To Kankhande with Love
Arriving at the place, one is instantly swarmed by a group of excited children. They eagerly wave their hands and come running with their arms stretched out. Some stand outside the semidetached 2-room classroom block. A few of them carry books and pencils, getting ready to start their day with another session in class.
This is Kankhande Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD). It is a pre-school accommodating 83 kids. Established in early 2012, Kankhande is headed by Brenda Banda, an enthusiastic volunteer who has been teaching since the school was set up. Although the school may appear insignificant, it has sent a large number of well prepared children to local primary schools. However, some months back, Kankhande had closed and was under threat of completely shutting down because there was no food aid for the learners.
“We faced serious problems.” Explains Brenda “we could teach for only an hour because the school did not have food. Families do not have the means to give their children breakfast, and trying to get a child to participate in any activities on an empty stomach is a huge challenge.”
Then There is Hope Malawi (TIH) stepped in. On 14 February, 2017 TIH donated 100 kilogrammes of maize to the school to support their feeding programme for the kids. The maize donation was an instant relief because it meant the school would resume its normal operations. To Brenda, this was a huge moment.
“We are so grateful to There is Hope for remembering us.” Brenda said, adding “this maize donation will help sustain the school for the next two months.” The teacher disclosed that at first, parents of children at the school supported the feeding programme by contributing a cup of soy and a small basin of maize.
However, overtime some of the parents stopped supplying the rations and this affected the ECD. When There is Hope jumped to the school’s aid with the donation, it revamped the feeding programme. This is not the only support that There is Hope provides to the ECD. We are also involved in improving the welfare of the teachers. In 2015, we sponsored a 7-day pre-school education training workshop for teachers from Kankhande and other ECDs. The teachers were mentored in the techniques needed to efficiently perform their duties as ECD educators. Furthermore, There is Hope provides skills training in social business initiatives to help the teachers become self reliant.