In 2021 Friends for Africa started building a school after a long preparation, and in the middle of a Corona epidemic. Phase 1 was the construction of a school building with four classrooms, a room for storage, a small library, four houses for the teachers and a sanitary building. Also, as part of phase 1, a water tower was built in 2021 to provide water from the taps at the schools, as well as solar panels on the roofs of homes.
This was done by Friends for Africa in cooperation with a construction team in Malawi, project leader, foreman, masons and other builders. Always in blue overalls; The Men in Blue.
The construction meetings took place in methods familiar to us (Dutch), namely via Microsoft Teams and information was exchanged by sending and receiving Excel sheets.
For the construction of the schools and related facilities, the entire village joined in digging, fetching water and making cement blocks. A whole range of building materials came over unpaved roads toward Bolera and slowly but surely a school emerged. By our fall 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, which are the local leaders of the various communities in and around Bolera, the parents and lots of future students.
In the first week of January, there was a scare because there were, thanks to the many promotions and the high involvement of the community, more than 1,000 students of all ages. An unforeseen (luxury) problem. As a result, there are too few classrooms, too few learning resources and too few teachers. But there is a lot of enthusiasm.
There are still shortages of teaching materials and classrooms, but in the meantime the Ministry of Education in Malawi has 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 classes. A ramp has even been made for them so they can easily enter the classrooms.
More than 1,000 students and only four classrooms is patently insufficient, so it's time for phase 2: four more classrooms. And that also means a lot more cement blocks.