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Princethorpe’s Classrooms For Malawi Project Successfully Completed

24 Feb

Last summer, 25 pupils and four staff should have travelled out to Malawi to visit the African country where Mary’s Meals, a charity close to the College’s heart, first began. There they would have taken part in a two-week project with the charity Classrooms For Malawi, helping to refurbish a school block at Lauderdale Primary School.

Lauderdale School was the first school that Princethorpe College worked with in Malawi when back in 2007/8 pupils fundraised to provide new kitchens to support the Mary’s Meals feeding programme at the school.

Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Rod Isaacs, explains, “After more than 10 years of fundraising, we were looking to take the College’s charity work in Malawi one step further and a project to refurbish school buildings was a perfect choice, providing opportunity through education for the local community while allowing our pupils to actively contribute. We were introduced to Classrooms For Malawi and it all began from there.”  

A significant part of the Malawi 2020 project challenge was for pupils to raise the funds to pay for materials and supplies for the classroom refurbishment project. So, throughout 2019 pupils organised a series fundraising events that together raised £10,174. Marathon runs, wreath making, music concerts, stall at Christmas fairs, CDs, sponsored outdoor swims and sponsorship from the annual 24-mile Sixth Form walk around the Coventry Way all contributed to the total.

During their two-week trip to Malawi, Princethorpe’s pupils would have spent time helping to refurbish the school block while also assisting with teaching, sports and drama activities at Lauderdale School. They would have had the opportunity to visit the pupils at Princethorpe’s current sponsored school, Makalanga Primary School to meet the children and see Mary’s Meals feeding programme there as well as to visit the Mary's Meals headquarters in Blantyre.

With the onset of the pandemic, schools across the world were impacted and like many, the schools in Malawi were forced to close. Eventually the sad decision was taken to cancel the College trip. However, all was not lost as the classroom refurbishment project was able to continue. The work was undertaken by the local building contractors supported by the community, and the funds raised by the College were used to fund the materials and labour required.

Work on the project began in August 2020 with the removal of the roof and breeze block windows. Supporting beams were strengthened, new windows and roofing installed, drainage issues addressed, the floors levelled, the walls freshly painted, and chalk blackboards installed. The work was finished in January and the classrooms are already in use.

Amy Blake, Chief Executive of the charity Classrooms For Malawi, said, “This project has been amazing and the help and support from Princethorpe College has been so commendable especially given the circumstances, we are so sorry the team didn’t make it across to Malawi to help with the refurbishment. Lauderdale School and the local community are delighted with their building. It’s made a real difference to their ability to provide an education for their children. I really hope that one day the Princethorpe’s pupils can visit Malawi to see the result.”

You can find out more about the project in a video here.