and his team for coming up with the initiative and pledged more support towards the project and the country’s education sector at large.
“As a company, we are more into education and health services when it comes to corporate social responsibility. We were compelled to support this amazing initiative because it is also our priority to complement the government’s efforts to educate the nation.
“We are pretty aware that students in rural areas face a lot of challenges and as a company we cannot just fold our hands and watch. The impact of this initiative is amazing, hopefully we will continue with such initiatives. We are basically huge fans of the education sector our support and partnership dates back to two years,” she said.
Chirwa added that their institution believes that needy secondary students requires a lot of necessities which include bicycles and school fees hence the donation.
She emphasized that the donation was meant to encourage students and improve their performance hence all beneficiaries will be closely monitored to check their progress in class.
“The donation that we are making today will go towards supporting 10 needy students unable to pay school fees in secondary schools. We are also providing note books, school bags and bicycles to those who have to travel long distances to get to school in order to ease their mobility.
“I urge parents of beneficiaries to work hand in hand with teachers so as to make sure that the intended purpose is being achieved. As Airtel we remain focused on students’ access to quality education besides having our two adopted primary schools in Salima and Nsanje which we continue to support with infrastructure and teaching and learning resources,” said Chirwa.
On his part, the Head teacher of the school, Titus Ngaunje, applauded Airtel Malawi for rescuing the needy students, saying the assistance will go a long way in addressing challenges facing the students.
“I am delighted and humbled to have our students on the list of beneficiaries of this incredible initiative. This school is located in a rural area as you can see and many of our students operate from distant places so the bicycles will help the beneficiaries in maintaining punctuality.
“Not only that, this initiative is also a motivation to all students at this school as apart from the donation, members of the 2 Wheels to School have inspired the students with their determination and commitment to help needy students,” explained Ngaunje amid chuckles of unfeigned delight.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Suday Joseph, told Maravi Post in a separate interview that “this will help us to achieve our goals. We are facing so many challenges such as school uniform and school fees, I am very glad.”
2 Wheels 2 School project is a long-term project which focuses on the mobility and financial constraints faced by secondary school students in rural areas across Malawi in accessing educational facilities by providing them with bicycles, including repairs, notebooks, school bags and tuition fees.
The project is being implemented in Nsanje, Blantyre, Neno, Dedza, Dowa, Ntchisi, Lilongwe, Mzimba, Rumphi and Karonga according to Kambewa.