Senior officials from the Marist Foundation for International Solidarity (FMSI) were in Malawi last week to assess and appreciate for themselves the challenges that underprivileged children face to access education.
FMSI is one of the funding bodies of the Marist Brothers and it is working in more than 80 countries worldwide to promote a new mentality and concrete initiatives for the benefit of children and young people, especially the most defenceless and abandoned to make the world a better place for children and young people.
Currently, FMSI and the Secretariat of Education and Evangelization of the Marist Brothers are jointly implementing two projects, which are aimed at addressing barriers hindering underprivileged and non-boarding students, particularly girls, from accessing education in Malawi.
On Sunday, the delegation, which included three members, visited and interacted with parents, beneficiary students and teachers from Msalura and Mafco Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs) in Salima before paying a courtesy call on government officials at Salima District Council on Monday.
FMSI Director Andrea Rossi said the aim of their visit is to appreciate the contribution Marist Brothers are making towards improving the quality and access to education for every child.
“As a child rights-based organization, our biggest concern is always the welfare of children in all the country where Marist Brothers are present. So, our visit to Malawi will give us the opportunity to understand and appreciate the challenges that children are facing and how best we can work with our stakeholders such as the government in addressing them to ensure every child has access to quality education, “said Rossi.
He disclosed that his organization is committed to supporting and complementing national efforts designed to promote equity and quality in the education sector.
“We want to address school dropout and improve the quality of education in public schools in Malawi and any other country where Marist Brothers are present. We want to create resilience programs and income generating activities as a way of ensuring sustainability of the project,” Rossi.
Director of Education, Youth and Sports at Salima District Council, Alfred Hauya, stated that less than a quarter of the learners that sit the Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PLSCE) make it to secondary school because of lack of space.
Hauya therefore pleaded with the delegation to consider supporting the government in constructing additional hostels and classroom blocks to facilitate increase in numbers of learners being selected to secondary schools.
In her remarks, District Commissioner (DC) for Salima, Grace Chirwa-Kanyimbiri, assured FMSI that her council will provide the required support for the project to achieve its goals.
“I can assure you that we are going to work as a team when implementing this project till its expiry,” assured Chirwa-Kanyimbiri.
Currently, Marist Brothers are implementing their interventions at Likuni Boys Secondary School in Lilongwe, Champagnat Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) and Marist Secondary School in Dedza, St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Balaka, Zomba Catholic and Mayaka Community Day Secondary Schools in Zomba and Msalura and Mafco CDSSs in Salima.