In Malawi the teachers can be posted to other schools with little warning. Unfortunately for Kapanda four teachers have been moved including Bright, Woodson and Eliam, and Collence is expected to be going soon. The disruption has impacted a lot on the students as the teachers haven’t been replaced so they are being taught by trainee teachers doing their placements at Kapanda. We’re hoping by the New Year that the new headteacher taking over from Collence will arrive and restore some normality.
The dormitory continues to provide a great space to live and study for many girls, both locals and others from across the region. The school is ranked third in CDSS schools in the region so parents from across the region would like their daughters to attend. Although the dormitory sleeps 54, at times there are more girls so they are near to school during exam periods. The older girls help the younger ones, and we have an annual visit from a UK school and the 17 year olds girls from there love spending time with the girls at the dormitory.
The girls were also invited to be part of a menstrual cup trial which has proved very interesting. Some girls love them as it has given them freedom during their periods to attend school. Even though it’s only a short distance to the dormitory, having to go back and forth to change traditional rags isn’t ideal. One of the girls Katie (see photo above right) said that she loved her cup because it allowed to play sport whilst on her period, and Esnat said that because the parents have the pay for disposal pads, having a cup which can last for 10 years means her parents money can now be used to buy more exercise books and pens.
Kapanda has recently had a Peace Corp volunteer who has been utterly wonderful. She spent a lot of time with the girls and one of the projects she implemented was getting the girls, and the other day students, to use the community library more. From 2017 to 2018 the number of Kapanda students using the library went from 32% to 47% of the overall library users. Whilst the girls know that studying is so important, they also welcome free time and the Peace Corp volunteer would arrange trips for them to come down to us at the Lake to enjoy a swim together.