Essendene Lodge began supporting Msalura Primary School in Salima, Malawi in 2011. Over the course of the last 8 years, the school has supported Msalura in a multitude of ways – engaging all elements of the school community in the process.
Msalura is an urban school serving Salima, one of the poorest areas of one of the poorest countries in the world. The school provides basic education to over 1,500 pupils daily. Class sizes are often in excess of 70 pupils, and teaching facilities are basic. For many years the school could not provide more than the most basic sanitation. More can be read about the work of Msalura at http://www.kusamala.org/services/consultancies/msalura-primary-school/.
Despite the evident poverty of the region and a chronic lack of resources, Msalura is an innovative and enterprising school, at the forefront of sustainable school development. Innovations such as water harvesting, permaculture and waste management. Details of how this is delivered can be read on the school blog at https://msaluraprimaryschool.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/eco-schools-project-water-harvest-and-permaculture/.
How does Essendene Lodge support this thriving school?
Over the last 8 years, Essendene has championed a number of projects to help support Msalura in achieving its goals. From school council cake sales, donations of sports and computing equipment, staff visits and the Gifted Girls Fund, Essendene helps the children of Msalura to learn and best prepare themselves for life in Salima.
Approximately every two years members of staff from Msalura and Essendene Lodge visit each other to share expertise and experience. These visits also offer the opportunity for staff to deliver equipment and funds raised by the School Council, in-school fundraising events (such as Mufti days) and parent organised events such as cake and second-hand uniform sales. In 2014 our Assistant Head Teacher visited Msalura to deliver laptops donated by the school, and equally importantly to spend a week helping install internet infrastructure to allow the children of Msalura to get online for the first time.
In 2017, our Head Teacher, Mrs. Ali visited with her son to help with a number of projects. Links with sports equipment suppliers and parental donations allowed her to take games equipment with her – giving the children access to games such as tennis and hockey for the first time. Many of the younger children loved being able to paint pictures for the first time! The trip also allowed her to deliver games, stationery, art equipment and funds to the school. Funds on this occasion were able to buy and repair sewing machines for teachers and parents to make and repair uniforms, to provide some desks and improve the sanitation on site by beginning the rebuilding of toilets. Mrs Ali was also able to deliver Days for Girls packs made by parents here at Essendene Lodge.
Days for Girls:
One of the major roadblocks to education for girls at Msalura is the lack of available feminine sanitary products. One of the key projects at Essendene in 2017 was the ‘Days for Girls” project – during this period parents met to work together to sew and put together basic sanitary packs for the girls. Working together, a team of some 20 parents and teachers spent afternoons and evenings together making and packaging the packs, which Mrs Ali was able to deliver to the school during her visit in the Autumn. More details of Mrs Ali’s visit can be found at https://www.essendenelodge.co.uk/2018/07/12/msalura-primary-school-update-july-2018/.
The Gifted Girls Fund:
One of the crucial areas in which parent fundraising has been directed at Msalura is the gifted girls fund. While primary education is free in Malawi, secondary education is not, making it extremely difficult for girls to access education after the age of 11. Fundraising over the last two years has targeted this area particularly, allowing a number of girls to fund their secondary education and progress onwards towards University. Parent and School Council cake sales and fundraising events such as the Christmas and Summer Fairs continue to support this activity.
It is a reflection of the caring and can-do attitude of the Essendene parent’s community that last year they decided that something larger and more impactful was needed in fundraising terms. Using their collective expertise, contacts and resources the school PTA organised a gala dinner for parents and supporters, specifically to help boost the input into the gifted girls fund, the days for girl’s project and to help install a manual water pump at Msalura. https://www.essendenelodge.co.uk/2018/01/29/pta-msalura-fundraising-gala/
Thanks to donations of raffle prizes from parents, performances from staff, and even the loan of a parent’s restaurant for the evening, over 100 people were able to raise in excess of £7,000. As a result, work on the water pump and rebuilding more sanitary (not to mention private!) toilet blocks was able to start immediately. Remaining funds supported Gifted Girls.
2020 and 2021:
In 2020 and 21 our fundraising focus remained on the Gifted Girls Fund, Days for Girls and continuing to improve the infrastructure, particularly the sanitation, at Msalura. Over the course of the school year the staff, the PTA, parents and all the children at Essendene will be looking new and innovative ways to help support Msalura’s continued development as a beacon of hope and progression in Salima. It’s time for the next cake sale!
Over the summer, Shreya in Year 6 swam the equivalent of the English Channel to raise funds for Msalura Primary. She has raised £2,000 to support Msalura and the Gifted Girls Fund.
Our Autumn Term cake sale, organised by the School Council has helped us raise a magnificent £512 so far this year…watch this space!
A little bit of Chichewa to chew on!
Moni nonse (monee nonsay) – Hello everyone
Muli bwanji? (moolee bwanjee) – How are you?
Ndili bwino. Kaya inu? (ndeelee bweeno. Kyah eenoo) – I’m well, how about you?
Dzina lanu ndani? (dzeena lanu ndani) – What’s your name?