At Friends for Africa, as a foundation, we stand for high-quality education in Africa and that is why we have started to focus more and more on the construction of schools. For this reason, we have created a project that focuses entirely on the construction of schools in Malawi, Africa. This project is called Project Bolera. This is because the school is being built in the village of Bolera. If you want to build a school in Bolera, Malawi or Africa, you need a lot of things, especially building blocks.

How did phase 1 of the Bolera project go?

In 2021, after a long preparation, and in the middle of a Corona epidemic, Friends for Africa started building a school. Phase 1 was the construction of a school building with 4 classrooms, a room for storage, a small library, four residences for the teachers and a sanitary building. A water tower was also built in 2021 as part of phase 1 so that water comes from the taps of the schools, and solar panels were installed on the roofs of homes.

Friends for Africa did this in collaboration with a construction team in Malawi, project leader, foreman, bricklayers and other builders. Always in blue overalls; The Men in Blue.

The construction meetings took place in the methods known to us (Dutch), namely via Microsoft Teams and information was exchanged by sending Excel sheets.

For the construction of the schools and associated facilities, the whole village participated in digging, fetching water and making cement blocks. A whole series of building materials came over unpaved roads towards Bolera and slowly but surely a school was created. In our autumn of 2021, the roof was on and the classrooms were furnished.
At the end of 2021, the school was officially opened with a big party in the presence of the chiefs, who are the local leaders of the various communities in and around Bolera, the parents and many future students.
In the first week of January it was a shock because, thanks to the many promotions and the high involvement of the community, there were more than 1000 students from all age categories. An unforeseen (luxury) problem. As a result, there are too few classrooms, too few teaching materials and too few teachers. But there is a lot of enthusiasm.

There are still shortages of teaching materials and classrooms, but the Ministry of Education in Malawi has now provided 14 teachers. They now work in shifts in the four available classrooms. A number of students are physically handicapped, but they are allowed and able to participate in language and math lessons. There's even a ramp made for them so they can easily enter the classrooms.

More than 1000 students and only four classrooms is clearly too little, so it's time for phase 2: four more classrooms. And that also means a lot more cement blocks.

What do we want to achieve in Malawi with phase 2 of project Bolera?

In phase 2, the school must become a fully-fledged primary school with eight classrooms and a sports field. This means that we can actually ensure that we provide quality education. With the eight classrooms, the fourteen teachers can provide education in a slightly more normal environment. In such a rural community as in Bolera, there is always a shortage of raw materials and materials. This means a lot of dragging sand, cement, beams, rafters and metal windows over the dirt roads of Africa. This takes time, money and effort.
In addition to the construction of the four classrooms, the sanitary block will also be expanded and four additional homes will be built for the teachers. This makes it possible for them to seek relaxation in private, because we all know how important that is for a teacher.
To achieve this, we need to sit down again with construction teams and the local population. The drawings have already been made and most of the materials have been pulled out. So we know what it takes. And that's mainly a lot of cement blocks, as many as 50,000 pieces!

What is involved in building a school in Africa?

"When you want to build a school in Bolera Malawi...." This statement has often been made to explain what it means to be involved in the construction of a primary school from a distance. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears in building a school in Malawi, Africa. This is because there is a distance between us, there are cultural differences, but also because people in Africa work differently than we do.
What is needed, besides many handy hands from the locals from Bolera and a few engineers in the Netherlands and Malawi? A very long list of building materials. There is no Gamma or Praxis, so everything is welded and hammered together locally, such as:

  • Doors;
  • The well-known African windows without glass but with a metal grille;
  • Corrugated sheets for the roof;
  • Roof trusses;
  • Sand;
  • Cement;
  • Foundation irons;
  • and much more.

But what it means above all: a total of 50,000 building blocks for the construction of four classrooms, the houses and the sanitary block. These blocks are made on the construction site in moulds with cement and water and again a lot of hands. 50,000 cement blocks! That is what is needed now so that construction can begin.

Building a school in Africa
building school Malawi
Schools for the disabled Malawi

What will Friends for Africa do to realize the construction of the school?

In phase 2, on behalf of Friends for Africa, we will again work with project teams in Malawi and the Netherlands. To raise the money to make the complete construction possible, there is also a collaboration with the Wilde Ganzen foundation. They also provide part of the funding. The rest of the funding comes from actions from Friends for Africa, such as a large festival planned for the summer of 2023 (more on this later!). The construction drawings and the modifications to the building land have already been made, and the material has been pulled out. That is why we know that 50,000 cement blocks are needed.

The entire first half of 2023 will be dedicated to raising money. Sometime from mid-April 2023, construction will start, after the rainy season, with the foundation and those 50,000 cement blocks.

Phase 2 has started, see the progress here

Keep supporting us, we're not done yet. Donate now!

Help us to complete phase 2 of our Bolera project! With 1 euro you already donate a cement block with which it is possible to build a school. Every euro is a bonus.

Are you curious about how you can donate? This can be done anonymously by filling in the form on this page or by going to our donation page.

Do you have questions about our working method or would you like to help in a different way? Then take your time to read all our frequently asked questions. Or contact us !

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